Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fat #2: What is it used for in my body?

Your body requires fat to function, without any fat you would not be able to survive.
All mammal cells are surrounded by a membrane, known ads the phospho lipid bi-layer, it is 2 layers of phosphates with fatty acids attached. These membranes also contain cholesterol, proteins, and carbohydrates. Every single cell in your body needs fat in order to survive.

~Hydro-what now?? Hydrophobic and hydrophilic are used to describe how atoms and molecules behave in water. Hydro- is the prefix for water, -phillic means something likes water or is easy to mix in water, -phobic means something does not like water (is afraid) and is not easy to mix in water. Examples of hydrophilic things: vinegar, alcohols, fruit juices. Examples of hydrophobic things: oil, fats. Some things can be mixed with both oils and waters depending on their charge and the pH of the solution.~

This membrane structure is important because it is ‘selectively permeable’ to different ions, molecules, and compounds. Things your cells need, like water and ions can freely cross because of their charge and how they interact with the hydrophobic fats. Similarly large molecules such as peptides cannot cross because they do not behave in a manner that allows them to co-exist with both hydrophobic and hydrophilic environments.

When the amount of energy you intake (in the form of sugars, carbohydrates, or fats) exceeds the amount of energy you expend (by doing daily activities, exercising, excreting) your body stores the energy for later use. Your liver converts these energy molecules to free fatty acids and binds 3 of them together with a glycerol molecule and that body cans store. This is called a triglyceride, as mentioned in the last post, and is primarily found in fat cells. These cells have the same membrane as other cells in your body but lack some other organelles, they are basically just a droplet of fat surrounded by a membrane.

Next time we will discuss where in your body you should have fat, how much is healthy and how much is too much.

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