Why We Need A Little Fat

LOW-FAT RECIPES 1 Comment

Fat serves several purposes in the body. These functions are performed by the fact that fats and water do not mix, so the fatty tissue of the body can store and transport other substances like fat soluble vitamins which otherwise would not be carried by the blood. This also means the (at cannot be dissolved by body fluids — so it is an excellent energy reserve. Fat within the body is used for fuel; upon digesting it, it produces twice as much energy as the equal weight of carbohydrate or protein. On eating a good diet the energy reserve should be continually used and replaced. This is governed by the correct calorific intake, thus bringing about no weight gain. The balance is essential to good health.

It is well known that over-consumption of fat causes cardiovascular disease, of which heart attack and stroke are examples. Research consistently points to the risk factors of fat-like substances in the blood called cholesterol, and high blood-pressure coupled with too little exercise, a diet too rich in saturated fat, diabetes and ‘hurry sickness’. In any combination of two or three factors all of these things aggravate each other.

However a little fat in the diet is necessary because it contains an essential nutrient which is a polyunsaturated acid called linoleic acid. Other fatty acids can be synthesized by the body if linoleic acid is present, but we cannot synthesize linoleic acid. Only 1.2 per cent of our total calorific requirement is linoleic acid — this is approximately one tablespoonful per day.

Every cook can appreciate the qualities of fat in cooking; it has the ability to absorb flavour — this is why people on a low-fat diet and who want to lose weight should beware of convenience foods. Make sure that the food has not been coated with margarine, this automatically makes the food satisfying, but because of the high proportion of calories, the foods take longer to digest and the stomach stays fuller longer.