Guiding Light of The Month

O LORD, Thou art my refuge and my blessing, my strength, my health, my hope, and my courage. Thou art supreme Peace, unalloyed Joy, perfect Serenity. My whole being prostrates before Thee in a gratitude beyond measure and a ceaseless worship; and that worship goes up from my heart and my mind towards Thee like the pure smoke of incense of the perfumes of India. - The Mother

Walking in Light - Fat metabolism and functions

In this issue, fat metabolism in the body and the uses of fat are briefly examined. Fats are absorbed into our body cells only in the form of fatty acids and glycerol. These are the simplest forms of fatty acids that result after their hydrolysis. This process of hydrolysis takes place in the intestinal tracts during digestion. Food contains three main forms of fats, namely, glycerides (in the form of triglycerides mainly, the storage form of fats), phospholipids and sterols (mainly cholesterol).

The primary functions of fats in the body are as follows:
• a primary energy reserve – fats provide 9 kilocalories per gram (kcal/g), compared with 4 kcal/g for carbohydrate and protein. The body is able to store more fats than it is able to store glycogen, the storage form of carbohydrates
• lipids in the blood are absorbed by liver cells to provide energy for cellular functions
• fats stored as adipose tissue in the skin serves as an insulator of heat and helps in maintaining the body temperature
• adipose tissue stored in the skin as well as around the main organs of the body, such as around the heart, the kidneys, spleen and the liver provide a cushioning effect against heavy impacts on the body such as those sustained during falls
• some lipids in the blood are used for the composition of brain cells and nerve tissue
• fats are a medium of transport of fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, E or K

Where increase in body weight is concerned, we will take the link from the first point under functions of fats. One reason for the gain in weight in a person is an increased consumption of calories–rich food than is needed by the body. The excess calories are converted to fats and stored in the body, irrespective of whether the energy source was from carbohydrates or from fats. Of course, the effect is compounded when one consumes fatty food, including fried and oily food, and also alcoholic beverages, all of which are rich in calories.

- Jayanthy

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