Fat is one of the three main nutrients, or “macronutrients,” that people eat (along with protein and carbohydrates), and it contains the mostcalories. Dietary fat is essential to maintain our hormones, cholesterol levels, organ function, and nutrient absorption ((Human requirements for fat-soluble vitamins, and other things concerning these nutrients. Krinsky, NI. Molecular Aspects of Medicine, 2003 Dec;24(6):317-24.))There are several kinds of dietary fat, and with the exception of trans fat, they should all be< regularly consumed in a healthy diet.

There’s an awful lot of controversy about whether or not saturated fat should be avoided ((Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. Siri-Tarino PW, Sun Q, et al. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010 Mar;91(3):535-46.))((Cancers associated with high-fat diets. La Vecchia, C. Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs. 1992;(12):79-85.)). While the evidence leans in favor of saturated fat being healthy, fat’s high calorie count (9 calories per gram vs. 4 calories per gram for protein and carbohydrates) means we should keep an eye on our intake.

Learn More:

Everyone Was Wrong: Saturated Fat is Good For You
Are All Calories Created Equal?
Ask an Expert: Why Do I Need Omega-3 Fat?

External Resources:

Fat Nutrition – New York Times
Macronutrient Breakdown

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