The term ‘body fat’ is a familiar one. However, most people associate this word to obesity, cholesterol and an unhealthy constitution. Although excess body fat content can have severe implications, the body requires a specific content of body fat for various metabolic and structural functions.
Body fat is produced in the body through the absorption of fats present in the food consumed. As the body breaks down these fats, two by-products are released into the body – glycerol and fatty acids. The liver processes glycerol into glucose and stores it as a stock of energy. Fatty acids provide energy for all major tissues, especially for the cardiac muscles and the skeletal muscles. So, it is very important to include appropriate amounts of fatty substances in the diet.
Here are a few major functions of body fats:
- Body fats help to maintain healthy skin and hair.
- To maintain the right body temperature, it is essential to have adequate body fat.
- Body fats are the storehouses of energy in the body.
- Body fats are necessary to ensure the smooth functioning of cells.
- Body fats have a cushioning effect on organs and tissues.
- Body fats act as a shock absorber for bones.
- The body will not be able to absorb many vital vitamins like A, E, D and K unless they are able to combine with fats.
- Body fats are also believed to act as immunity boosters to protect the body from ailments.
Too Much Body Fat – Why Is It Undesirable?
Although the body cannot function smoothly without body fat, it is also important to remember that too much of body fat can negatively affect the body. Very often, the fats absorbed by the body do not burn off but get stored in the body. Such accumulation of body fats may lead to obesity that can then set off many other health issues like breathing difficulties, arthritis and heart disease.
Knowing the exact fat percentage in your body can help in setting realistic weight loss plans. With the various fat measurement techniques available today, it is very easy to keep track of the body fat and adopt steps to a healthy lifestyle.