脂肪,我该拿你怎么办 The Deal with Fat

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We don't talk a lot about dietary science here on SciShow because, frankly, it can seem like a hype factory designed more to generate clicks than to generate understanding. People want to hear what to eat and what not to eat in order to be healthy.

The problem with that. . . is that it's complicated. It's too complicated to fit into a headline.

Eating lots of fat will make you unhealthy, but so will eating lots of anything. Studies show that cutting fat intake is useless when attempting to help people lose weight if those calories are replaced by something else, which they tend to be.

Now fat is relatively straightforward chemically, but it's boggled dietary scientists and, especially, journalists writing about it for decades. But the basics of what we understand aren't that complicated, so let's get to the heart of fat.

. . . . . . Fats are molecules that organisms use to store energy. . . they are very good at that and so they can be converted into lots and lots of energy for running an organism, whether it's a seed growing into a plant or a neuron firing in your brain.

But, basically, the first thing to know about fat is that it is energy dense. So per gram, fat has more than twice the energy of protein or carbohydrates.

Fats, like everything we eat, are made of chemicals. And those chemicals are primarily composed of large chains of carbon atoms.

Each of those carbon-carbon bonds can be broken by your body and converted into usable energy. The energy density of fat combined with the fact that people who ate high fat diets tended to be less healthy was the original cause of the anti-fat craze that started in the 60s and continues at least to some extent today.

But it turns out that fats are not inherently bad for you, indeed, they are an absolutely necessary part of the diet. But there are definitely some fats that promote health more than others, and some that are downright dangerous.

You've heard of the main categories: you got your trans, saturated, unsaturated, hydrogenated, polyunsaturated, omega 3. . . all of these words are chemistry terms that get talked about a lot without discussing what they mean, like, at all. But this is SciShow, so let's go there.

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