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Lots of different kinds of cheese

Fatty food: There are lots of different kinds of cheese.

Why do we need to eat fat?

Fats are foods which store energy in case you need it later. Everybody needs some fatty food or they will starve to death.

What about carbohydrates?
Do we need protein?

What part of my body is made of fat?

Fats are the lipids that are in lipid membranes.  All your cells are made of lipid membranes.

What is a lipid membrane?
Parts of a cell

What foods have fat in them?

an avocado sliced in half to show the seed

Avocado: a fatty food

Some foods which have a lot of fat in them are avocados, sunflower oil, olive oil, peanuts, meat, and butter and cheese. Fatty foods have a lot of calories, but they also help you feel full, and there’s no evidence that eating them makes you fat.

Where do avocados come from?
How about sunflower oil?
Where do peanuts come from?
History of olive oil
How long have people made cheese?

Olive oil

Another fatty food: Olive oil

Different parts of the world grow different crops. So people got their fat from different foods. In South America, fat came mostly from avocados, peanuts, and cashew nuts. In North America, people got their fat from buffalo meat and from sunflower seeds.

More fatty foods

Around the Mediterranean Sea and in West Asia, people got fat mainly from olive oil, while further north in Europe it was mainly butter from cattle and fat from pigs. Further south, in Africa, most of the fat people ate came from palm oil and from sheep and cattle.

What is palm oil?
Who invented tofu?

cooked slices of tofu

Tofu looking super yummy!

In Central Asia, fat came from yogurt and cheese, while in India people pressed oil from sesame seeds, coconuts, and mustard seeds. Finally, in China, fat came from pigs and chicken, and from soybeans. Tofu is made of soybeans, and half the calories in tofu come from fat.

Learn by doing: read food labels
More about fatty molecules

Bibliography and further reading about fats:

Nutrition: What’s in the Food We Eat, by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent and William Munoz (1992). Easy reading.

Olive oil
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