Fat is found in almost every cell of our body in the form of cell membranes however, it is not considered an essential nutrient. The reason it is not considered essential is because our body is able to produce more than enough on its own. There are “good” and “bad” types of fats that effect our bodies in different ways. “Good” fats are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and may help with lowering cholesterol in the blood. The “bad” fats include saturated fats, found in most animal sources like meat and cheese, and trans fats, that are found in foods that are hydrogenated.
Fat has a variety of functions in our bodies, one of its biggest functions is to provide us with a concentrated source of energy and serve as an energy reserve. Fats have 9 calories per gram which is double the amount of carbohydrates and because there are so many more calories per gram it is used as our body’s premier source of energy. Fat is used in our body to surround cells with a cell membrane as well as cushion our vital organs from shock or damage. Lastly, fat helps to keep us warm and insulate our bodies when in extreme temperatures.
Typically 20 – 35 percent of our daily calories should come from fats.
Sources in the Diet
Some sources of “good” fats include avocados, nuts, and salmon. “Bad” sources of fat are processed foods, fast foods, butter and sweets like cookies and candies.