10 Myths About Body Fat


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Eating Fat Makes You Fat
While fatty foods are generally not the best to eat, nutritionally speaking, at the end of the day, the calorie count is the key metric. © shironosov/iStock/Thinkstock

While it's true that some fats are worse for us than others — we're looking at you, LDL cholesterol-raising, man-made trans fats — it's not true that eating dietary fat makes us fat. Calories are what make us fat. You gain weight when you eat more calories than you burn, whether those calories come from fat, carbohydrates or protein.

Regardless of whether a fat is saturated or unsaturated, healthy or unhealthy, all dietary fats contain about the same amount of calories. Fats give you the most energy when you eat them because they're more calorically dense than protein and carbohydrates, ounce per ounce. While there are about 112 calories in one ounce of protein or carbohydrates, one ounce of fat contains about 252 calories [source: Youdim].

Author's Note: 10 Myths About Body Fat

I didn't end up using this in my final draft, but it's cool, so I'm going to share it here. Did you know that the average adult brain consumes about 12 watts each day, just one-fifth of the power a standard 60-watt bulb needs? That's right: 12 watts. That's the same wattage your iPad power adapter uses.

Let's look at how that math works out. We're going to assume that your body's resting metabolic rate — that's the energy your body needs to take care of just the vitals while you lounge about — is 1,300 kilocalories. That's just about 15 small calories (also called gram calories) every second in a 24 hour day. But we can't convert small calories straight to watts, so let's first turn them into joules: 1 small calorie is roughly 4 joules, which then means that 15 small calories per second equals 60 joules per second. And 60 joules per second is the equivalent of 60 watts. Knowing that the brain consumes 20 percent of our total resting energy, 20 percent of 60 watts equals 12 watts.

Phew.

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