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Have you stopped eating fat? It wouldn’t be a surprise since years ago a war was started against fats. We were told that fats were the cause of cardiovascular diseases and weight gain and as a result, low-fat versions of every and any food you can imagine were made- low-fat diets became all the rage. Suddenly on shelves, there were more varieties of skimmed milk, low-fat yogurts, light mayonnaise, and even fat-free cheese.
However, these low-fat diets and in some cases the complete elimination of fat may be taking their toll on many people.
So, what are the functions of fat?
Fat plays an important role in maintaining our health:
- Prevents cardiovascular diseases: dyslipidemia, hypertension, metabolic syndromes…
- It’s the most important source of energy: therefore, if you don’t consume enough fat, you may suffer from fatigue and tiredness on a regular basis.
- Helps athletic performance: after just twenty minutes of exercise, the body burns calories from fat to keep it going. In addition, fats speed up our metabolism.
- Protects you from the cold: Fats fill something called an adipocyte which are specialized cells for fat storage and they help insulate the body to keep it warm.
- Helps synthesize essential nutrients: such as fatty acids or fat-soluble vitamins A, K, D, and E. When we don’t take in enough fat, these nutrients don’t get absorbed into the body.
- Good for brain health: the brain is basically fed by fat, so a lack of fat could have serious repercussions on the synthesis of essential neurotransmitters, leading to cognitive deficiencies.
- Prevents mental illness: mood imbalance, depression, cognitive and behavioral issues…
- Protects internal organs: Fat forms part of all cell membranes in the body. Fat in our tissue acts as a protective cushion for our internal organs.
- Improves Digestion: some fats contain nutrients that influence the balance of the intestinal microbiota, that is, they are the food for the good bacteria. And we already know that if the microbiota is out of balance, the immune system is weakened and we will be more vulnerable to disease.
- Helps skin to glow: fats are how the body absorbs vitamins E and K, these vitamins moisturize and protect the skin. Did you know that a lack of omega-3 fatty acids can cause inflammation acne, rosacea, and dermatitis?!
- Balances hormones: This is especially evident in women. Women’s periods can stop when they don’t consume enough fat. This is because, without the minimum required amount of body fat, the body cannot produce enough of the hormones necessary for this function.
- Helps you feel saciated: if you eat fatty foods for breakfast (I always opt for eggs), you will eat less, feel fuller and make it to the next mealtime without snacking constantly.
- Prevents constipation: fats are an essential lubricant of sorts for the intestines which helps keep things flowing.
The problem wasn’t fat, it is carbohydrates
Nutrition, like anything else is evolving and it seems that nowadays all studies point to carbohydrates (mostly composed of starch and sugars) as being the most harmful to us. Foods like; refined flours, industrial pastries, white breads, pasta and rice. These foods have a high glycemic index, which causes spikes in glucose levels in the blood, causing energy levels to sharply decline shortly after eating and causes us to feel hungrier sooner.
Low-Fat Foods: Less Fat But More Sugar
For many people,a low-fat label means healthier, but this is not usually the case. These products have been adulterated, i.e. the fat is removed (which we have just seen isn’t bad for us), lowering the calorie content but sugar or sweeteners are added.
It’s actually better to eat a cheese’s natural fat– which is good fat and satiating… than to eat a fat-free cheese that is loaded with sugar, coloring and refined vegetable oils, starches, additives and even extra salt….
The same can be said for yogurts,chocolates and so on.Always read the labels!You might be surprised.
In short, we need healthy, good fat, it is essential to our health. Not sure which fats are healthy? Well, in our next posts we dive deeper into this topic so be sure to check them out. In the meantime here are some healthy fat options you can start with: cocoa, cheese, salmon, flax seeds,and avocado…