The Science of Fats In Our Diet – Sci Show

I’m the first person to admit that there are loads of other people who can explain things better than I can.  So, when I was teaching high school biology, I often showed clips from one of my favorite virtual science teachers, Hank Green on SciShow.

His shows are good.  Really good.  But they are FAST and packed with information – so probably not the best way to be introduced to a topic you have never heard of before…but pretty darned good if you have studied something and want an excellent overview to reinforce what you have learned.

I used to teach a lot of English language learners who were blended into classes with native speakers.  It was such a challenge – how was I supposed to teach the new language of Biology to students in their new language of English?  In addition, I didn’t want to leave behind the native speakers who were ready to forge ahead.  I usually opted to do a variety of activities that worked on language acquisition and vocabulary development, but I also included videos like these.  They are hard, even for me.  But they are also like a golden beacon – something to strive to understand.

The Science of Fats in Our Diet

Goodness knows, keeping up with nutrition news can be baffling.  First we learn that fats are bad for us, then we learn that carbs are better…and now we are learning that maybe fats aren’t so bad after all.  But what’s the science behind the hype?  Why is one type of fat okay for us to eat, and another not so much?

I’ll let Hank take it from here, and then I’ll do a little summary below…because like I said, he talks FAST!

Fast Fat Facts…:

The science of Fats in our Food via What's Cooking with Kids

Unsaturated Fats, From The Truth About Fats, Harvard

  • Your body needs fats in order to function.  Fats are an important component of your cell membranes and the exterior surface of your nerves, and they also provide an excellent source of energy.
  • Saturated fats are usually made from single bonded atoms and can stack together. This means that they are usually solid at room temperature, like butter, lard and even coconut oil.
  • Unsaturated fats usually have at least one double bond in their structure, whichgives them a bent shape, making them less likely to stack on top of each other.  Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature.  Sources of unsaturated fats can include: nuts, avocado, olive oil, and fatty fish (like salmon).
  • Trans fats are the same thing as hydrogenated fats.  They add extra hydrogen atoms to the molecule, making typically liquid fats into a solid.  BAD! These are now banned in the USA, although there can still be small traces of them in your food – so be sure to read your food labels.


  • Make some candied walnuts – you’ll get a healthy dose of unsaturated fats
  • This stinging nettle pesto will hook you up with fats from the parmesan, pine nuts and the olive oil. It’s delish, I promise
  • I don’t know about you, but when I think of fat in food, my mind goes to cheese…mmm, cheese.  This is a version of Macaroni and Cheese that we changed to integrate more veggies – it’s called Squash-a-roni and Cheese and is from my cookbook.  You can thank me later.
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One Response to The Science of Fats In Our Diet – Sci Show

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