Fat is the Rodney Dangerfield of nutrients: It doesn’t get any respect. The next time you are in a store just notice the amount of products you see with the labels low-fat or no-fat. It is enough to make you think that you need to avoid it all together.
The truth is that fat is just as vital to your body as any other nutrient and so avoiding it is not only inadvisable, but is detrimental to your health as well. So to better understand the importance of fat, the following lists its 4 major functions.
Fat provides a ready energy source and in a well-nourished individual, it provides as much as 80% to 90% of your body’s energy requirements. This is also important in preventing muscle loss while losing weight. And because each gram of fat has 9 Calories, it supplies more than twice the energy of carbohydrates and proteins.
Protect Vital Organs and Thermal Insulation
Vital organs such as your heart, lungs, liver, brain and kidneys need fat to protect them against trauma. In addition to this protection, fat just below your skin enables you to tolerate exposure to the cold.
Transport Medium for Fat-Soluble Vitamins
In addition to the three major or macronutrients, your body also needs micronutrients or vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are essential to your health and the means by which they are carried and transported are by fat, which is why they are sometimes referred to as the fat-soluble vitamins. So if you reduce your vitamin intake too much, this could lead to vitamin deficiencies.
If you ever experienced hunger pangs soon after eating what you consider a large meal, it is probably because you didn’t have enough fat content. In addition to its nutritional elements, it also contributes to the satiety of the meal. In fact fats may take up to 3.5 hours to empty from your stomach, which may explain the initial success of some high-fat diets.
So the next time you hear someone start decrying the evils of fat, remind yourself that it plays a very important role in maintaining your health. And when you ensure that it is a part of your diet, those hunger pangs that you feel on low-fat or no-fat diets will be a thing of the past.