Importance of Fats

Fat is a dietary component vital to human growth and development. Without fat, we cannot survive because it is an essential part of many physiological functions, including acting as a source of energy, assisting with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, K), and maintaining healthy skin and cell membrane structure.

The structure of fat, or the way the fat is built, directly influences the way it is digested and absorbed through the body, and ultimately influences how it impacts your health. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that healthy adults should consume 20 to 35 percent of daily calories from fat. Additionally, the guidelines recommend limiting saturated fat to less than 10 percent of calories, avoiding trans fat, and replacing these fats with unsaturated fats, primarily polyunsaturated fats.

Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, and can be found in oils, nuts, seeds, and some fruits.  Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature, such as animal fats, butter, coconut, and palm.

To learn more about fat fears and how to eliminate them, visit Annette Maggi’s, MS, RD, LD, FADA blog “Set Aside the Fear of Fat.”

Triglyceride: a molecule with 3 fatty acids

a molecule with 3 fatty acids