is fat consumption unhealthful?

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  From KITCHEN SCIENCE
  By Howard Hillman
  ISBN 0-395-48072-8

We must eat fat to stay alive. What is harmful to good health is over- and under-consumption of fat. Thanks to the barrage of warnings from the mass media, most people know the dangers associated with eating too much fat: obesity and coronary heart disease, to name two.

However, overcautious people who go to the other extreme (consuming as little fat as possible) unwittingly risk their health another way.

Fat is the vehicle that transports fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) through the body. Without a fresh supply of fat as an energy source, and if your body has used up its stored fats and carbohydrates, it is forced to resort to its supply of protein, an organic compound that is far better utilized for other missions, such as building body tissues. However, fat, too, has its building chores; it is essential for cell development. Besides its nutritive value, fat adds flavor and interest to prepared dishes, and because it takes longer to digest than protein or carbohydrates, helps keep the stomach satisfied between meals.

Authorities say that 20 to 25 percent of a normal adult's calories should come from fat. In practice, the figure is about 50 percent for the average American. As these figures suggest, most Americans need not fret about a fat shortage in their diet. They should worry about the other peril, excess fat intake.

Submitted By NANCY VAINE On 10-24-94

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