If fats aren’t burned as energy or used as building blocks for other things, they’re stored by the body in fat cells. This is the body’s way of thinking ahead: By saving fat for future use, the body is able to prepare for times when food might be scarce.
Fat gives food flavor and texture, but it’s also high in calories. And excess amounts of fatty foods can cause many health problems.
For kids, desserts, and snacks (including potato chips, chocolate, cakes, doughnuts, pastries, and cookies) are a significant source of fat. Kids also get fat from whole-milk products and high-fat meats, such as bacon, hotdogs, and fatter cuts of red meat.
Of course, fast food and takeout meals tend to have more fat than home cooking; and in restaurants, fried dishes are the highest in fat content. Fat also often “hides” in food in the form of creamy, cheesy, or buttery sauces or dressings.
Despite the prevalence of fat in many kinds of food, there’s no need to be overly concerned.