Fats & Oils : The Basics


Fats & Oils : The Basics

Fats (or lipids) are the third main class of macronutrients needed in human nutrition, along with Carbohydrates and Proteins. Over the years there has been much mis-information regarding this essential nutrient. Advertisers told us that margarine was the best and most healthful option for cooking, being unsaturated and containing no cholesterol, yet others deeming all fats were harmful promoted low fat or no-fat diets. But this processed or no fat trend has proven to be a detriment to human health.

Oils and fats are made of chains of fatty acids. These fatty acids are required for a wide range of metabolic functions. Fatty acids are used to construct the cell walls for every living cell in the human body.

Fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E and K) can only be digested, absorbed, and transported in conjunction with fats. Fats play a vital role in maintaining healthy skin and hair, insulating body organs against shock, maintaining body temperature, and promoting healthy cell function. They also serve as energy stores for the body.

It is the quality of fats that make a difference to human health and wellbeing. Current studies suggest that an ideal diet might provide 25 percent of calories from oils and fats.

Just as whole foods are recommended for optimal health, the same is true for whole, or unrefined oils. Only unrefined oils provide the nutrients necessary to good health. Heavily refined oils have proven to be dangerous to human nutrition as their fatty acid structures have been damaged and are thus unusable by the human body.

High-quality vegetable oils are the best way to meet your body’s daily requirement for fat and fulfill many nutritional requirements.

Key Points

  • Fats are macronutrients just like protein and carbohydrates.
  • Good quality fats and oils contain nutrients, which are required by the body for optimal health.
  • Highly processed oil products do not contain these nutrients.
  • Ideally we should consume up to 25% of calories from fat daily.