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Word Count: 688
Essentials Calling fat one of lifes essentials may seem like a bold statement Health professionals have recommended cutting back on fat for years cautioning the public about the health risks associated with high-fat eating patterns However some types of fats have health benefits while other fats when eaten in excess have adverse effectsEating excess amounts of certain fats notably saturated fat can increase risk of chronic diseaseUnsaturated fats have important functions in the body that promote health and well-being On average most Americans consume too much fat especially saturated fat Before cutting back on the fat in our diets remember that fat serves many important roles including maintaining skin and hair storing and transporting fat soluble vitamins A D E and K protecting cell walls keeping our bodies warm protecting organs Gaining a bead on fatThats a lot of work for a single nutrient In fact fat is actually an umbrella term for several substances each with its own part to playWe get many fats from the foods we eat Our bodies also manufacture some fats As with all nutrients when we consume fat our bodies break it down to individual components and then use those components to build something else Its like having three kinds of beads strung together pulling them apart and then stringing them in a whole new pattern These strands are known as fatty acids and they vary in the combination and number of beads We name fatty acids by their chemical structure and call them saturated monounsaturated or polyunsaturatedSaturated fats are among the most common fats in our diet They are found in animal foods like meat poultry and full-fat dairy products and in tropical oils like palm and coconut Diets high in saturated fats are associated with higher risks of heart disease certain cancers and strokeUnsaturated fats are found in foods from both plant and animal sources Unsaturated fatty acids are further divided into monounsaturated fatty acids MUFA and
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