Fats have a bad reputation. They were initially considered to be the main culprit behind the rise of type-2 diabetes and obesity, before it was discovered that sugar is responsible for that. If you’re someone who’s dabbled in diets before then you know that for the longest time, fats were a no-no. It’s only in the past couple of years that the image of this essential macronutrient has swayed towards the positive.
To put it clearly, fats are an essential part of a balanced diet. Removing that food group from your daily intake can lead to several chronic disorders. Your body needs a certain amount of fat for it to function properly – most biological processes take place because of the energy derived from fat. In this article, TABIIB helps you understand why fats are so important, and what a lack of them can do to your body.
Why do we need to have fats in our diet?
Fats play an important role in many biological processes in our body. The few essentials that fat helps in are:
- Helping absorb vitamins
Vitamins A & K are fat soluble meaning they can only be synthesized in the body if consumed with fat. A lack of fat can also lead to a deficiency in these vitamins which can cause a lot of health conditions.
- Supports brain health
Omega-3 fatty acids help maintain the health of your brain and cell membranes. These fatty acids aren’t made in your body; you can only get them from your diet.
- Acts as an energy source
Each gram of fat you consume provides you with about 9 calories of energy. This energy is stored for all cellular processes as well as any physical activities that your body goes through.
What are the different types of fats?
Dietary fats are divided into 4 main categories, broadly. These are:
- Trans fats
Trans fats are the worst kind, admittedly. Hydrogenated oils, used to improve the shelf life and taste of certain foods, contain high amounts of trans fats. A lot of processed foods, baked goods, and margarine use trans fats. Consuming them in large quantities increases your risk of stroke, cancer, and diabetes.
- Saturated fats
Saturated fats are found mostly in animal products such as meat, eggs, and dairy products.
- Monounsaturated fats
Monounsaturated fats can help reduce the cholesterol in your blood which further lowers your risk of heart disease. These fats are found in plant based oils, nuts, and avocados.
- Polyunsaturated fats
Your body doesn’t naturally synthesize polyunsaturated fats – which is why it’s important to include them in your diet. Fish, oysters, and walnuts are a good source of polyunsaturated fats.
4 signs that show you’re not eating enough fat
Healthy fats are essential for our bodies to build and maintain biological processes, absorb and transport vitamins, and repair cell membranes. A lack of these fats can result in these processes being impaired. Let’s take a look at 4 major signs that show you’re not getting enough fat in your diet.
- Vitamin Deficiencies
Vitamins are fat soluble; the body needs fats to fully synthesize them. Not getting enough of these essential nutrients can lead to serious health conditions including night blindness, dryness of hair and skin, easy bruising, and muscle pain.
Fat is a critical component of cell structure. It also helps your skin maintain its moisture barrier. Research shows that a lack of dietary fat can lead to skin inflammatory conditions such as dermatitis and skin rashes.
- Lowered Immune Response
If you feel like you’re getting sick frequently, then it could be a sign to switch up your diet to include more fats. Your body needs dietary fat for an energy source which is vital for stimulating the activity of immune cells. Healthy fats are also important for the growth of immune cells.
- Constant Fatigue
Your body is a machine – it needs fuel on all cylinders to function effectively. A lack of dietary fats can pose an obstacle to this functioning. Low intake of fat usually leads to low intake of calories, in general. The end result is feelings of sluggishness and fatigue.
A balanced diet is critical for optimal health. If you’re unsure on how to go about adding more fats to your diet, consult a professional for help. You can book an appointment with dietitians and nutritionists on TABIIB.