Why Fat is Important
Fat is essential to a healthy and balanced diet.. so much so that certain fats ( like Omega 3 and Omega 6 ) are labeled as essential fatty acids. Because without them, we dont function properly!
Finding the balance, just like in anything else, should really be our approach when not only eating fat but with other nutrients and food groups too.
The issue with a low fat diet, besides the lack of a major necessary nutrient, is that most people will then consume more carbohydrates in order to remain full. There is also a greater likelihood of overeating foods with dietary fat due to biological and/or psychological cravings. Diet products low in fat actually tend to have more sugar, salt, or additives in order to compensate for lost taste.
Also.. it has been discovered that reducing dietary fat in your diet will actual lead to your body storing more body fat. Hormones are the bottom line to that story.
Dietary fat is our second most needed nutrient (about 30% of our intake) and has super important roles in our diet and our body function such as:
Chief storage form of energy
Promotes healthy hair, skin, and nails
Regulates mood, helps prevent depression
Major source of energy
Source of fat soluble vitamins
Aids in absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K
Acts as a cushion for vital organs
Helps maintain body temperature
Source of essential fatty acids needed for hormone production
Adds flavor and taste to foods
Slows digestion of food thus lending satiety to a meal
Slowed digestion also helps in blood sugar regulation
So what kind of fat should you be eating? Good question. There are different types of fat and the best kind to add into your diet is called unsaturated fat. This kind of fat is mostly found in plant food sources like olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds, but is also found in fish such as tuna and salmon.
For some tips on adding some healthy fat into your day try:
- Having guacomole and whole wheat crackers as an afternoon snack
- Homemade trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruits
- Nut butter on rice cakes or with an apple
- Cooking with olive oil instead of butter