16

votes

Why call fat (the macronutrient) and fat (on our bodies) by the same name?!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 20, 2012 at 6:20 PM

I once asked this question to my professor in a nutrition class in college, and she gave me a surprised 'Gee, I never thought about that' look:

Why is "fat," the macronutrient, and "fat," the physical stuff on our bodies (adipose, viceral, etc.) called by the same name?!?!

Do you think THIS one of the main reasons for the typical modern-day person's fat-phobia (in reference to the whole 'eating fat will make me fat' deal)?? Or is there actually a REASON that I'm missing for calling the two by the same name?

Why didn't we name the 3 macronutrients Carbohydrates, Proteins, and (Insert-some-other-name-for-fat-here)?

Always curious about this one. Thoughts?

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 21, 2012
at 02:29 PM

Dietary goodness? LOVE IT!

B2410a8542f3501755a715098a6011f7

on June 21, 2012
at 05:17 AM

But fat on the body is different than calling someone "fat"-- just a thought

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on June 21, 2012
at 03:02 AM

Re: protein question. It's just unfortunate that we use "protein". It's more of a class of compounds (polymers of amino acids) in biochemistry.

Afc0b8e755ac7cdde6b517fdadb50026

(778)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:44 AM

i do the first. i dont do the second. id rather let them fear fat for now.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 20, 2012
at 09:21 PM

HA! Right on. :)

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on June 20, 2012
at 08:40 PM

I am referring more to the whole low fat food market. Where people think its low fat, so they can eat a lot of it without getting fat. I agree that you will lose weight if you eat less, but you do have to make sure all of your nutrients are taken care of too.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:36 PM

people will lose weight if they eat less fat. People will lose weight if they eat less of anything, fat included. Just because the SAD's demonization of fat is silly doesn't mean that eating less and moving more is silly.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:35 PM

heard that it's all about how much beer I drink and massages I get.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:31 PM

People lose weight by eating LESS of everything, fat included.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:29 PM

Be sure to include all the health warnings about grass fed, omega 6, etc.

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

(1439)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:25 PM

Despite the biochemical insight, miked, the fact remains that it is not helping people when the exogenous fat is good for us but the excess endogenous fat is bad for us. I usually +1. But for this reason I did not. I keep telling my wife that dietary fat does not equal excess body fat, but I think that I am losing this battle, or at least getting no where.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:24 PM

Isn't the answer though just that we are eating the fat of animals? I mean it's their body fat just as our body fat is our body fat. Then I suppose one day someone analyzed the fats in plants and realized that whatever chemical makeup it had it was similar to our body's and our animals' bodies?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:22 PM

Good subject line. I like questions like this that take something we all take for granted and step back, analyze it a bit. Nice one.

6135c6d0f4ee97d5e2cc90b33ab9fd79

(38)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:18 PM

The purpose of most fat cells is to store fat for later use. The purpose of muscles is to provide mobility, not to store protein.

6135c6d0f4ee97d5e2cc90b33ab9fd79

(38)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:15 PM

The purpose of most fat cells is to store fat for later use. The purpose of muscles isn't to store protein.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:05 PM

What about the comment above? "We don't call muscles protein. Fat cells contain more than just fat."

65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on June 20, 2012
at 07:53 PM

From this day forth I will refer to my "sore protein" after a workout :)

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 20, 2012
at 07:44 PM

If that's your reasoning then "calorie surpluss in the absence of sufficient muscle cell insulin sensitivity" shouold be called fat

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 20, 2012
at 07:44 PM

If that's your reasoning than "calorie surpluss in the absence of sufficient muscle cell insulin sensitivity" shouold be called fat.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 20, 2012
at 07:27 PM

@OP +1 awesome point. muscles/protein comment is perfect analogy.

35c04ef50472a9cde9ac0a58e98bf138

(191)

on June 20, 2012
at 06:35 PM

Exactly - the muscles/protein comment is a good analogy

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 20, 2012
at 06:33 PM

It is a good question. We don't call muscles protein. Fat cells contain more than just fat. And then we get into the issue of brown fat.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11048)

on June 20, 2012
at 06:25 PM

My guess is because the macronutrient is the same stuff that IS in and on our bodies, isn't it?

