Updated: Apr 6
This is arguably the most misunderstood nutrient for the human body – yes, that is not a type-error, indeed fat is a “nutrient.”
Fat is slang used by some healthcare professionals for a biochemical called a “fatty acid.” A fatty acid is a chemical structure that is essential to normal body function. The body uses fat as a most powerful fuel. It is the highest octane nutrient of all! The body can get more mileage on dietary and stored fat than it can on any other nutrient. Mother Nature did this as a protective measure to increase our ability to survive during lean times.
Fat is converted and stored as body fat when carbohydrates or protein are over-consumed or over abundant. This should not come as a surprise when man’s ancestral lot has been one of feast or famine – he would not have food for some-time and when he did he would eat until full and the excess would be stored as body fat. Fat storage in the body is nothing more than nature’s fuel reserve. These reserves ensure survival. We, in contemporary times believe stored fat has outlived its usefulness;
while food is scarce in some parts of the world many American’s do not have such a concern. In fact it is the antithesis. The problem is that when fat from the diet is stored in the body surrounding organs it can be the most insulin resistant fat in the body, the greater the store, the greater the likelihood of the start Syndrome X—an insulin resistance syndrome that precedes diabetes. Overtime with each over-consumption of food the body slowly builds up a storage depot and because the fat is resistant to breakdown and an efficient fuel the stored portion continues to build with greater and greater insulin resistance, until the patient gets diabetes. This explains why when many overweight diabetics lose weight they no longer have the disorder.
When not stored as fat, fatty acid chemicals have an immense impact on body function by controlling the magnitude of inflammation and anti-inflammatory activity. It is crucial when reading this to understand that these processes are transparent and below the level of most people’s awareness so one should take action whether symptoms are present or not. Borrowing from a colleague, Dr Phil Mafetone, you should understand that different types of fat in the body can be categorized as the “good, the bad, and the ugly.” Believe it or not, you actually need a little of each of these, except the ugly, but some partially informed people have decided that if a little is good a lot is better. That could not be further from the truth. Incidentally, body fat can be composed of any of these. Keep in mind that these fats are essential. This means ” must be consumed in the diet.” The consumption of these fats does not cause one to gain weight! In fact many have been connected with weight loss when used in moderation.