Fat is the form in which your body stores energy. Each gram of fat contains about nine calories, compared with carbohydrates and protein, which have four per gram. All bodies need fat, but it’s the excessive amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat in the diet that lead to coronary artery disease and other health problems. The average person needs to consume fewer than 14 grams of fat to meet the daily requirement of essential fatty acids, which your body needs in order to synthesize a variety of important substances. Fat that isn’t used up is stored as body fat. One way to stay healthy and slim is to avoid taking in too much fat. All fat is comprised of three components in varying proportions: saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and monounsaturated fat. Saturated fat raises your blood cholesterol level, whereas polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat don’t. However, a popular misconception is that oils containing monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat lower your blood cholesterol level. Adding any oil to your food raises your cholesterol level, which can lead to fat globules depositing in your coronary arteries. Oils that are hydrogenated to increase their shelf life contain even more saturated fat. Another thing to watch out for is foods advertised as being ‘cholesterol-free.’ They may be free of cholesterol but full of saturated fat, which raises your blood cholesterol level even more than eating straight cholesterol. Your taste for fat is an acquired one, so it can be changed when you decide to reduce fat in your diet.