Misconceptions about weight gain have been around for some time now, albeit, they keep changing. For example, many people have always believed that if one consumes fatty foods, he or she is left with no choice but to get fat. But, how true is this myth, and does it hold even today, especially when you consider the fact that lifestyle changes have become the order of the day in the past decade?
On the contrary, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many people still think that losing weight has everything to do with eating less fat and that dieting practices that help build body muscles entail intake of carbs in large quantities. You’ve got to think again, and it is because, in this post, I explain why fat in your diet can be the only thing you are missing in a nutritionally evaluated meal, and why you should start taking dietary fats.
But, first things first, making the right decision comes hot on the heels of understanding the basics, which include the following:
What are dietary fats?
Are all fats the same? Think about geese, butter or any other form in which they exist. Such an assertion has not only been a mental preoccupation for those who are keen on eliminating solid fats from their cooking and meals but also a misconception. The case with dietary fats is different and is justifiable.
According to dieticians and nutritionists, oils and fats that we get from nature (animals and plants) do not pose health risks as processed fats. It is further imperative that for one to make the right decisions regarding healthy meal intake which includes approved fats, he or she must understand the things that distinguish lipids, oils, and fats from each other, not to mention their nutritional value.
Do not fall for weasel words
The truth is; you must have come across words like ‘cholesterol free’ ‘zero fat’ and ‘fat-free’ countless times on product labels such as margarine cans and cooking oil containers. And you may have always thought the manufacturer is only trying to play you into a trap of making a purchase using weasel words. In fact, falling for such catchphrases would amount to foolhardy if you do not know about Trans fats. Let me explain in the next section.
Sources of dietary fats and what to avoid
Dietary fats do not mean you are free to consume any of such in large quantities. Rather, considering the best sources and quality therein matters a lot. Thus, those that are richly rewarding to the body are omega-3 fatty acids from fish, chia seeds, walnuts, and flaxseeds. Food sources rich in saturates such as dairy products and white mean are also good.
On the flipside, avoid fats that are partially hydrogenated such as margarine, omega-6 (for example, vegetable oils), and genetically modified oils, otherwise shortened as GMOs.
Reasons why you need fat in your diet
Thus far, let’s dive into the real issue. Why do you need fats in your diet? Here are the reasons:
- Source of Energy
Most people think energy giving foods are only carbohydrates and proteins. However, that is only but a half-truth. Fats are useful sources of energy, and in fact, provide almost double the amount you will get from carbs and proteins. It helps you burn more body fat hence a faster way of losing weight when compared to being on carbs diet.
- Source of insulation
It would be difficult to maintain optimal body temperature without enough fat deposits around organs such as the skin. But, apart from thermal balance, fat also helps cushion the body from shock due to movements that may be sudden.
- Source of hormones
It is also noteworthy that fat deposits such as adipose tissue enhance hormone production. Examples include estrogen, resistin, and leptin. Sex hormones trace their origin to fat in the body.
- Help maintain the structure of the cell membrane
The integrity and shape of the cell membrane would be compromised without fat to support it. It is another reason why you need this dietary component in the food that you take on a daily basis.
- Ideal for brain functioning
It is important for impulse transmission from the brain, via the nervous system to the rest of the body. Also, the structure of the brain would be hard to maintain without enough fat in the diet.
In summary, there are many other reasons why fat is a necessity for everyone on a proper diet. From fatty acids that assist in growth and development to optimizing nerve functions, it is time you mystified myths surrounding this element of a healthy diet.