Body and limbs: Nutrition; fats

Fats are generally banned because they are fattening. And indeed, one gram of dietary fat provides more than twice as much energy as the same amount of sugar or protein.


Despite this, or precisely because of this fact, fats are particularly useful for humans due to their high energy content, because they form an almost inexhaustible energy supply in the subcutaneous fatty tissue of the body, which can be used for the production of energy in the long term.
In addition to making energy available, fats fulfill other vital functions in the human organism. They surround the organs with a protective and insulating layer, they transport fat-soluble vitamins and are part of the biological membranes in the cell walls. Even though no one in our country has to fear a deficiency of fatty acids, it is still important to know that one particular fatty acid cannot be produced by the body itself: this linoleic acid is of vital importance to the human organism. The daily requirement for linoleic acid is between ten and thirty grams. It can be found in, for example, vegetable oil, nuts and grains.
Fats or lipids are divided into two groups: neutral fats or triglycerides (= dietary fat) and a fat-like substance, such as cholesterol or lipoprotein. The neutral fats are composed of a glycerin element and three fatty acids and are also split into these individual components during the digestive process.
The varying effect that different fats have on the human organism can be explained by the different fatty acids that build up the triglyceride. In principle, three types of fatty acids can be distinguished: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Fatty acids

A fatty acid is saturated when all carbon atoms (C) are saturated with the highest possible number of bonding partners. In monounsaturated fatty acids, not all carbon atoms are saturated by hydrogen atoms (H), but two have adjacent, free bonding sites, which are interconnected by a so-called double bond. If four or more hydrogen atoms are missing and at least two double bonds have been formed in the carbon chain, these are polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The effect of these differently structured fatty acids on the human organism will only become clear once it is known which route the fatty acids take through the blood. The table below shows the effect of the various types of fatty acids on the means of transport of fats through the blood. The fats in most animal foods contain predominantly saturated fatty acids, while vegetable fats contain mainly mono- and polysaturated fatty acids. It is precisely the animal fats that are often not recognizable with the naked eye, such as in cheese, sausage or meat. These are also called hidden fats.
The fats absorbed by the small intestine are not soluble in water. That is why they cannot dissolve in the blood, because it consists of more than ninety percent water. Fats cannot therefore be transported directly in the blood; they need a means of transportation. This taxi is formed from protein and fats, where the protein elements form the water-soluble carriers of the fats. The fat transporters formed are different in size, have a different density and perform different functions in the organism.
There are larger fat-protein particles with a lower density. They can damage the vessels because they deposit cholesterol on the artery wall. This increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. The even larger fat protein particles with an even lower density are also unfavorable for the blood vessels, while the small particles with a high density help to remove cholesterol from the body, because they absorb excess cholesterol from the blood vessels and use them for breakdown or excretion. transport to the liver.
This is probably why, for example, in Greece, where products with and from olives occupy a particularly important place in the daily diet, the number of deaths from a heart attack is very low compared to other European countries.

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