Fat is essential for survival. Unfortunately, most of us probably have more than we would like. Still, having fat in our diet is crucial for optimal body function. Some of the functions of fats in the human body are: as an energy source (secondary to carbohydrates); absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and k); making hormones; brain development; and lowering levels of “bad” cholesterol in the body (certain kinds of fats, not all).
Fats are broken down into different categories based on their chemical structure and subsequently their function in the body. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (aka “good” fats) have been shown to have very beneficial effects to improve heart health by lowering cholesterol. These good fats are found in things like almonds, avocados, and olive oil. Omega-3 fatty acids, which I’m sure most of us have heard of, are a type of polyunsaturated fat. Saturated fats (aka “bad fats”) have typically been seen as mean artery clogging machines. Recent studies show that defining these different kinds of fats aren’t as black and white as we once thought, but the general understanding is a certainly good one to have: a majority of fats should be coming from “good fats” and we should try to minimize “bad fats”.