Fats are an important source of energy. Together with carbohydrates and proteins, they make up your body’s three main components of foods.
While carbohydrates are generally used for energy immediately, your body often stores fat to use for energy in times of shortage.
Weight for weight, fats contain twice as much energy as carbohydrates.
Fats are important organic (life) substances, found in almost every living thing. They are made from substances called fatty acids and glycerol.
Food fats are greasy, vegetable or animal fats that will not dissolve in water.
Most vegetable fats such as corn oil and olive oil are liquid, although some nut fats are solid.
Most animal fats, as in meat, milk and cheese, are solid. Milk is mainly water with some solid animal fats. Most solid fats melt when warmed.
Fats called triglycerides are stored around the body as adipose tissue (body fat). These act as energy stores and also insulate the body against the cold.
Fats called phospholipids are used to build body cells.
In your stomach, bile from your liver and enzymes from your pancreas break fats down into fatty acids and glycerol. These are absorbed into your body’s lymphatic system or enter the blood.
Fats are either saturated or unsaturated. Cheese is a saturated fat. Saturated fats are linked to high levels of the substance cholesterol in the blood and may increase certain health risks, such as heart attack.