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Your body utilizes fat for everything… from providing energy, to fueling the brain, to activating necessary hormones and building up proper immune function. Here’s a list of (10) reasons why “Good Quality Fats” should make up the bulk of your diet! At an optimal level, we suggest 60-30-10 (Fat-Protein-Carbs).
Gram for gram fats are by far the most efficient source of food energy on the planet. Each gram of fat provides nine calories of energy for the body. Compare that with four calories per gram for carbs and proteins. Between meals, when glucose is not available for immediate use, fats are broken down and metabolized for energy, which in times of great need, the brain’s neurons can utilize.
Fats are a vital part of the membrane that surrounds each cell of the body. Without a healthy cell membrane, the rest of the cell couldn’t function. Fat is part of every cell membrane in the body. It helps transport nutrients and metabolites across cell membranes.
The axon is the part of a nerve (neuron) that transmits electrical signals from the brain throughout the body to initiate all functions. The axon’s protective coating is the myelin sheath and is made of 80% lipids (fats) that must be provided by the diet.
You need fats because provides the structural components not only of cell membranes in the brain, but also of myelin, the fatty insulating sheath that surrounds each nerve fiber, enabling it to carry messages faster.
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins, meaning that the fat in foods helps the intestines absorb these vitamins into the body.
Regulation of Hormones
Fats are structural components of some of the most important substances in the body, including prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that regulate many of the body’s functions. You need fats because they regulate the production of sex hormones, which explains why some teenage girls who are too lean experience delayed pubertal development and amenorrhea.
One of the more obvious signs of fatty acid deficiency is dry, flaky skin. In addition to giving skin its rounded appeal, the layer of fat just beneath the skin (called subcutaneous fat) acts as the body’s own insulation to help regulate body temperature. Lean people tend to be more sensitive to cold; obese people tend to be more sensitive to warm weather.
Many of the vital organs, especially the kidneys, heart, and intestines are cushioned by fat that helps protect them from injury and hold them in place. As a tribute to the body’s own protective wisdom, this protective fat is the last to be used up when the body’s energy reserves are being tapped into.
Fat is not soluble in blood, so bile acids produced from cholesterol in the liver emulsify it along the way to make it bioavailable. It stores the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K in the liver and fatty tissues. Because fat needs to be broken down through multiple processes that include the stomach, duodenum, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, and small intestine, it stays around for a long time and keeps you satiated.
Production of Ketones
An obvious way to raise blood ketones is by cutting back dramatically on carbohydrates, which will transition the body from relying on constant influxes of glucose toward a more fat-based metabolism (ketones being breakdown products of fatty acid metabolism). However, since not everyone is willing or able to reduce their carbohydrate intake to the point where they would generate sufficient ketones to keep the brain well-fueled, it would be helpful if there were another way to boost ketone levels. Fortunately, there is. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) can provide the body with ketones even in the absence of carbohydrate restriction. Because of their chemical structure and carbon chain length, MCTs are metabolized differently from long-chain fatty acids. They do not require bile for emulsification, and pass readily into the portal circulation, where they are broken down into ketones, which can serve as fuel for many different tissues, most notably, the brain. The richest sources of medium-chain fatty acids are coconut and palm kernel oils, but isolated MCT oils and fortified beverages are now available.
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