In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What does a pound of fat look like?” and provide information on how fat metabolism occurs, different kinds of fats, tips to reduce the amount of fats in our diets as well as why excess fat is not healthy.
What does a pound of fat look like?
A pound of fat almost looks like a pound of muscle. However, in terms of volume, fat can be slightly heavier than muscles. 10 pounds of fat can weigh similarly to a small microwave oven or a bowling ball. This means that a pound of fat can weigh close to a small ball.
How does fat metabolism occur?
The adipose tissues in our body are made of small cells called adipocytes. Adipocytes can be called fat cells too. They are made up of lipids, triglycerides, and cholesterol.
Adipose tissues retain energy in the body for later use. This energy can be obtained by breaking down fat in cases of food scarcity. The adipose tissue can also control hormones that promote hunger and satiety.
Individuals with excess body fat are resistant to leptin which is a hormone that promotes satiety. This can increase their hunger and cause them to overeat which can further cause weight gain.
Individuals with less body fat are more sensitive to leptin. Such individuals are able to quickly experience satiety. They can quickly lose weight as they feel satiety after consuming small meals.
Adipose tissues are of 2 kinds. Brown adipose tissue burns more calories. This can reduce weight and increase insulin sensitivity.
If individuals have more white adipose tissues, it indicates that they might have difficulty losing weight. Such individuals are likely to be obese too.
What are the different kinds of fats?
Fats can be trans fats, saturated, unsaturated, or monounsaturated. Trans fats are the most harmful compared to the other three kinds of fat.
- Monounsaturated fats (MUFA) are healthy fats. MUFA helps in increasing levels of HDL and reduces levels of LDL. Sources of MUFA are olive oil, rice bran oil, mustard oil, soy, nuts, and nut oils.
- Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) are healthier compared to saturated fats but they are less healthy than MUFA.
Some of the oils containing PUFA include sunflower oil and safflower oil. It can be present in seeds and nuts. PUFA can reduce both LDL and HDL levels.
- Saturated fats (SFA) are present in coconut oil, palm oil, butter, cheese, and red meat. Saturated fats can elevate levels of LDL. As a result, they have to be consumed in moderation.
- Trans fats are the worst kind of fats. They can raise levels of LDL and lower HDL. Trans fats can be commonly found in baked goods, margarine, coffee creamers, frozen pizza, shortenings, popcorn, and fried foods.
What are some tips to reduce the amount of fat in our diets?
- Use cooking oils that are either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. Some of them include olive oil, rice bran oil, canola oil, sunflower, or safflower oil.
- Use spray oil for cooking as this ensures that lesser oil is added to dishes.
- Consume fried foods in moderation. Many individuals like consuming fried foods along with alcohol. Instead consume baked or steamed foods.
- Opt for shallow-fried foods over deep-fried ones.
- Check foods for trans fats before buying them. If the food label mentions “partially hydrogenated oil” or “trans fats” in the ingredient list, do not buy them.
- Avoid reusing the oil more than 3 times as there can be the development of trans fats.
- Opt for low-fat or fat-free products. For instance, instead of whole milk, consume skimmed milk.
Why is excess fat not healthy?
Fat can increase the risk of developing heart diseases, type-2 diabetes, strokes, high blood pressure, and increased cholesterol levels.
Consumption of excess sugar can elevate blood glucose levels. If there is excess fat present in an individual’s body, the fat cells can store glucose. This can further increase the risk of developing other metabolic diseases.
How much fat should you have?
Women aged 20 to 40 years are ideally supposed to have 21 to 32 percent of fat. For women aged 40 and above, it is better to have around 23 to 35 percent of fat.
In the case of men aged 20 to 40, the body fat percentage is supposed to be 8 to 19 percent. For men aged 40 and above, it has to be 11-24 percent.
In this brief article, we have answered the question, “What does a pound of fat look like?” and provided information on how fat metabolism occurs, different kinds of fats, tips to reduce the amount of fats in diets as well as why excess fat is not healthy.