The last two decades have shown a dramatic increase in the popularity of fat-free, low fat, non-fat food items. Diet gurus and even the American Heart Association touted the importance of decreasing fat in the diet. However, it is important to understand the makeup of fat and the differences in qualities and types of fat found in our food supply when making conscientious decisions about our health and wellness. Not all fats are created equal; and not all fats are bad for your health!Fats, also known as lipids, are made up of molecules called triglycerides. Triglycerides are formed from three fatty acids attached to a glycerol molecule (Enig, 2000; 9). The shape of the triglyceride molecules is determined by the types of fatty acids present in the molecule. Fatty acids are long chains of carbon molecules with a hydrogen group on one end and an acidic group on the other end. "Fatty acids are given names depending on the length of the carbon chain and the degree and position of unsaturation of the chain" (Enig, 2000; 10).
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