Fats: Facts, Fad or Fear?

Fats are often seen as bad because nobody wants to be…. fat. Just imagine you, going to the pool, and just as you’re about to jump off the pool, some mean kid from across the pool shouts

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And thus, begins the fat-free resolution. HOWEVER. Fat is not bad! If anything, very often, fat holds an important role in each and every one of our body. This article aims to share the functions of fats and it’s importance in the role of your body.

What are Fats?

Similar to carbohydrates, fats are seen as a fuel source for the body. However, the process to create energy is slower for fats compared to carbohydrates but yields almost 3 times more energy.

Image result for fat sources

Apart from that, fat also plays many important roles within the body. We need fats because they:

  • Are an important energy source
  • Helps keep our hormones in check
  • Forms our cell structures
  • Forms our brains and nervous system
  • Transports some of our vitamins
  • Provides omega 3 and omega 6 fats, which our body can’t make

How fats are stored in the body? 

As the name suggest, fats are basically saved as fats (Like duh right?) within the fat deposits around our body. These are then converted into energy when the body needs to use them.

Types of fats

As there’re a lot of science within this section. We’ll go more in depth into this on a separate article. We can basically group fats into 2 categories: Saturated and Unsaturated. Saturated oil tend to be in solid state in room temperature, while unsaturated oil tend to be in liquid state.

Fats vs Carbohydrates: What’s the difference?

While carbohydrates are awesome for quick speed and fast work, fats are what helps us survive the long run.

carbs fat crossover concept

In low-moderate intensity physical activities, the body will use fat to give us energy. This can keep us going for a very long period of time as fats produce almost 3x more energy compared to carbohydrates, gram for gram.

High fat vs High carbohydrate diet: What’s the difference?

Possibly one of the most debated stories of all time, almost all the commercial diets today are created as a high carbohydrate or a high fat diet. While it is definitely an interesting topic, research has also been working on these two diet for awhile. As far as my research goes, when calorie and protein are both controlled, high fat and high carbohydrate diets tend to yield similar amounts of fat loss. This could be because the energy required to process fat and carbohydrates are similar, but tend to be much higher in protein.

For definition reasons, High fat diets in this case do not include ketogenic diet as ketogenic diets use a completely different energy source compared to fats.

That said, between carbs and fats, in simple terms, whatever you decide to eat more, your body will use more. Eating carbohydrates will also cause your body to not use fats for awhile, while long term consumption of fats without using carbohydrates may cause your body to reduce it’s efficiency in using carbohydrates.

Consuming fats have been able to keep individuals fuller for a longer period of time, thus reducing the tendency to want to eat more. However, individuals who consume carbohydrates tend to see better performance in their exercises because in the island of sports performance, carbohydrate is king.

Therefore, when looking on whether to go on a high carb or high fat diet, one  might want to consider a few things:

  1. Do you generally prefer high carbohydrate food or high fat food?
  2. Are you generally eating for performance or for weight loss?

 

Obviously, from this short article, we can see that there’s a lot to cover when we talk about fats. In future articles, we’ll also look at the different type of fats, how the fat content in our diet affects our body, the type of fat/oil we should use when we cook, and other minor topics relating towards fats.

Do let me know if you have more questions and I’ll do my best to answer them as accurately as possible!

References

Antonio, J., Kalman, D., Stout, J., Greenwood, M., Willoughby, D., & Haff, G. (2014). Essentials of sports nutrition and supplements. [NY]: Humana Press.

B Kreider, R., D Wilborn, C., Taylor, L., Campbell, B., L Almada, A., & Collins, R. et al. (2017). ISSN exercise & sport nutrition review: research & recommendations. Journal Of The International Society Of Sports Nutrition7(7).

Berardi, J., & Andrews, R. (2014). The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition (2nd ed.).

MacLaren, D., & Morton, J. (2012). Biochemistry for sport and exercise metabolism. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.

 

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