Many people feel that they need to avoid fat in order to lose weight. This is simply not the case. People need fat in their diets. Fats have many useful, healthy functions in the human body. For example:
- Nervous tissue as well as other tissues rely on fat
- Fat is the main energy source for all operations of the body
- Body temperature is regulated by fat
- Fat aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K
The reason most people gain weight from fat is because they take in more fat than is needed to meet the needs of the body and its functions. Also, the type of fat that is consumed is important. There are two types of fat.
Saturated Fat: This is found in animal products. This type of fat stays solid at room temperature. (think of the grease that hardens in a frying pan) The most common sources of saturated fat are meat, cheese, butter, and palm and coconut oils. You generally want to limit your intake of this type of fat.
Unsaturated Fat: This helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. This fat is in liquid form at room temperature. Common sources of this type of fat are olive oil, safflower oil, and canola oil. This is sometimes referred to as “the good fat”.
So while it is important to maintain a low fat diet, it is also important not to completely eliminate fat from your diet. Unsaturated fat can help lower your cholesterol, and some fat is needed to maintain healthy bodily functions.