Fats are also called ‘fatty acids’ or ‘lipids.’ Fats in our body are made up of three molecules joined together. This three-molecule structure is called a “triglyceride”.
Most of the fat we need is made by our bodies, but there are some fats our bodies cannot make. We can only get these fats by eating them. These fats are called “essential” fats because it is essential that we get them from food. Essential fats include Omega-3 fats (found in foods such as fish and flax seed) and Omega-6 fats (found in foods such as nuts, seeds, and corn oil).
There are three main types of fat in the foods you eat:
- unsaturated fats from plant foods.
Find out what foods have unsaturated fats »
- saturated fats from animal foods.
Find out what foods have saturated fats and how you can eat less »
- Trans fats from commercially prepared, processed foods.
Find out what Trans fats are and how you can avoid eating them »
Why is Fat Important?
Getting enough fat in your diet is important for staying healthy.
Eating only very, very low levels of fat is not recommended. We need fat because:
- fat helps absorb vitamins, like vitamins A, D, E, and K
- fat keeps our skin healthy
- essential fats like Omega-3 are important for heart health
- healthy fats, like unsaturated fats from plant oils, can help lower levels of LDL (lousy) cholesterol
- fat adds flavour to food
- fat keeps you feeling satisfied longer after a meal