Saturday, March 1, 2014
The fats we need to live

By Tony Wagner Citizen Columnist

Dear Mr. Fitness:

Is fat really that bad for you? I mean, not only on your body, but the fat that is in foods you eat? My 16-year-old daughter won't touch fat. She refuses to eat it. I think she is too skinny. Please advise me. Thank you.

-- Concerned Mom

Dear Concerned Mom:

Fat has truly gotten a bad rap lately. All of this negative publicity directed towards fat is generally spewing from the uninformed or agenda-driven mouthpieces.

Please show this column to your daughter.

Without any fats in our diets, we would be quite dead. Fats are absolutely essential in the transport and absorption of vitamins and minerals, most notably vitamins A, D, E and K.

Perhaps you have heard of EFA's, or essential fatty acids. These are compounds made up of oleic acid, linolenic acid, arachindonic acid and linoleic acid. These fats are found in vegetables for the most part. Does your daughter eat vegetables? If so, she is eating fats.

Omega-3 fatty acids are fats found in fish. Does she eat fish? These fats "protect" the human body. These fats are called "essential" because your body can't manufacture them. They are very important.

As for other benefits, your body cannot absorb calcium without fats. This is vital -- especially for women -- if you wish to preserve your bones.

Fats are used by your body to produce certain hormones. Fats are necessary for the formation of healthy cells (you know, those little things that we are composed of entirely). Fats form lipids, which are the main constituent of the cell wall. Without fats, your cells would just dissolve away. Not a pleasant thought!

Body fat on a person is of prime importance as well. It offers padding in vital areas of the body and protection. It protects us from temperature fluctuations -- sort of important. And, of course, it provides the body with a highly portable energy source. In fact, it is the body's preferred fuel source.

To your daughter I would say: You are at an age when having some fats in your diet is very important. You are in a developmental stage that makes fats a welcomed nutrient, not something evil, as many would have you believe. So go and eat some fish and veggies and feel good and look even better!

-- Mr. Fitness

Tony Wagner, aka Mr. Fitness, has more than 30 years of fitness and nutritional expertise. A certified personal trainer and fitness author, he has helped thousands of people get into and stay in shape. Contact him at:, find him on Facebook, or stop by Bodyzone Fitness Center, 2740 N. Roosevelt Blvd., 305-292-2930.