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Fats Nutrition Database Nutrition Dictionary: A Comprehensive Source of Nutritional Terms Fat Information Database Fat Information Database

For those of you wishing to learn about cholesterol please click HERE.

Fats and the Bodybuilding Diet

Fats, also called lipids, serves five main functions in your body:

(1) As a large, concentrated energy depot.

(2) To protect your organs.

(3) As insulation.

(4) As solvent for the transport of fat-soluble vitamins.

(5) As supplier of essential fatty acids. The latter is crucial, because without fat, your body couldn't synthesize enough of certain hormones, such as testosterone, and the structure of your cells would be compromised.

* Recommended daily intake for a bodybuilder is no more than 0.46 grams per pound of bodyweight, or 15-20% of overall caloric intake.

Major Sources


This is the major source of dietary and stored, or adipose, fat and is typically divided into two types:


By itself, glycerol, an alcohol, doesn't constitute a fat because of its solubility in water. Instead, it tends to take on the characteristics of a carbohydrate, equaling approximately 4 calories per gram. Many low-carb, low-fat supplement bars use glycerol as a key ingredient to keep the flavor and consistency.

Fatty Acids

Chemically, these are organic acids composed of carbon acids composed of carbon atoms with hydrogen molecules attached. The more hydrogen attachments, the more saturated and solid the fat. Fatty acids are divided into two types:

Saturated Fatty Acids

Called saturated because they hold as many hydrogen atoms as chemically possible - Generally, that isn't a good thing. You'll mainly see these fats in animal products, but some vegetable sources are also high in saturated fat (for example, palm oil).

Unsaturated Fatty Acids

Unsaturated means that it isn't totally saturated with hydrogen atoms. These are typically deemed your "good" fats, and should constitute the greatest percentage of your fat intake. Examples are monosaturated fatty acid-containing foods such as olive oil and pecans. Some foods containing polyunsaturated fatty acid (also known as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids) are soy, fish, and corn oil. Some unsaturated fats, however, can be chemically manipulated so that they're potentially more harmful to your health than saturated fats.


These are the fats that are critically important for maintaining cell structure integrity, aid in blood clotting, and facilitate fatty acid and cholesterol transport and utilization. Possibly the most important of the phospholipids is lecithin, which is found in foods such as eggs, liver, soybeans, peanuts and wheat germ.


Besides cholesterol, which is typically thought to be bad for you, sterols exist in the body to carry out all sorts of important functions - Sex and metabolic hormones such as testosterone and cortisol come from sterols, and Vitamin D is considered a sterol.

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