Woohoo! It’s that fourth dimension again—time for our weekly dose of the truth virtually dietary fats. As promised last time, this calendar week I’ll finally start taking what we’ve learned hence far in addition to connect it to what matters most: what it all way when it comes fourth dimension to EAT…and store for food, cook, in addition to all the other things that receive got to acquire done earlier nosotros sit down downward at the table. (Wouldn’t it live prissy if life was similar it was on The Jetsons, in addition to nosotros could only popular a pill for breakfast, lunch, in addition to dinner, in addition to telephone shout out upwards it good? No dishes to wash, no fourth dimension spent peeling in addition to chopping? That would complimentary upwards a lot of time, but in addition to hence again, I like cooking, in addition to sky knows I love the gustation of food. So all things considered, I gauge I’ll stick alongside foraging at the grocery store in addition to filling my line solid alongside awesome aromas.)
We’ve come upwards a long way since the outset post service inwards this series, haven’t we? We’ve learned the differences betwixt saturated in addition to unsaturated fats; we’ve broken downward lots of dissimilar kinds of fats in addition to oils; we’ve talked virtually trans fats; in addition to fifty-fifty learned virtually one type of trans fat that seems to live good for us. Believe it or not, though, we’ve barely fifty-fifty scratched the surface. We receive got lots to a greater extent than to acquire to, in addition to nosotros will. But for now, let’s buckle upwards for a niggling physiology lesson (uh-oh…) that volition give us some thought of what fats in addition to oils truly do inside us.
You know what that means…
Hopefully the scientific discipline I’ve shared hence far inwards this serial hasn’t scared anyone away. Call me crazy, but I similar explaining how and why things function the way they do. Seems similar that’s a improve way to aid us all brand feel of this than only telling you lot what’s practiced to swallow in addition to what’s non “because I said so.” I’m perfectly happy to pontificate endlessly virtually this materials (ask anyone who knows me), but I think it’s alone fair to demonstrate you lot that what I say is non my opinion, in addition to it’s non what I heard on daytime TV or saw inwards a magazine at the supermarket checkout. (Although it would live prissy it some of that materials were true, huh? I’d similar to receive got 6-pack abs past times Christmas past times doing naught to a greater extent than than drinking dark-green tea in addition to walking around the block a few times, but somehow I don’t think that’s gonna cutting it.) What I’m putting on this spider web log is backed upwards past times cold, difficult physiological facts. (Or, inwards the illustration of the textbooks on my shelf, room-temperature facts, hehheh.) In the involvement of legitimacy in addition to scientific rigor, moving forwards I volition seek to advert sources a niggling to a greater extent than reputable in addition to varied than only Wikipedia. I won’t stop using Wikipedia, but I recognize the importance of finding data inwards other places, particularly because a lot of what I say regarding real health foods is controversial. (Okay, let’s non rhythm out around the bush. It’s non only controversial; it straight-up goes completely against the low-fat, high-carb, whole grains “thing” that’s been going on for over one-half a century. Funny, isn’t it, that we’ve followed that advice but somehow ended upwards sicker in addition to to a greater extent than overweight than ever? Just something to think about…)
There is so much to speak virtually when it comes to the role of fats inwards our bodies. Looking jiggly on our butts in addition to thighs is alone ane of the things they do—and despite how much attending all that trunk obese gets, it’s in all likelihood the thing I’m least concerned alongside here. In fact, since we’re on the subject, tin nosotros all agree—just for now—to mentally disconnect the obese inwards foods alongside the obese on our bodies? Let’s telephone shout out upwards the dietary fats “fat,” in addition to refer to our dear handles, large booties, in addition to thunder thighs every bit “adipose tissue.” ‘Cuz that’s what it is. Adipose tissue. And it doesn’t alone come upwards from the obese nosotros eat. (More on that inwards a serial to come upwards on metabolism. I know, I know. Please, direct hold your applause.)
|The obese we eat does not automatically lodge itself inwards our bellies, hips, in addition to thighs.|
Since at that spot is a ton to encompass virtually obese (no pun intended), for today let’s proceed it simple. We’re going to speak virtually ane thing in addition to ane thing only. The jail cellphone membrane. (Yikes! Having flashbacks to high schoolhouse biology? Don’t acquire skeered; I’ll seek to brand this interesting. And if you lot could run across me inwards person, I’m in all likelihood nicer to hold off at than your high schoolhouse biological scientific discipline instructor was, regardless of your sexual orientation.)
Do nosotros all recall what cells are? They’re the teeny-tiny, itty-bitty things that brand us…well, us. Every component division of us, from our eyeballs to our little finger toes, is made of cells. We receive got erythrocytes (red blood cells), hepatocytes (liver cells), enterocytes (small intestinal cells), encephalon cells, pancreatic cells, musculus cells, in addition to cells inwards every other type of tissue in addition to organ. We are made upwards of trillions of these things. Basically, we’re only walking, talking sacks of cells. (Or, if you’re a Carl Sagan fan, we’re truly recycled stardust, but for the role of this post, we’ll telephone shout out upwards ourselves large sacks of cells. [And also if you’re a Carl Sagan fan, think of our bodies every bit “TRILLIONS AND TRILLIONS” of cells, instead of “billions in addition to billions,” heehee. Loved that guy...and others.])
