Why You Need Fat In Your Diet
There are numerous myths surrounding fat in our diets.
One of the most problematic is that fat should be avoided if you want to lose — or even maintain — weight. Many popular diet programs are very low in fat, influenced by the myth that fat makes you fat.
This simply isn’t true. Sure, if you eat too much fat, and therefore, too many calories, then yes, you can gain weight — just like if you eat too much of any macronutrient. Fluctuations in weight are largely due to the total number of calories you consume. If you’re looking to lose or maintain weight, we recommend dialing down your overall calorie intake before worrying about your intake of protein, carbs, and fats.
Fat is more calorically-dense than carbs and protein.
Fat’s bad rap is due to the fact that it’s more calorically-dense than other macronutrients. One gram of fat contains nine calories, while one gram of carbohydrate or protein only contains four calories. Despite this, dietary fat that comes from natural, quality sources helps us way more than it hinders us.
Our bodies can’t function properly without fat.
Fat is an essential nutrient, meaning that we cannot live without it. It plays a number of vital roles in the body:
Helps us absorb fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K)
Essential for proper function of our nerves and brain
Is the building block for hormones
Is used to create bile acids that allow us to break down fat during digestion
Fat is part of every cell membrane (outer layer) in the body, which means it helps to transport nutrients across other cell membranes
Protects our organs
Is necessary for hair and skin health
Acts as a long serving energy source
Fat can actually help you lose weight and keep it off.
While some people may be afraid that increasing fat intake leads to weight gain, research has shown that eating more fat and lowering your carbohydrate intake can actually lead to weight loss. Not only can it help you lose weight, but it can also help you keep it off, even if you increase your total calorie intake. Keep in mind that in order for this to happen, you need to be eating a nutrient-dense diet and getting your fat from a variety of quality sources.
Fat keeps you fuller for longer.
Fat is one of the most satiating nutrients and can be used by the body as fuel, so it will help keep you feeling fuller, longer. This is especially helpful when you’re eating at a calorie deficit for weight loss. Eating more fat can help decrease your hunger levels, minimize cravings, and keep your energy stable throughout the day.
Make sure you’re getting at least 20% of your daily calories from fat.
You don’t necessarily need to go to any extremes when incorporating more healthy fats into your diet. You can certainly experiment with diets like the ketogenic diet, but if you’ve been eating low fat, it may help to start by simply adding quality fats to your meals and snacks. Our Complete Keto meal plan is a great way to ease into the keto diet, and the best part is it requires no cooking or meal-prepping.
We recommend at least 20% of your daily calories come from fat, but many people thrive around 30-35%. Your overall intake will depend on numerous factors, particularly your activity levels.