Friday, June 26, 2009



Fat contains more than twice the amount of energy as carbohydrate. A single gram contains nine calories making it a valuable source of fuel for longer duration activities. While fat cannot supply energy quickly enough for very intense activity, it can be used by the body to power lower intensity exercise such as jogging and walking.

Fat also provides insulation and protection to vital organs such as the heart, lungs and liver and transports vitamins throughout the body.

Not all dietary fat is the same. Like carbohydrate, fat can be broken down into several different groups:

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are found in foods such as red meat, egg yolks, cheese, butter, milk and commercially prepared cakes, pies and cookies. The typical western diet consists of almost 40% total fat. Of this, 15% is made up of saturated fats, which is considered a major cause of coronary heart disease, diabetes and other degenerative illnesses. No more than 10% of the diet should come from saturated fats.

Unsaturated Fats

Unsaturated fats come in the form of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats can actually lower the risk of coronary heart disease and are found in foods like olive oil, canola oil, avocados, almonds and pecans. Polyunsaturated fats, found in sunflower oil, safflower oil and corn oil are not thought to contribute to heart disease but don't offer the same protection as monounsaturated fats.

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