Everything that happens within our bodies happens because of actions at the cellular level. When you lot touching a hot pan in addition to describe your manus away every bit fast every bit you lot can, that motility happens because sensory cells inwards your manus felt something hot, transmitted that to your brain, in addition to your encephalon told the motor cells to move—in this case, to displace away from the pan. I’m non kidding when I say that everything that happens happens because of activity inwards some of these trillions of cells. You tin digest nutrient because cells lining your tummy secrete muriatic acid in addition to digestive enzymes. You tin breathe because cells inwards your lungs telephone commutation oxygen in addition to carbon dioxide alongside your blood.
Regardless of what kind of jail cellphone we’re talking about, all cells receive got membranes. To live specific, I’m talking virtually plasma membranes, in addition to this is what surrounds the cell. It separates the inside of the jail cellphone from whatever’s outside. This is a much bigger bargain than it powerfulness seem. See, the jail cellphone membrane is similar a bouncer at a club. He decides who gets to come upwards inwards in addition to who has to live kicked out. If the bouncer’s going to do his labor well, he’s got to hold off a for sure way, right? You wouldn’t desire a scrawny, timid boy-man at the entrance, would you? Of course of pedagogy not. You’d desire someone tough and brawny. Think “Chuck Norris,” in addition to non “Sheldon Cooper.” The same is truthful of our jail cellphone membranes: they receive got to live built a for sure way inwards monastic say to role properly. When jail cellphone membranes don’t role properly, it is—to utilisation the official scientific term—bad news. If the membrane is similar a bouncer, in addition to hence when it doesn’t function correctly, what happens? Good things (like vitamins, minerals, amino acids, glucose) can’t acquire into the cell, in addition to bad things (toxins, waste product products, excess sodium) can’t acquire out. Recipe for disaster? Yes.
Okay, that makes sense. So what does whatever of that receive got to do alongside the fats nosotros eat? Good question! I tin run across you’ve got your thinking caps on. See, cell membranes are made of obese acids. (Well, technically, they’re made from phospholipids, glucoproteins, cholesterol, in addition to other stuff, but the primary thing inwards jail cellphone membranes is obese acids.) And they’re made from all 3 kinds of obese acids: saturated, monounsaturated, in addition to polyunsaturated. They need all 3 kinds of obese acids. The membranes for dissimilar types of cells receive got dissimilar requirements for the detail proportion of saturated vs. unsaturated, hence I can’t give you lot exact numbers on what jail cellphone membranes are made of. For our purposes here, it’s plenty to know that nosotros demand all 3 to some extent.
For this to brand sense, we’ll demand to run across what a jail cellphone membrane truly looks like. (Plus, we’ve gone a few paragraphs without a graphic, hence we’re due.) Here are a couplet of dissimilar representations of jail cellphone membranes. Let’s hold off at the outset one:
The jail cellphone membrane is truly called a phospholipid bilayer. (Don’t worry. It sounds much to a greater extent than technical than it is. All it way is that it’s similar a double door; it’s got 2 layers.) The “phospho” is for the phosphate group, which is shown every bit the niggling reddish balls on either border of the membrane inwards this graphic. (That’s all you lot demand to know virtually it now.) The lipid portion—the dark in addition to bluish “tails”—is the ane we’re interested in. Remember what nosotros learned virtually the departure betwixt saturated in addition to unsaturated fats? Saturated fats receive got no double bonds, hence they hold off straight. (I know the saturated obese inwards this graphic looks squiggly, but that’s only how they’re drawn inwards biochemical shorthand. When you lot compare it to the unsaturated obese below it, you lot tin run across that where the double bond is, the obese acid bends.
Our jail cellphone membranes hold off to a greater extent than similar the lower moving-picture demonstrate – the ane that has saturated and unsaturated obese acids inwards it (the dark in addition to blue). When the membrane has the right “ingredients,” it tin do its job, only similar a bouncer that has the right build.
But membranes aren’t just obese acids. There’s lots of “stuff” embedded inwards the membrane that also helps it do its job. Think of it similar a huge estate—the habitation of someone alongside way to a greater extent than coin than you lot could hope to brand inwards a lifetime. (You know, the form of residence that has a name, non an address. Like “Chateau de la Mar, instead of 319 Old Hill Road. [But not “a van downward past times the river.”]) There are a lot of dissimilar ways to acquire into in addition to out of an estate similar that, right? There’s a forepart door, a dorsum door, windows, the servants’ entrance, balcony doors, the ballroom entrance, the underground driveway for deliveries. And inwards monastic say for these entrances to allow people inwards in addition to out, the line solid itself has to live built correctly, yes? If the line solid was made poorly, mayhap the doorways in addition to windows aren’t the right form or size. If it starts sinking into its foundation, mayhap that underground entrance becomes inaccessible.
