How Essential Are Body Fats - Know Your Facts

How Essential Are Body Fats - Know Your Facts

Fat is bad. This is the general perception among many of us. We invariably associate 'fat' with the physical attributes of being overweight, obese, and huge. But there is much more to fat than just bulk. It would be unjust to generalize fats, without knowing the basic facts about them. This article is dedicated to educating you on the rather 'weighty' subject of fats and help you make healthier choices.

Different Types of Fats in Our Body

The adipose tissues in our body are made of fat cells or adipocytes which store energy in form of fat. Body fat distribution is different for different people. Fat is stored, either around the internal organ (visceral) or beneath the skin (subcutaneous). The distribution of fat varies depending on gender and ethnicity.

There are two main types of fats.  The healthy and the unhealthy. Here is a list of fats, and their sources.

Healthy Fats

  • Monounsaturated fats: Avocados, nuts and seeds, oils of olive, peanut, and canola, non-hydrogenated margarine.
  • Polyunsaturated fats:

Omega- 3: Oils of sunflower, corn, sesame, and safflower, non-hydrogenated margarine, nuts and seeds

  1. :  Fatty fish, canola and soya bean oils, flax seed, omega-3 eggs, walnuts

Unhealthy Fats

  • Saturated Fat:  Food prepared with hydrogenated oils, full-fat dairy products, butter, coconut oil, fatty meats, and cocoa butter
  • Trans Fat:  All food made using  partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or shortening, snacks, ready-to-eat food and fast food.

Why do we  need Fats

Our body is like a machine, that is in constant need of fuel to keep it running smoothly. Fats are the fuel that give our body the energy it needs for optimum performance.

  • Fats are necessary to maintain healthy hair and glowing skin.
  • They help in the effective absorption of vitamins A, B, E, and K, which are aptly called fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Fat insulates our body to keep it warm.
  • Essential fats are not produced by our body, but are made from the food we eat. They are required for brain development, clotting of blood and to control inflammation.
  • Fats are the power houses of energy. They provide 9 calories of energy per gram, which is twice as much as the energy contributed by  proteins and  carbohydrates.  Fats supply us with the stamina to keep going.

Areas of Accumulation of Fats  in our Body

There are specific areas of the body where fat is predominantly stored in case of men and women. Fat accumulation is prominently around the abdominal area in case of men, constituting an 'apple-shaped' body. In case of women, fat is found in  areas of the lower back, inner and outer thighs, abdomen, and buttocks giving a 'pear-shaped' body.

The Million Dollar Question - How can you shed Body Fat?

This is the most interesting and important (read frustrating) question of all. Well, how do we get rid of the fat? Work out and diet during the week, and go on a binge through the weekend? Fat chance! Losing body fat is a body process that is different for every individual. There is no 'one-formula-works-for-all' concept. Obese men are more likely to lose internal fat but obese women tend to lose subcutaneous or external fat. Strenuous exercising results in losing subcutaneous fat but strict diet control alone can cause visceral (internal) fat loss. Fat is usually lost, layer by layer, from all over the body and not from particular locations.  Regulations in diet and regular exercise will definitely help.

When healthy lifestyle becomes a habit, there will be no need to fight that fat at all!  Just learn to recognize good fat and weigh your eating options wisely. Enjoy a happy and healthy life!