Fat is a flavor carrier – and has more than twice as many calories as carbohydrates and proteins. That is why it should be used sparingly.
Fat carries flavors and aromas, which is why fatty foods taste good. In addition, the body can only absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K with the help of fat and needs the so-called essential fatty acids for vital body processes. So fat in moderation is by no means unhealthy. However, with 9 kilocalories per gram, fat contains more than twice as many calories as carbohydrates and proteins, the calorific value of which is 4 kilocalories per gram.
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Fat As An Energy Source
Fat has the highest calorific value of all macronutrients, so fatty foods provide many calories even in small quantities. “The fat ingested with food mainly consists of triglycerides,”. This means that three molecules of fatty acids are bound to one molecule of glycerol.
This Is How Fats Work In The Body
“After digestion in the small intestine, the fat from food is transported via the lymph into the blood and thus to the tissues,”. Excess fat is stored in the fat cells and serves as a reserve for the body for bad times. “In the history of evolution, that was a decisive survival advantage,” says the nutritionist. “Today, overeating leads to large fat deposits that are permanently preserved because, fortunately, in most of the world’s countries, there are no longer periods of hunger.”
Saturated, Unsaturated, And Trans Fats
Depending on their structure, fatty acids can be saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated. Animal foods such as butter, cream, meat, or sausage products are rich in saturated fatty acids. Unsaturated fatty acids are also ingested with food. They are mainly found in vegetable oils and high-fat fish such as salmon, herring, or mackerel. “The organism requires unsaturated fatty acids as a preliminary stage for forming vital substances that are important, for example, in inflammatory processes and the regulation of blood coagulation,”.
Trans fatty acids are created during the industrial processing or chemical hardening of fats and oils rich in unsaturated fatty acids. Hydrogenated fats are found in margarine, puff pastry, chips, and fried foods, for example. “Trans fatty acids are considered unhealthy for humans. The scientific proof of this is still pending,”.
Recommendations Of The Nutrition
- Prefer vegetable fats and oils as they are rich in unsaturated fatty acids. But be careful: vegetable oils have just as many calories as animal fats!
- Reduce animal fats because they contain many saturated fatty acids (exception: high-fat fish, for example, from cold waters).
- Rule of thumb: the more liquid a fat is, the higher the proportion of unsaturated fatty acids.
- Use visible fats, for example, butter, margarine, or oils, sparingly. Forty grams of butter (2 tablespoons) already contain 320 kcal. The exact amount of vegetable oil contains 360 kilocalories!
- Watch out for “hidden” fats in sausage, cheese, cakes, and (salad) sauces.
- Prepare dishes with low-fat content. Types of preparation that do not require additional fat, such as grilling or cooking, are ideal.
Not The Fat – The Calories Matter!
“The amount of fat in food varies considerably from person to person,” says nutritionist, who has evaluated thousands of nutritional protocols from overweight patients. His conclusion: obese people do not necessarily eat more fat than those who are slim. Being overweight, obese, and the corresponding secondary diseases are not the result of increased fat consumption but rather general overeating. The energy from carbohydrates and proteins is also of great importance. The high-calorie diet, often combined with a lack of exercise, leads to obesity and increased blood lipid levels and is a risk factor for numerous diseases such as diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure, lipid metabolism disorders, and cardiovascular diseases.