The jail cellphone membrane plant the same way. Check out the drawing below. Embedded on in addition to within the membrane itself—like doors in addition to windows—are ion channels, transporters, in addition to other things that are designed to choose for sure things into the jail cellphone in addition to send other things out—things that can’t only sideslip through the membrane without help. There are also receptors for things similar insulin, serotonin, HDL, in addition to LDL – form of similar safety guards who stand upwards exterior the mansion in addition to alone allow inwards people they recognize.
So it should live pretty obvious at ane time what could hap if the jail cellphone membrane isn’t built the right way. Things that are supposed to brand it can’t, in addition to things that are supposed to acquire out also can’t. And it doesn’t goal there. If the membrane itself is shoddy, in addition to hence some of those transporters, channels, in addition to receptors aren’t going to function right, only similar the line solid alongside the doors in addition to windows that aren’t the right form in addition to size. To give us some thought of what this way inwards existent life, if our LDL receptors aren’t working right, we’ll receive got lots to a greater extent than LDL floating around inwards our bloodstream because it can’t acquire into the cells. (If you’re thinking LDL is the “bad cholesterol,” you’re right, but it is WAY to a greater extent than complicated than that. We’ll tabular array that word for some other day.) If your insulin receptors aren’t doing their labor because the jail cellphone membrane is messed up, your blood glucose levels volition live higher than they should live because insulin can’t acquire glucose into the cells. Are nosotros starting to run across how something seemingly irrelevant—like jail cellphone membranes—can impact big, BIG things downstream, similar pump illness in addition to diabetes? Now you lot know why I ended upwards loving biochem fifty-fifty though I was super scared of it when I outset started.
|The right edifice blocks brand the departure betwixt this...|
Okay. So what do nosotros mean when nosotros speak virtually the jail cellphone membrane non existence built right? Well, recall that what gives the membrane its basic construction are obese acids. And nosotros demand all 3 kinds—saturated, monounsaturated, in addition to polyunsaturated. But what receive got nosotros been told when it comes to food? Avoid saturated fats, right? Limit intake of saturated fats in addition to emphasize the unsaturates. Ix-nay on the butter, lard, beef tallow, egg yoks, in addition to obese cuts of meat, in addition to utilisation olive oil, soybean oil, corn, canola, in addition to safflower oils instead.
It should live slow to run across how dietary imbalances tin mess alongside our jail cellphone membranes. Too many polyunsaturated fats inwards the diet would hateful likewise many acquire incorporated into the membranes. And when at that spot are likewise many polyunsaturates, the membrane becomes “floppy.” In monastic say to improve the structural stability of these floppy membranes, the trunk sends inwards reinforcements—kind of similar load-bearing walls or studs—something that keeps the repose of the line solid (or membrane) from collapsing. What are these reinforcements? Cholesterol! (Yes, kids! Cholesterol is non out to kill us. It’s a repair substance. More on that some other time.)
Here’s where it gets a niggling dicey, in addition to I’m non higher upwards admitting I don’t receive got all the answers. If there’s ane thing the human trunk is practiced at, it’s converting stuff. Taking things in addition to changing them into other things. We do it all the time. Our bodies are the ultimate reuse in addition to recycle machines. We tin plow proteins (amino acids) into saccharide (glucose); carbohydrates into obese (WHAT?! Yes, to a greater extent than on that inwards the metabolism serial debuting soon); testosterone to estrogen, in addition to obese acids to other obese acids. The component division I’m non for sure virtually is why our bodies don’t accept the excess polyunsaturated fats in addition to convert them into saturates if it would hateful correctly made jail cellphone membranes. Maybe they do to some extent, but if so, they notwithstanding don’t do it enough to brand stable, proper membranes.
And what receive got nosotros only said virtually jail cellphone membranes that don’t function right? Good materials can’t acquire in, bad materials can’t acquire out. And surprise, surprise, high intakes of polyunsaturated fats—y’know, the ones they’ve been telling us to utilisation because saturated fats are (supposedly) hence bad for us—have been linked to for sure types of cancer. No wonder, if toxins in addition to waste product products can’t exit of cells! And also no wonder, since nosotros learned inwards part 3 of this series that polyunsaturated fats are the most susceptible to oxidation in addition to rancidity. (Oxidized obese acids create complimentary radicals inwards the body—molecules that tin wreak havoc inwards many ways in addition to are associated alongside the evolution of cancer, in addition to the negative effects of aging.)
So, until side past times side time, do your jail cellphone membranes a favor — go swallow some butter!
, LLC is non a medical practise in addition to Amy Berger, M.S., is non a physician. The data contained herein is non intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or forestall whatever medical status in addition to is non to live considered medical advice.
Fat Tuesday Part half dozen - What does it all MEAN?
4/ 5Oleh Margaret Garland