Almost every interpretation of the word “fat” is negative in our current milieu. Thin, healthy women claim to be too fat. Highly nutritious superfoods like nuts, olive oil, and avocado are avoided because “don’t you know how much fat they have?” Non-fat products are always preferred, even if they contain tons of sugar and other additives. Fat is taboo.
Yet fat is one of the building blocks of our cells and bodies. It’s necessary for survival. There are many kinds of fat, and some of them are extremely healthful. Clearly the problem is that fat is very misunderstood. Let’s take a look at how fat and calories work inside our bodies, shall we?
What is Fat?
Fat, also known as adipose tissue, is found throughout the body, generally underneath skin. Some fat is found under the kidneys, stored in the liver, and even in muscle tissue.
The human body contains two types of fat: white fat and brown fat. Brown fat, found mainly in newborn babies, plays an important role in thermogenesis (creating heat). However, by adulthood, you will lose most if not all of your brown fat. White fat is a crucial part of energy metabolism, mechanical cushioning, and heat insulation.
While we all have and need some fat on our bodies, we sometimes develop troublesome fatty areas that won’t go away with a healthy lifestyle. Some people choose to try out cold laser fat removal or traditional liposuction in this case.
What about Calories?
Calories are a unit of food energy. Specifically, one calorie is equivalent to the amount of energy it takes one gram of water to go up one degree Celsius.
The body is constantly burning fuel, even at rest. Obviously, you’ll burn more calories running sprints around a track than sitting in front of the TV all day. The more strenuous the activity, the more fuel (calories) your body burns.
How Do They Come Together?
About 3,500 calories equals one pound of fat. In order to burn the fat, you need to burn more calories than you consume. This causes your body to use up your energy reserves stored in fat cells. Of course, procedures like laser body sculpting with a low-level laser basically liquefy fat without effort from you. Without healthy diet and exercise, though, those fat cells will fill back up.
Think of fat cells as tiny bags holding droplets of white fat. While these cells contain a nucleus and a tiny bit of cytoplasm, about 85 percent of the entire cell is composed of a large fat droplet. Fat is actually full of energy.
It takes a while for your body to reach that energy though. The first source of fuel comes from the sugar in carbohydrates, which can be a lot, especially if you’re prone to eating a lot of food without doing much exercise. Once the sugar is depleted, your body begins to break down the fat in the fat cells into glycerol and fatty acids, which are distributed throughout the body.
As your body uses up that fat, it’s broken down into various components, mainly ATP, which transports chemical energy throughout cells for metabolism. Processing fat also produces water, heat, and carbon dioxide. Water exits your body through sweat and urine, and carbon dioxide is exhaled. Heat emanates from the body, which is why your body feels hot after an especially intense workout.
Just remember that there’s a lot more to fat than you think.