In our second instalment on macronutrients we tackle the truth behind fat.

Just like our proteins in the blog post prior to this one, fats contain carbon + hydrogen + oxygen. They differ however in the quantity of carbons present in their composition, where they far out way their other components. Another point of difference is their degree of unsaturation and the location of double bonds. Which will mean very little to you unless your have had the painstaking pleasure of studying biochemistry.

For those that have managed to bypass biochemistry, first off congrats. Second off all, that means fat has a higher calorie count due to the increase number of carbons present. This is often why fats get a bad name straight away, because they contain more calories then their protein and carbohydrate counterparts. What’s important to note however is that fat provides the body with 60% of it’s energy when at rest, so it’s actually a good thing they are packing some extra calories. The degree of saturation is also what determines if the fat is a solid (saturated) or liquid (unsaturated) and the consequent role it plays in your body.

If that all sounds a bit much, you would be right. Because that is just scratching the surface of the chemistry behind fats.  What is the most important thing to understand is that all this chemistry impacts on the different types of fats and how they are used by your body which is where the terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fats come from. The bad fats listed below are named so due to the increase risk associated with their consumption and the development of heart disease and obesity. Please note, there are only two types of fats listed, there are plenty others you can and should be eating.  

Good Fats: Monounsaturated (Olive Oil, Avocado), Polyunsaturated (Flax seeds, Nuts), Omega 3’s (Salmon, Eggs)

Bad Fats: Saturated (Processed Meats) and Trans fats (Cakes)

The roles good fats play in the body include transporting vitamins, blood clotting, wound healing and reducing inflammation. Fat also makes up your sex hormones, adrenal hormones, bile acids, 60% of your brain (!) and cholesterol. We’ll tackle cholesterol in another blog because they deserve their own myth busting post.

As long as you’re eating the right source of fats in the right amount, fat will not make you fat. It’s just as essential as every other nutrient, so stop the hate guys!