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.
· 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.