Understanding how your body uses fat

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Here's a sentence that you probably never thought you'd read: A healthy body needs fat. Your body uses dietary fat (the fat that you get from food) to make tissue and manufacture biochemicals, such as hormones. Some of the body fat made from food fat is visible. Even though your skin covers it, you can see the fat in the adipose (fatty) tissue in female breasts, hips, thighs, buttocks, and belly or male abdomen and shoulders.

This visible body fat

1 Provides a source of stored energy

1 Gives shape to your body

1 Cushions your skin (imagine sitting in a chair for a while to read this book without your buttocks to pillow your bones)

1 Acts as an insulation blanket that reduces heat loss

Other body fat is invisible. You can't see this body fat because it's tucked away in and around your internal organs. This hidden fat is

1 Part of every cell membrane (the outer skin that holds each cell together)

1 A component of myelin, the fatty material that sheathes nerve cells and makes it possible for them to fire the electrical messages that enable you to think, see, speak, move, and perform the multitude of tasks natural to a living body; brain tissue also is rich in fat

1 A shock absorber that protects your organs (as much as possible) if you fall or are injured

1 A constituent of hormones and other biochemicals, such as vitamin D and bile

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