Appreciating Fat: Why We Require Fat In Our Diet

The word fat carries negative connotations for many of us, yet our body cannot function properly without fat.

It is important to know that stored body fat causing unwanted bulges beneath our clothing is caused primarily by ingesting too many sugary and starchy carbohydrate foods, not dietary fat.

Eating too much starch is what disrupts the working balance between insulin, a fat storage hormone, and its counterpart glucagon that sends stored glucose (sugar) back into the bloodstream as fuel.

Five Good Reasons There Is Fat in Food

Apparently nature, in her wisdom, added fats to certain foods for the good reason that fat plays an essential role in our digestion and overall health.

  1. Some of the vitamins our body needs to function are fat-soluble, meaning our body can only absorb these vitamins when fat is available to digest them. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, and without adequate dietary fat these vitamins go in one end of us, and out the other. So, it makes sense that there is fat in milk since we need the fat to utilize milk’s vitamin D.
  2. Every cell in the body, without exception, uses fat to structure its cell membrane. Not only does a healthy cell membrane give cells their shape, it is vital for the passage of nutrients into and out of the cell.
  3. Like a piece of dense hardwood on a campfire, fats are an excellent slow, smooth burning energy source. Fats also slow the absorption of digested food which moderates energy use, and fats set off our satiation alert—signaling us when we are full. If the satiation alert is not triggered by fats, no amount of calories consumed will allow a person to feel satisfied.
  4. Our body needs fat to make use of the protein we eat. Maybe this is why foods such as egg yolk and meat contain fat—so the protein we get from them can be digested and utilized.
  5. Sometimes tissue inflammation is a healthy healing response, and other times inflammation is damaging and needs to be quelled. Fats are involved in the body’s regulation of inflammation.

The fats our body cannot use are industrially processed oils or rancid fats which can harm our tissues, cause inflammation, and stretch our waistlines. What our body relies on for energy and well-being is natural, unprocessed fat from quality sources.

Source: Eat Naked Now
Photo credit: Katherine Lim / flickr creative commons

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