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Fat

Fat

Calories: 9 Calories Per Gram

Function: Fats and lipids play crucial roles in the function of the body.  Fats provide the body with energy and help the body maintain a constant temperature.  They are also involved in the production and regulation of steroid hormones which are important for regulating sexuality, reproduction, the development of the human sex organs, and regulating water balance in the body.

Fats also play an important part in maintaining nerve impulse transmission, memory storage, and tissue structure.

Fats can be broken down into Saturated and Unsaturated (Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated) fats.

Saturated Fats: These are the bad fats that raise the cholesterol in the body and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Monounsaturated Fats: These are good fats that when in eaten in moderation can help reduce bad cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.  They are usually high in Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that most Americans can use more of.

Polyunsaturated Fats: These are also good fats that may reduce your cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.  Unlike Monounsaturated fats however, these fats include essential fats such as Omega-6 and Omega-3.  These essential fats play a vital role in brain function and the normal growth and development of the human body.

Sources:

Saturated Fats: Fatty beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, butter,cheese and other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat milk.

Monounsaturated Fats: Olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, avocados, peanut butter, and many nuts and seeds.

Polyunsaturated Fats: Soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, trout, nuts such as walnuts, and seeds such as sunflower seeds.

Fat Intake: Ideally fat intake should be limited to 25-30% of a diet's total calories.  Of this, one-third should be limited to saturated fats, and the remaining two-thirds should be divided evenly between monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.

A diet high in fat, especially saturated fat, can lead to obesity, heart disease, type II diabetes, gallbladder disease, hypertension, and osteoarthritis.