April 02, 2022
Remember when eating nearly anything with fat in it was considered simply awful for your health? Low fat and no fat food products were all the rage and the idea that you should eat fat daily was heresy!
Today, the pendulum seems to have swung a little too far in the other direction, with some people adopting “keto” and Paleo diets with huge amounts of fat, much of it saturated.
But even if you have abandoned the no fat rule and you don’t follow a Paleo or keto diet, you still may not be getting enough fat in your diet. Or, you may be getting dietary fat, but just not the right kind.
First of all, dietary fats are super important to your body’s functioning. Among other uses, fat stores energy, insulates and protects your vital organs, functions as a carrier of vitamins and also helps with the absorption of Vitamins A, D and E. Fat is also needed to build cell membranes and is essential in blood clotting.
But not all fats are created equal. There are the “bad” fats, which include the industrial made trans fats. These trans fats have no place in a healthy diet and are banned in the U.S. On the other end of the spectrum are the “good” fats which are the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in food such as avocados, cold water seafood such as salmon, and olive oil. The saturated fats from foods such as red meat, coconut oil, and whole milk dairy fall in the middle. The majority of your dietary fat should come from the “good” fats group, and you should limit your consumption of saturated fats.
So how can you tell if you are not getting enough fat in your diet? Here are five signs that can alert you to a problem:
1 - Dry Skin
Dry skin can definitely be a sign of low dietary fat intake. One of the reasons for this is that your absorption of Vitamins A and D, essential for healthy skin, may be decreased.
2 - Frequent Fatigue
Fat is a great source of energy and if you are not getting enough fat, the chances are good that your overall calorie intake may not be adequate. This is especially true if you are following a strictly plant based or vegan diet, as some people completely shun oils of any kind.
3- Brain Fog
Your brain needs fat, as after all the brain itself is composed of nearly 60 percent fat. A source of good fat is essential for the health of brain cells, both for cell membranes and the myelin sheath that surrounds the nerves. The best sources of fat for the brain come from fatty fish such as salmon, anchovies and mackerel, as well as eggs and organ meats. Eating a diet high in healthy fats can help to lower your risk of cognitive impairment.
4 - Aching Joints
If your dietary fat is too low, this can result in a loss of joint flexibility as well as joint inflammation. The omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts, flax seed, and salmon are particularly good for joint health.
5 - Constant Hunger
Feel like you can never get full after you eat? That’s because your body burns protein and carbs very fast, so if your dietary intake of fat is low, that may be the reason. Fat will slow down your digestion and also is a great source of calories.
If you are experiencing one or more of these signs, take a look at the amount of fat you are consuming in your diet. Getting a balance of healthy fats, carbs and protein is key to feeling and looking your best!