The Importance Of Having Fat In Your Diet | Stephen Coleclough
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The Importance Of Having Fat In Your Diet

The Importance Of Having Fat In Your Diet

Over the past few decades, various health experts told the general public that fat is not healthy.

Fat consumption was linked to obesity, heart disease, and a variety of other medical conditions.

We now know that there are different kinds of fat and that “healthy” fats are an important part of a healthy diet.

The key is to eat an appropriate amount of the right types of fat.

This guide will share some essential information about fat and the warning signs that you don’t have enough healthy fat in your diet.

What are fats?

Fats are important macronutrients that provide the body with energy.

They are essential for good health because they support many of the body’s functions.

There are four main types of dietary fats in the food we eat.

Each type of fat has different physical properties and chemical structures.

Saturated fats

Saturated fats are mostly found in animal products, including cheese, milk, poultry, red meat, and pork.

Excess consumption of saturated fat is considered unhealthy because it increases blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.

This can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Saturated fat should only be consumed in small quantities.

Trans fat

Trans fat is a natural fat that is found in meat and dairy foods.

Most trans fats consumed by humans are made via a process called partial hydrogenation.

Partial hydrogenation adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them solid.

Unfortunately, consumption of trans fats can increase LDL cholesterol and lower healthy high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol – increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Trans fats are considered the least healthy fat and should be avoided as much as possible.

They are often found in margarines, baked goods, and fried foods. Check the packaging of the foods you buy to determine how much trans fat they contain.

Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA)

This is a healthy fat found in many types of foods and oils.

Researchers have discovered that eating monounsaturated fats can actually decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing cholesterol levels.

Monounsaturated fatty acids can even help to regulate insulin levels and reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Foods with high levels of MUFA include avocados, olive oil, nuts, peanut oil, nut butters, and sesame oil.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)

PUFA is also found in many types of foods and oils.

It is a healthy fat that can improve blood cholesterol levels, reducing your risk of heart disease.

Foods high in PUFA include oily fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna and trout), flax seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and corn oil.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in certain polyunsaturated fats.

They have the ability to reduce inflammation and can reduce the risk of coronary disease.

Omega-3 can be found in fatty fish.

Why do we need fat?

Here re a few of the ways that the human body uses fat:

Fat is a great source of energy

Fat contains a lot of calories, making it a great source of energy.

Fat helps your body absorb vitamins and antioxidants

Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble, which means they require the presence of fat in the body before they can be processed.

Fat protects your body

Layers of fat surround the major organs, nerve cells, bones, and other tissue in the body.

It helps to cushion the body, preventing serious injury.

The brain needs fat to function

Nerve cells in the brain are wrapped in myelin – a fatty coating that protects the nerve and allows them to send electrical signals.

Fat is required to create this coating.

Fats are used to make hormones

Fat is used by the body to produce sex hormones.

Fat improves the condition of your skin and hair

The ability of fat to help the body absorb Vitamin A, D, and E makes it useful for improving the condition of your hair and skin.

Signs that you don’t have enough fat in your diet

Most people living in the UK get enough fat in their diets.

However, if you have been eating an unusual diet, your body may be receiving an insufficient amount of fat.

The warning signs that you aren’t getting enough fat include:

Dry skin

The essential fatty acids in fat help the body create the lipid layer that covers the skin.

This layer protects the skin and helps it remain moisturised.

If your diet does not include enough fat, your skin may become dry, itchy, flaky or hot.

You will also be more prone to having skin infections and rashes.

You never feel satisfied after eating

Many people switching to low fat diets complain that they don’t feel full after eating a meal.

They find eating a meal with fat in it much more satisfying.

This happens because of the molecular properties of fat.

Most types of fats have a combination of short and long molecules.

The long molecules take longer to metabolise while the short molecules can be converted into energy very quickly.

The body is quite busy as it attempts to deal with both types of molecules simultaneously.

As a result, you will feel like you have a full stomach for much longer after eating. You will also feel fuller from a smaller amount of fatty food.

Your joints ache

There are many reasons for aching joints including arthritis, tight muscles, and over exercising.

An insufficient level of essential fatty acids in the body can also cause aching joints.

That’s because omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties which ease aching joints.

Your body temperature fluctuates a lot

People who don’t get enough fat in their diet often complain of often feeling cold.

This occurs because fat helps to insulate the body from the cold.

Fat is also an excellent source of calories, which help to regulate the body’s temperature.

Mental fatigue

If you are suffering from a lack of concentration or your memory isn’t working as well as normal, you may be lacking essential fatty acids in your diet.

Loss of menstrual cycle

If your body has very low fat levels, your menstrual cycle may become irregular or stop completely.

This occurs because the body believes it is not well-nourished enough to support a pregnancy.

It this occurs, you should see a doctor immediately.

Thanks for reading The Importance Of Having Fat In Your Diet.

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Stephen Coleclough
Stephen Coleclough

Stephen Coleclough is a personal trainer and online fitness/nutrition coach from the UK. He loves heavy squats, smashing PRs and bacon sandwiches. You can follow him on Twitter at ColecloughPT.

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