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Breaking Down Fatty Acid Synthesis: Energy from Fat Stores

Dec 17, 2014

Fatty acids are important as a source of energy in our bodies. Knowing the effects from breaking down fatty acid synthesis and energy from fat stores is important to those who are dieting or working out. If you have an excess amount of glucose, another source of energy, in your system, this can easily be stored as fat as well. 


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All of the cell membranes in the human body are made up of phospholipids, which have two different fatty acids in them. These fatty acids are used for protein modification, and the resulting metabolism of these fatty acids ends in the production of energy.


How Your Body Uses Stored Fat

When you are not eating, your body is not producing energy and it will rely on the stored energy in carbohydrates, fats and proteins. When this happens, certain organs in the body secrete hormones that have an effect on the liver, fat and muscle tissues. During this period your body is pulling energy from these sources and depleting them at the same time. Fat cells do not disappear, but they do get smaller as more energy is used.


Fatty acids are stored in the body as triglycerides and are an important source of energy since they are both anhydrous, meaning that is contains no water, and reduced which has to do with the changing of the oxidation of an atom. The energy created from fatty acids is more than twice that of the same amount of carbohydrates. One gram of carbohydrates results in 4Kcal/g while the same amount of fatty acids delivers 9Kcal/g.


Fat is an important and powerful means of storing energy just as they are a noticeable source of dietary calories. About 30-40% of calories, at least in the American diet, are from fat. As can be noted from this chart, fatty acids are excellent at storing energy that can later be used when needed:

  • Fat: 100,000 Kcal
  • Protein: 25,000 Kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 650 Kcal

Breaking Down Stored Fat

When the body breaks down the fatty acids as it needs energy, it does so in a process called lipolysis. During this process, the fatty acids are directly broken down into a usable energy source. Likewise, the fat can be broken down to produce glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis. In this process, fatty acids are broken down to produce glucose which is another form of energy for the body.


For an example of how fat and fatty acids are used as a means of energy, you need look no further than a hibernating bear. Before going into the hibernation state, the bear will stock up on food and stores the accumulated fat in its body. During the long sleep through the winter, the bear will use the stored energy in the fat to sustain itself until spring.


Where Does The Fat Go?


The amount of energy that can be stored in the fatty cells never really changes all that much. Weight is based on the rate at which energy is stored in regards to how active you are. The more energy you use on a regular basis means that less energy needs to be stored in fat cells.


Remember, fat is not really lost, the cells just shrink to a much smaller size.


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