It's time to talk about a dreaded word in the fitness arena, FAT. Everyone tells you that fat is bad for you, but they don't tell you why. Have you ever wondered why fat puts that inner-tube around the waist? Or why there's been such a craze for low - fat, reduced fat, and no fat foods? Well, let's cut the gab and get busy with the good scoop in the battle of the bulge.

First of all, we need to know something about the energy nutrients. There are three primary energy nutrients; proteins, carbohydrates (carbs), and of course fats. Each one of these nutrients have a specific energy value per gram. This energy value is measured in units called calories. The body burns these calories for energy (hence, the term energy nutrients). Of the three energy nutrients, fat has more calories per gram than either proteins or carbs. As a matter of fact, it has more than double. There are 9 calories per gram of fat, where as there are only 4 calories per gram of protein or carbohydrate. This means you can eat twice the amount of proteins or carbs and get the same or less calories than if you were to eat the same amount of fat. Let's get an understanding of the importance of this as it relates to physical fitness. To illustrate this we must give you a basic understanding of how the body uses energy.

In an attempt not to get too technical, I'll try to explain. The body needs a certain amount of calories to survive. Just for your heart to beat, eyes to blink, lungs to work, so on and so forth, you need to consume a certain amount of calories. Even if you sat on a couch and did nothing all day, you would need to consume a certain amount of calories to survive. Now, the amount of calories you consume above and beyond this basic amount to survive has to be either used (exercise, work, etc) or stored for later energy use (bodyfat). Let's get back to the fat thing.

As you can tell by now, dietary fat helps you get fat by primarily providing you with an overwhelming amount of calories that must be burned or used. If this excess amount of calories doesn't get used, you can start adding on the pounds.

Now you have an idea of why fat is bad for you. So next time you're eating breakfast, trade the butter for a little bit of jelly, marmalade, or honey.

Semper Fidelis and OO-RAH!