Ahhh, fat. My favorite nutrient to talk about (mostly because there are so many misconceptions). Let me be clear about something: EATING FAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT. Nope, that’s not how it works. In fact, as a nation, the less fat we’ve consumed the more weight has been gained. Ironic, huh? Not really, if you understand how fat works.
Functions of dietary fat:
- Makes food taste good (and don't even try to argue with me on this because it's true)
- Aids in absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K (they pass through you if you don't eat fat with them)
- Backup source of fuel
- Helps regulate blood sugar
- Provides satiety from food and controls hunger
- Certain fatty acids are essential from the diet as they cannot be sythesized by the body
- Enhances health of hair, skin and nails
Functions of body fat (adipose tissue):
- Protects vital organs
- Hormone secretion (including estrogen that protects your bones and leptin which helps control appetite and weight)
- Skin elasticity and softness
- Helps regulate body temperature by providing insulation
- Energy storage for maintaining blood sugar
Adipose tissue is only stored when there is an energy (i.e. calorie) surplus. Those calories could have come from any nutrient, not just fat. A person could store adipose tissue from eating apples if they ate enough apples to exceed their body's energy needs. On the flip side, a person could lose weight eating only butter if they ate less calories from it than what their body needs.
The fear of fat in food is unwarranted. Give yourself permission to eat fat. You'll be glad you did.