When discussing health and fitness, fats are a topic that many people often view as damaging to their weight loss or dietary plans. However, fats are an essential source of long lasting energy that actually provides more energy gram for gram than carbohydrates. The fats we ingest are often referred to as Triacylglycerol that is made up of 3 fatty acids, and a glycerol (glycerol is a substance that can be converted to glucose or added to fatty acids to make fat). This is an important fat structure as the fatty acids and glycerol can be used in number of ways to either produce energy or store fats.
When we ingest the fats, it is broken down and transported in the blood where it can do 3 different things. First, it can be stored for later use in fat tissue often located next to muscle tissue. Second, it may be broken down in the liver to be transported in the blood as free fatty acids while the glycerol is used to make glucose. Finally, fatty acids can be broken down into form the energy in the form of ATP.
When a diet lacks fats, it must produce energy from either breaking down carbohydrates or breaking down protein. Fats provide the body with enormous supply of energy when it is broken down. Not only can they produce energy but are also important in storing energy. This is important for people that are involved in aerobic continuous exercise as glucose is used up quickly in these activities. Fat stores are used during longer periods of exercise to make ATP allowing for these individuals to sustain their activity. Fats are important storage molecules when individuals are resting or sleeping as glucose is depleted in the first few hours of sleep so the body relies on fats to produce the energy required to drive protein synthesis.
Therefore, fats do play an important role in making sure the body has long lasting energy. This is critical when the body is sleeping as glucose is used relatively quickly so we require fats to sustain our energy levels and allow for growth and rebuilding in this time.
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