Written by: RJ Miles
Far too often there is an extremely negative connotation with the word “fat” when it comes to nutrition. Perhaps this is because the same word is used to describe the macronutrient we need daily, and the unsightly tissue that is stored when we gain weight. When people pick up a food item and inspect the nutrition facts label, they are put off by looking at the fat content and place the back on the shelf. The truth of the matter is that fat is one of the three macronutrients (with protein, and carbohydrates being the other two), which serves a variety of biological functions in the body. These functions include:
Insulation and Protection for the body:
Most of the fat found in foods and in the body, is in the form of triglycerides. Triglycerides are basically three fatty acid chains connected to a glycerol backbone. Just beneath the skin, there is an insulating layer of fat, composed primarily of triglycerides, referred to as subcutaneous fat. This insulating layer helps to keep the body temperature constant. In additional a visceral layer of fat is found around many organs. This aids in shock absorption for the organs and prevents the organs from moving around too much, which may result in injury.
Fat soluble vitamin absorption and distribution:
Vitamins serve a multitude of important functions to many biological processes in the body. Some vitamins are water soluble (meaning their chemical structure allows them to dissolve in water) and some are fat soluble. The vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble. Fats are necessary to carry these vitamins to the small intestine and aid in their absorption into the body. Fats also aid in the transportation of these vitamins throughout the body after they are absorbed.
Energy, Energy, and more Energy:
Of the three macronutrients, fats contain more than twice the amount of energy than proteins and carbohydrates. Fat packs a whopping 9 kilocalories per gram, while protein and carbs only contain 4 kilocalories per gram. Fat stored in the body is readily accessible to be used for energy in a process known as beta oxidation. Beta oxidation of a 16 carbon fatty acids yields 106 ATP, which is the energy “currency” of the cell. By contrast, cellular respiration, which uses glucose (from carbohydrates) yields only 32 ATP. Fat is the main fuel source for most body cells, and is the primary energy for light to moderate activities like walking, yoga, hiking, etc., and at rest. Yes, that means that you are burning fat as an energy source while you’re reading this!
Too Good to be true? While fats are important in the diet, it is also important to distinguish between which types of fats you should be eating. Saturated fats and trans fats should be limited in the diet due to their negative impact on the cardiovascular system. Saturated fats are abundant in animal products (meats), whole milk and whole milk dairy products (butter, cheese), and in coconut and palm oils. Trans fat is used in many products to obtain a longer shelf life. Sources include fried foods, pastries, margarine, and most processed snack foods (cookies, chips, etc.). Dietary fat intake should be primarily composed of unsaturated fats. Nut, like those found in RBar’s ingredients, are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat! These fats, along with the carbohydrates and protein found in the bars pack a solid energy punch.
So, whether you’re about to hit the trail, climb that mountain, or hit the gym, RBar can give you the nutrients you need to #Domore.