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Chapter: 11th Nutrition and Dietetics : Proteins and Lipids

Functions of fats and Essential Fatty Acids

Fats perform several important functions:

Functions of fats

Fats perform several important functions:

·         Fats are a concentrated source of energy. one gram of fat gives 9 kilocalories of energy. Fat is stored in the body in the adipose tissue and provides energy to the body when required.

·         Fats are the constituents of cell membrane structure and regulate the membrane permeability.

·         Subcutaneous fat acts as an insulator and helps in retaining body heat.

·         They are essential for the digestion, absorption and utilization of fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E and K.

·         Fats are important as cellular metabolic regulators (Steroid hormones and prostaglandin).

·         Fats haveasparing action onvitaminB1 (i.e) if fat consumption is adequate, not much vitamin B1 is needed.

·         Fats improve the palatability of the diet and give satiety value.(ie.)feeling of fullness in the stomach.

·         The calories in fat spare proteins from being oxidized for energy.

·         Cholesterol is needed for synthesis of sex and adrenal hormones (steroid hormones).

·         Substituting a fat high in PUFA or MUFA for a fat high in saturated fatty acids can decrease the level of blood cholesterol levels and hence reduce risk of heart disease.

 

Functions of Essential Fatty Acids

·         Maintenance of the functioning and integrity of cellular and sub-cellular membrane.

·         Regulation of cholesterol metabolism by transporting it between the blood and body tissues.

·         Acts as precursors of an important group of hormone like compounds- prostaglandins which aid in regulating vascular function and help relieving pain and inflammation.

·         Delays blood clotting time.

 

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11th Nutrition and Dietetics : Proteins and Lipids : Functions of fats and Essential Fatty Acids |


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