Myths and Misconceptions About Fat
What exactly is fat anyway? First, the fat we take in through food is made up of lipids or fatty acids, and it comes in various forms, ranging from liquid oil, such as olive oil, to solid, such as hydrogenated margarine and shortening. However, the fat in our bodies is a type of tissue made up of cells containing stored fat. This fat can be "white fat", which is found in large cell sacs, or vesicles. Stored fat can also be "brown fat", which is made up of lipid droplets. Let’s address some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding fat.
"I should cut out as much fat as possible."
Actually, we need a certain amount of fat in our food every day. There are certain vitamins, such as Vitamin A, D ,E and K that are fat-soluble. This means that these vitamins have to have fat on board in order to be absorbed into the body, and they also need fat in order to be metabolized, or broken down. Other vitamins, such as B complex, and C, are water soluble. So we need both fat and water in our diet to get the most nutrition out of our food. Ideally, we should take in as little saturated fat as possible. However, we should eat 2-3 tablespoons (30-45 ml) of unsaturated fat each day. This fat comes from sources such as cooking oil, salad dressings, non-hydrogenated margarine and mayonnaise. This will give us the fat needed to absorb our nourishment properly. About 25-30% of our daily caloric intake should be from fat.
"Food products advertised as "low-fat" are always a better choice."
Not necessarily. While it's good to cut down on fats, particularly saturated and hydrogenated fats, often food manufacturers replace the missing fat with extra sugar and/or sodium, making a "low-fat" food a poor choice in the end. So it's a good idea to check out the labels on food packaging, and get an idea of how much of each element is in your food.