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Chapter 9: Nutritional Topics

Fats and Oils
Pages 109-118
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1094/9780913250907.009
ISBN: 0-913250-90-2


Topics Covered

  • Role of Dietary Fats
    • Calories
    • Membrane Structure
    • Vitamins
    • Essential Fatty Acids, Prostaglandins
  • Cholesterol and Atherosclerosis
    • Positive Contributions of Cholesterol
    • Blood Serum Lipids
  • Polyunsaturated Fats and Cancer

Introduction to Chapter

Lipids are an important part of animal (including human) nutrition. Excessive dietary intake of lipids (e.g., fats or cholesterol) can lead to health problems, and numerous governmental and professional groups recommend that fat intake be limited so that it provides no more than 30% of the total calories consumed each day. However, certain groups appear to advocate a zero level of lipid consumption, on the mistaken assumption that this can only improve our health. In this chapter, some of the contributions of lipids to good health are briefly discussed. It is important to recognize that research on this subject continues, and the last word has by no means been spoken. If the reader requires more detailed or up-to-date information, the extensive literature on nutritional aspects of fat and cholesterol intake should be consulted. Moreover, the guideline “Moderation in all things” is as worthwhile today as it was when it was first given many centuries ago. Extremes of any sort, including dietary manipulation, are not helpful and may well be damaging.