Understanding Fat

Not all fat is bad. It all depends on the sources and the quantities you consume.

Fats or lipids (in food terms) are nutrients in food that your body uses to build nerve tissue (like the brain) and hormones.

Young children, especially, need a certain amount of fat in their diets to help the brain and nervous system develop correctly. That is why toddlers need to drink whole milk, which has more fat, whereas older kids can drink low-fat or skim milk.

Fat plays a key role in membrane structure. It cushions and protects our internal organs. Your body also uses fat as fuel. It is a concentrated source of energy. If fats that you’ve eaten aren’t burned as energy, they are stored in your body for future use.

It means if you don’t use it by doing active things and exercising, they stay in your body, and this is where problems can start.

Types of Fat.

There are three main types of Fat.

Unsaturated Fats.

This kind is found naturally in plant foods and fish. They are good for the body and the heart. Examples include Vegetable oils, Tuna, Salmon, Avocados, Olive, Peanut, and Canola oils

Saturated Fats.

They are found in meat and other animal products, such as butter, shortening, lard, cheese, and milk (except skim or nonfat), palm, and coconut oils. Saturated fat is generally solid at room temperature. 

It’s also the white fat you can see on red meat and underneath poultry skin. Eating more saturated fat can raise blood cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.

Trans Fats.

This is found in margarine (especially the sticks), commercial snack foods and baked foods, and some commercially fried foods. They are also known as hydrogenated unsaturated fats. Eating too much trans fats can raise blood cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.

Tips on how to reduce the amount of fat in your diet.

Want a snack?
Try fresh fruit, dried fruit, or cereal-based products instead of cakes and biscuits.

Trim any visible fat off meat and poultry during cooking

Don’t fry it! Poach, steam, grill, or bake it.

Swap whole milk for semi-skimmed or skimmed

If you use lard, butter, or hard margarine, switch to vegetable oil and low-fat spreads.


1 gram of fat provides 9 calories, whereas 1 gram of both carbohydrates and protein provides 4 grams each.

In 2008, more than 10% of the world’s adult population was obese.

Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.