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7 Answers

9
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12672)

on June 20, 2012
at 07:51 PM

I like this. From now on I think I'll start referring to body fat as adipose tissue.

Y'know, because wearing toe shoes and telling people saturated fat is healthy doesn't make me seem weird enough.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 20, 2012
at 09:21 PM

HA! Right on. :)

Afc0b8e755ac7cdde6b517fdadb50026

(778)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:44 AM

i do the first. i dont do the second. id rather let them fear fat for now.

8
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on June 20, 2012
at 07:06 PM

Because it's the same thing. Fat (or really, fatty acids) are a class of chemical compounds with specific properties. You could call it endogenous fat and exogenous fat or dietary fat if you want, but it is fat.

When animals make fat, it becomes the fat we eat. It's the same thing (especially in pigs: lard is almost identical to human fat composition).

6135c6d0f4ee97d5e2cc90b33ab9fd79

(38)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:18 PM

The purpose of most fat cells is to store fat for later use. The purpose of muscles is to provide mobility, not to store protein.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:05 PM

What about the comment above? "We don't call muscles protein. Fat cells contain more than just fat."

6135c6d0f4ee97d5e2cc90b33ab9fd79

(38)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:15 PM

The purpose of most fat cells is to store fat for later use. The purpose of muscles isn't to store protein.

B2410a8542f3501755a715098a6011f7

on June 21, 2012
at 05:17 AM

But fat on the body is different than calling someone "fat"-- just a thought

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

(1439)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:25 PM

Despite the biochemical insight, miked, the fact remains that it is not helping people when the exogenous fat is good for us but the excess endogenous fat is bad for us. I usually +1. But for this reason I did not. I keep telling my wife that dietary fat does not equal excess body fat, but I think that I am losing this battle, or at least getting no where.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on June 21, 2012
at 03:02 AM

Re: protein question. It's just unfortunate that we use "protein". It's more of a class of compounds (polymers of amino acids) in biochemistry.

5
C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on June 20, 2012
at 07:37 PM

I think it makes far more confusing than it needs to be. Its also probably why people think they will lose weight if they eat less fat.

Fats could be called lipids, oils and triglcyerides too.

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on June 20, 2012
at 08:40 PM

I am referring more to the whole low fat food market. Where people think its low fat, so they can eat a lot of it without getting fat. I agree that you will lose weight if you eat less, but you do have to make sure all of your nutrients are taken care of too.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 20, 2012
at 07:44 PM

If that's your reasoning then "calorie surpluss in the absence of sufficient muscle cell insulin sensitivity" shouold be called fat

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 20, 2012
at 07:44 PM

If that's your reasoning than "calorie surpluss in the absence of sufficient muscle cell insulin sensitivity" shouold be called fat.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:31 PM

People lose weight by eating LESS of everything, fat included.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:36 PM

people will lose weight if they eat less fat. People will lose weight if they eat less of anything, fat included. Just because the SAD's demonization of fat is silly doesn't mean that eating less and moving more is silly.

2
34d86d3b0a54fb0bb1d230af2b0d5b40

on June 21, 2012
at 02:47 AM

when i'm eating fat, i'm thinking energy. fat=fuel

2
Medium avatar

(10601)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:27 PM

Augh. They're the same thing, especially when you eat animal fat. Excess blood lipids, coupled with excess blood glucose, is the normal way we store fat. De novo lipogenesis is trivial.

Now have you figured out how to marble your fat like an Angus?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:35 PM

heard that it's all about how much beer I drink and massages I get.

1
B2410a8542f3501755a715098a6011f7

on June 21, 2012
at 05:15 AM

I've written blogs about this a number of times. As someone who has struggled with my eating over the years, the 2 words make me think eating fat will make me fat. So instead, I like to now call dietary "goodness"... yum!

So now I say, "Does this meal have a few servings of healthy goodness in it?" Has really helped my mindframe

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 21, 2012
at 02:29 PM

Dietary goodness? LOVE IT!

0
F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

on June 20, 2012
at 08:27 PM

Just stick with the chant "Dietary fat reduces excess body fat". If I were to win the lottery, I would buy a billboard and put that on it.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on June 20, 2012
at 08:29 PM

Be sure to include all the health warnings about grass fed, omega 6, etc.

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