Since the 1970’s, fat has been demonized as the primary cause of heart disease. There are so many questions about fat. Is it good? Is it bad? Does it cause heart disease? Does it clog arteries? Is it the cause of our obesity epidemic? These are questions, which were all researched in the 1970’s, and are still being researched by scientists today.
The subject of fat is a complex subject. (Sorry, this too will have a bit of science, but, it’s necessary to explain them. 🙂 ) So, over the next couple of months, we will be talking about the different aspects of fat. I have broken this topic down into a series of six articles:
What is fat?
Fats and oils fall into a class of nutrient known as “lipids”. By definition, lipids are:
“relatively water-insoluble, organic molecules consisting mostly of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. In other words, lipids are hydrophobic (“water fearing”).”
Lipids are typically one of the following
The major categories of lipids include:
Fatty acids are the most common type of lipid, and found all over your body and in the foods you eat. There are quite literally hundreds of different types of fatty acids, which are normally bound to cholesterol and not found in a “free” form. (1)
Fatty acids are made up of chains of carbon atoms, which comprise the “backbone” of the fatty acid. The length of the chain determines the type, properties and function of the fatty acid. There are 3 chain “lengths” of fatty acids:
Saturated vs Unsaturated Fatty Acids (1)
Fatty acids are broken down further into 2 other groups, based on the chemical bonds between the carbon atoms in the chain. These bonds can either be single or double bonds. These bonds affect the properties and characteristics of the fatty acid.:
Well, I think that’s enough science for one day. In the next issue we will be getting into these fats in more detail, what they do for your body, as well as healthy, whole food sources of each one. In edition, we will talk about which fats are ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS (EFA), and explaining TRANS FATTY ACIDS.
I’m happy to see the current trend of people embracing fat. But I also see a dangerous trend, in people demonizing carbs, in much the same way that fat was once demonized. People need to understand that the human body needs all 3 of the macronutrients, protein, carbs and fat. You can’t take one of them out completely, and expect to remain healthy. Eating has to be about more than just losing weight. In my experience, if you focus on health, not weight, the pounds will come off when health improves.