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January 14, 2009

Role Of Fat

Rather than worrying about rolls of fat, I wanted to talk about the positive role of fat for maintaining healthy body functions. I'm reminded when I think about this topic about a blog post I did for a liver cleanse a couple of years ago. I had a fairly decent amount of correspondence from my readers about that topic.

One that stands out in particular was from someone who was young, seemingly reasonable weight yet obsessed with eliminating cholesterol from their diet. I have no idea about this persons background or family history of problems with cholesterol. However, I felt concerned that I had provided yet another way for this person to strip "evil" cholesterol from their body. Cholesterol is synthesized naturally in the liver, and for good reason: our body needs it. Cholesterol is an essential precursor for vitamin D production and is needed to synthesize hormones. See this article on the importance of drinking milk.

So, here is the skinny on the benefits of fat from yet another physiology textbook:
1) fat yields a source of high energy, in fact more than twice as much as carbohydrates.
2) fat provides a layer of insulation for the body to maintain thermal homeostasis.
3) fat acts as a cushion surrounding vital body organs and protects them from injury.
4) fat serves as a carrier for fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), vital for normal nerve growth, menstruation, reproduction, and growth and maturation, especially during puberty.
5) small amounts of fat stimulate the satiety center in the brain which helps people feel full after meals and actually helps prevent weight gain.

Obviously there is a plethora of studies about how too much fat is of detriment to a healthy body, but some dietary fat is necessary for a healthy body. If you want to improve the quality of the fats you consume, aim for monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, polyunsaturated fats such as those found in corn oil and fish oil, and, especially Omega-3 fatty acids.

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Posted by linda at January 14, 2009 8:27 PM

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