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What is fat?

what is fat

Essentially there are 4 different types of fats as follows:

  • Mono-unsaturated
  • Poly-unsaturated
  • Saturated
  • Trans/hydrogenated vegetable oil

The top 3 above are found in nature the fourth is incredibly rare in nature but can be manufactured and has a profound affect on the risk of coronary heart disease. All fats are around 9kcals/g (see section what is a calorie) and are broken down for absorption by an enzyme called lipase which is produced by the pancreas. Fat contains triglyceride's which are essential fatty acids crucial in their role of maintaining body temperature, organ insulation and protection, hair & skin health and the absorption and transportation of vitamins A, D, E & K.

Removing fat from your diet would not only be pretty much impossible as fat is contained as one form or another in almost everything we eat but this would also be a terrible idea and would have severe health implications. Your daily diet should consist of 20-25% fat with the majority of that coming from mono-unsaturated fats such as chicken, turkey, fish and nuts with only a small amount coming from saturated fat such as red meats, sausages and cheese as examples.

A common mistake made by many is to assume that fat makes you fat this is of course not true. The only thing in the world that makes you fatter or thinner is a calorie (see section what foods will make me fat) so as fat is the most calorie abundant nutrient you could potentially reach your daily calorie requirement from this nutrient more quickly than from the other macro nutrients.

Stored body fat is called adipose tissue and is stored in a fat cell called an adipocyte. The adipose tissue is metabolised excess energy which gets converted by your liver and stored away ready for when you are back in energy deficit. Once in deficit the process will begin to be reversed with the help of a few hormones insulin, glucagon and epinephrine which will ultimately cause you to burn (lipolysis) body fat and therefore get thinner.

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