What's In A Fat?

Here’s the skinny on this important nutrient.

Healthy Fat - Olive Oil

A fat, like protein and carbohydrates is a macronutrient and we all need macronutrients for normal body functions without them we could not survive. Fats give us energy and allow for the transport of other nutrients in order for them to do their job efficiently.  A fat contains 9 calories per gram. If your favorite treat has 10 grams of fat then 90 calories of the total calories are from fat.


  • Fat is essential for life. It protects our internal organs and acts as a cushion.  But, too much fat around our internal organs is dangerous and can lead to many preventable diseases.
  • Fat keeps our bodies functioning at the proper body temperature. If you’ve ever been on a diet where your body fat drops to low levels you might have noticed you could be cold on a summer’s day!
  • It allows our bodies to process and transport the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D E & K.
  • Fats contain “EFAs”, essential fatty acids.  Meaning our bodies don’t make these and we must consume them from our diets. EFA’s keep our cardiovascular and immune systems strong. EFA’s also have been shown to reduce inflammation within the body and contribute to brain health.  Some EFA’s are your omega -3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Make sure to incorporate more Omega -3 in your diet, such as oily fish (salmon), nuts, seeds (flax) and walnuts to name a few. Taking a good quality fish oil supplement is also beneficial.


While our bodies don’t require large amounts of fat daily, you do need the right quality in the proper amounts in order to keep your skin, hair, nails, brain, heart and joints functioning properly. According the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, an average adult should consume anywhere between 20%-35% of fat from total daily calories. Reading labels and knowing exactly what you’re putting into your body can easily accomplish this.