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Healthy Eating Tips

Fats – What they are and what they do to you.

The out¬standing fats eaten daily in the United States and Europe are butter, eggs, whole milk, cream, meat, fish and poultry fats, and cheese in various combinations. These fats, at 9 calories pergram, contain more than twice the amount of calories than protein or carbohydrate does at four calories each per gram. As we have noted and shall describe in later chapters, excessive intake of fats leads to the shortening of life, premature death by heart attacks and strokes, obesity, and numerous crippling ill¬nesses.

Fats (or lipids) contain the elements of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in various combinations of animal and vegetable fats. Examples of animal fats are butter, lard, cream, milk, eggs, and the fat in meats. Vegetable fats are soyabean oil, olive oil, cottonseed and corn oils, and peanut oils; these are found in nuts, coconuts, avocados, margarines and other vegetable fats used in cooking.

Fats do not dissolve in water, and when pure they are odor-less and tasteless. They are found in most bodily tissues, parti-cularly in combination with other elements, proteins, or minerals. Fats or lipids act as vehicles for the absorption of the natural fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, and E.

In order for fats to be utilized by the body, they must first be digested and broken down into constituent parts before being absorbed. They are absorbed in the following manner: After the food is masticated and enters the stomach, the digestive sys¬tem supplies its first fat enzyme called lipase, to begin the diges¬tion of the fat. Enzymes or ferments are unique chemical com¬pounds manufactured by the cells of the tissues. In the digestive tract they are vital for the chemical breakdown of all foods before they can be absorbed.

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