2.35 Calories in Fat

Fat has more calories per gram than protein or carbohydrates. This is true no matter what type of fat we are talking about. For each gram of fat that you eat, you will get 9 calories. Compare this to the 4 calories per gram in carbohydrates and proteins. So eating the same amount (measured by weight) of fat compared to protein or carbohydrates will give you more than TWICE the amount of calories.

Fat in your diet is not able to be changed into anything else in your body, so if you eat too much fat, you will deposit it as fat in your tissues. This is why they say “the fat you eat is the fat you wear.” When you eat carbohydrates, they can be stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver for future use. Carbohydrates are the main energy source of the body. While the body does use fat for energy to a lesser degree, fat mainly serves as storage for future use if calories become scarce as in times of famine.

Lets think about this scenario. A healthy 6 foot tall, 170 lb man which is at his “ideal” body weight. He may have a body fat percentage of 23%, meaning he carries around 39 lbs of fat. One pound of fat has 3500 calories in it, thus he is carrying 136,500 calories of fat at any time! This is a person at their ideal weight!

Now think about an obese 6 foot tall male weighing 240 lbs, an additional 70 lbs of fat compared to our first person. This makes him 45.5% body fat. Now he has 381,500 calories of fat stored. In order to tell the body to start using the stored fat, he must stop eating too much fat, or else the body will just use the dietary fat for energy when it needs to and storing the extra as even more fat!

Reducing all fats in your diet, especially the unhealthy ones (saturated), not only potentially has heart health benefits by itself, but will help you reduce your calorie intake, which of course is quite important if you are overweight or obese.

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