When people talk about fat, they’re either referring to the fat we eat or the fat on our bodies or body fat. Knowing the difference between the two is important to losing weight and staying healthy. Our bodies need some fat to be healthy. Eating the right kinds and amounts of fat is essential to having healthy skin, bones, and metabolism.
There are three major groups of dietary fat: unsaturated, saturated, and hydrogenated (trans) fat. All dietary fat contains 9 calories per gram, but not all dietary fat is created equally.
The excess fat on our bodies that makes us frown when we look at ourselves in the mirror or dread stepping on the scale is stored excess energy. Regardless of the foods that we eat, any calories that our bodies don’t use are stored as excess fat. The more excess body fat we carry, the more we become susceptible to other health complications.
We’ll do just about anything to rid ourselves of body fat. We buy the latest pills and exercise equipment, not even knowing how (or if) they work.
Go with safe, natural and proven diet pills which help suppressing the appetite so that we consume fewer calories than we use, therefore, never having too much energy to be stored as fat.
The only way to lose body fat (not just weight) is to eat fewer calories than the body needs.
Unsaturated fat is vital to having a healthy body. Our bodies need unsaturated fat. A group of unsaturated fats called essential fatty acids (EFAs) are known to some as super fats because of their amazing benefits. EFAs enhance memory, protect against heart disease, help the digestive process, and can even help you lose weight.
EFAs are commonly found in cold water fish (e.g. salmon), nuts, and flax seed oil. Unsaturated fat is generally liquid at room temperature. Go on, eat some unsaturated fat. It tastes good and it’s good for you!
Along with unsaturated fat, our bodies need saturated fat too. However, unlike unsaturated fat, we need very little saturated fat. In fact, we don’t even need to eat saturated fat. Our bodies can manufacture it!
It’s best to consume very little saturated fat. Consumption of too much saturated fat can raise total cholesterol. Saturated fat is solid at room temperature and is generally found in animal-based foods like eggs, milk, and meat.
Hyrdogenated (Trans) Fat
Trans fats are hydrogenated unsaturated fats and are of no benefit to us. Hydrogenation is the process of changing the molecular composition of the fat molecule. Food manufacturers have used trans fats in their products because of its extended shelf life. Trans fats have been linked to chronic health conditions like heart disease and obesity.
Trans fats have another adverse effect. They raise the bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower the good cholesterol (HDL). It is advisable to eliminate or reduce consumption of trans fats to trace amounts. Fast foods, fried foods, and most margarines generally contain significant amounts of trans fats.
Even if you eat the healthiest foods, if you eat more than your body can use, the excess calories will be stored as fat. For example, if your body uses 2,000 calories and you consume 2,500 of healthy spinach, your body will try to convert the remaining 500 calories of spinach into fat.
The process to convert complex carbohydrates like vegetables into fat is not an efficient one so your body will burn calories during the process.
The process to convert protein to fat is also an inefficient process so you will also burn calories during that conversion as well. However, the process to convert simple sugars (e.g. candy, rice, and fruit juice) and dietary fat into body fat is very efficient. In other words, the body can easily store simple sugar and dietary fat foods as body fat.
Body Fat Percentage
Excess body fat can contribute to or cause chronic health issues like arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. However, our bodies need some body fat to survive. No more than 20% of our calories should come from fat and most of that fat should be unsaturated.
Men need less than women. Men should have a body fat percentage of no less than 2% and no more than 25%. Women should have a body fat percentage of no less than 10% and no more than 32%.
These are very wide ranges. Both men and women should find a comfortable median that is both healthy and obtainable. Our bodies are very different from each other.