The Nuts and Bolts of FATS

February 14, 2014 1:31 pm Published by

The Nuts and Bolts of FATS

Reprinted from MOUNTAINTOP BLOG

Fats get such a bad rap. They’re essential to sustain life, you just need to know which ones to use. This post covers some of the key functions of fats:

  • Energy: the fat molecules contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, as do carbohydrates, so they are interconvertible with carbohydrates.
  • Protection: we all need some padding to be comfortable sitting, standing, walking, running in short, moving in our bodies!
  • Insulation: fats provide a layer of warmth.
  • Nerve conduction: the myelin sheath is the outer layer of nerves that protects, covers, and speeds up nerve impulses.
  • Cell membrane: fats are an integral part of each and every cell membrane, and therefore are important for our basic structure.

It is this last bullet point — fat as a key component of the cell membrane — that we want to zero in on, in our discussion today. We’ll spare you the molecular detail, though it was tempting to include it, and have instead short-handed it in our explanation.

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The human body is programmed to be more oily than solid, so the fluidity of the fats consumed makes a very big difference. Study after study has verified that cutting out the solid fats and consuming healthy oils will have a huge impact on your overall health.
GOOD FATS, BAD FATS In a nutshell, the fats to avoid are:

  • Hydrogenated fats are chemically altered with the insertion of a hydrogen molecule. Ultimately, the body doesn’t accept the synthesis, because it’s not natural.
  • Saturated fats are structured in a way that stacks easily and creates a build-up: its viscosity is much thicker, and it has less “give.”
  • Trans-fatty acids are unsaturated, but their structure is such that it also stacks easily, creating build-up on the blood vessel walls. Banned by the FDA in the fall of 2013!

Bad fats are solid at room temperature and are found in processed food and animal sources (meat, cheese, cream, butter, lard, and palm oils). For the record, coconut oil makes a conversion that renders it good for you, so it’s the exception.
T
he fats to consume are unsaturated, both mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated. These fats have a thinner viscosity that does not stack and create a build-up. Their fluidity promotes cellular integrity and communication.
Good fats are liquid at room temperature and mainly come from plant and fish sources (olive, safflower, canola, sunflower, soybean, and peanut oils, walnuts, flax seed, salmon, mackerel, herring).

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This post was written by Sanford Lee

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