By: Elise Gordon M.S., R.D/L.D.
For some reason, over the years, the word ‘FAT’ has become such a negative term in our society and been so abused. Unfortunately, it may be because many are misinformed or are holding onto fat myths? It seems that many believe that if they eat food with fat in it, it could potentially make them fat? And since saturated and trans fat are referred to as “unhealthy fats”, many think that just by eliminating ALL fat from their diets, then they can in fact be healthy. THIS IS NOT THE CASE!
Is FAT necessary for life? The short answer is YES. Research has found that at least 15% of ones calories should come from fat, with 25% being a goal recommendation.
What does Fat do for us?
- Excellent Energy Source, very calorie dense
- Proper cellular function of the body
- Provides insulation, therefore keeping us warm
- Provides taste, aroma and texture to foods, therefore making them yummy
- Used to make hormones that regulate blood pressure, heart rate, blood clotting and the central nervous system
- It carries our fat soluble Vitamins A, D, E, K, which we could not absorb otherwise
- Maintains hair, nail and skin health
- It provides Essential Fatty Acids (omega-3 and omega-6) that can only be obtained through food
- Provides protection from injury, i.e. internal organs, bones
- Helps to regulate appetite, provides satiety and a sense of fullness
It seems difficult for many to think of all the positive things that fat can do for us. There are also many fat myths that we have heard over the years like:
- Eating fats make you fat
- Fats in any amount are unhealthy and “bad” for you
- All fats are bad
- Eliminating fat can help you lose weight
Let’s dispel a few of these myths above:
- Eating more CALORIES than you need, can make you gain weight
- There are many benefits to eating fat, especially unsaturated fats and essential fats, which can only come from food
- Like any other nutrient, getting MORE fat than you need can become a problem over time
- Since fat is a concentrated source of calories, eliminating them from your diet usually means you are eliminating a lot of CALORIES, which is the reason for weight loss