I eat a lot of fat, hopefully the good kind... coconut oil, ghee, nuts, avocados, salmon, etc. I am not gaining weight... My cholesterol hovers around the 240 mark, my triglycerides under 100... so what happens to the fat...? (hope this is not an off-the-wall question.) thanks
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Dietary fat does not == body fat. The body ( Roughly ) uses fat like it would any other macro nutrient, fat is just unfortunately ( misunderstandings ) the preferred way for the body to store excess energy.
E.G. You can get 'fat' by eating pure carbs, you can get fat eating pure fats, proteins will probably just kill you. before you get fat. ^^
Your Fats are separated down in small intestine where fatty acids like monosaturated , saturated etc. gets absorbed across small intestine. After that some of the fatty acids reaches to the liver directly via protein vein and some are confined to lipoproteins i.e. cholesterol and chylomicrons. They later by means of lymphatic system enter into the blood stream where they are transported to entire body.
It interacts with your bile to be digested, any that hasn't been processed by it makes its way down southward and exits. The rest which got digested gets absorbed into the blood stream.
The glycerol backbones of the fats after digestion get converted into glucose which could be used by the red blood cells, or long nerve cells - these two can't use beta oxidation to burn fats for energy.
Any MCTs make their way to your liver and get converted to ketones which your mitochondria will readily turn into ATP and use for energy in almost all the cells of your body.
Some of it gets repackaged as cholesterol, by the liver, which is then used for both energy and by the immune system to fight off invasions and do repairs, and some returns back to the liver unused, it gets recycled into bile acids.
Your fat cells will absorb some (I believe without any conversion), your muscle will absorb some and store it for use later - in a similar way as they store glycogen to be used later.