Food Fat (dietary fat)

Dietary fat, or fat you eat in your food, provides essential fatty acids, helps regulate bodily functions, and helps carry the fat-soluable vitamines. A small amount of fat is needed in our daily diet. The amount needed each day is equal to just one teaspoon of corn oil. Too much dietary fat produces undesirable effects. Unfortunately, the typical western diet provides far more than the required one teaspoon of fat each day. Dietary fat contributes to many negative health effects including many of today's common causes of death, such as heart disease and cancer.


Common sources
of dietary fat

At nine calories per gram, fat has the highest calorie per weight ratio of any food. By comparison, carbohydrates or protein are just four calories per gram. However, fats don't convert efficiently to glucose, and therefore are not an efficient energy source for your muscles.

When you eat a meal, carbohydrates are converted to energy first. Carbohydrates break down into glucose quickly and easily. In fact, simple carbohydrates (like sugar) are converted to glucose almost immediately after they are eaten. By comparison, your body only uses a small amount of dietary fat for energy. The rest is converted and stored as fatty tissues. 40% of the total calories we consume come from fat. This means for a 2000 calorie meal, 800 of the calories come from food fat. If you reduce your dietary fat to 25% of your total calories, you will have enough fat to stay healthy, but not enough to produce some of the negative effects.

Low fat diets are effective for permanent weight loss. Studies show that a very small percentage of people - less than 1% by some studies - kept their weight off. Low carb diets do not have the same positive results as low fat diets for keeping weight off permanently. If you want to lose weight, reduce your calories with a low fat diet, not reducing carbohydrates. Carbohydrates fuel your muscles and brain, and proteins provide amino acids. Only a teaspoon of dietary fat is needed for metabolism.

The process to convert carbohydrates to energy is almost instantaneous. Carbohydrates break down into glucose more efficiently, which your body then readily converts to energy. If the energy is not used, it is converted to glycogen and stored in your liver and muscles. Only if your glycogen stores are full is it then converted to body fat.

If you want to lose weight, you should reduce your calories from dietary fat, not carbohydrates or protein. Carbohydrates fuel your muscles and brain, and proteins provide amino acids, so don't cut back in these areas.

You need some dietary fat. Dietary fat provides essential fatty acids, which your body cannot manufacture. Fat is also required for maintenance of healthy skin, regulation of cholesterol metabolism and other body functions. Dietary fat is needed to carry fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and to aid in their absorption from the intestine. It also helps the body use carbohydrates and proteins more efficiently.

To achieve a healthy low dietary fat diet: Lower your dietary fat intake to 25% of your total calories. You will have enough dietary fat to stay healthy. Some dietary fat is necessary, but the amount is very low by comparison to the amount of fat in most diets. The amount of fat required in your daily diet is equal to just 1 teaspoon of corn oil a day.

Summary of Food fat:

A low fat diet making up 25% of total calories from dietary fat (to get the essential fatty acids) is better for your health. Most people eat about 40% of the total calories from dietary fat. Eating too much dietary fat could have a negative effects on your health. A low fat diet will keep you healthy and perform at peak efficiency. Fat is high calorie, but not efficient energy. All other factors being equal, a diet high in fatty foods/dietary fat can can cause you to gain weight and have other undesirable effects on your health.


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