Do You Eat Enough Fat?
Low-fat foods can kill you. Why? Because eating too much low-fat food can deprive you of vital nutrients necessary for good health. In our low-fat obsessed culture we are encouraged to avoid as much fat as possible. Grocery store shelves are filled with low-fat and non-fat foods of every make and description. Even restaurants offer low-fat and reduced-fat meals. As a consequence, many of us donít eat enough fat. This can lead to nutrient imbalances and ill health.
Itís a mistake to think of fat as a poison. On the contrary, it is a necessary nutrient. Fat is an essential nutrient just as much as protein, vitamin C, or calcium. We need fat in our diet to maintain proper health.
Fat is necessary for the digestion and absorption of many essential nutrients. For example, it is through the fatty portion of foods that we get our fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as other important nutrients such as beta-carotene. These nutrients cannot be absorbed without adequate fat in the diet. If you donít eat enough fat, the vitamins pass right though the digestive tract without doing you a bit of good. For this reason, low-fat diets are dangerous.
Carotenoids are fat-soluble nutrients found in fruits and vegetables. The best known is beta-carotene. Many studies have shown that they help protect us from degenerative conditions such as heart disease and cancer. Vegetables like broccoli and carrots are good sources of beta-carotene and other protective nutrients, but if you donít eat them with some type of fat you wonít get the full benefit of the vitamins they contain. When you eat salads and vegetables, always include a good source of fat such as nuts, avocados, cheese, eggs, or meat. Choose full-fat over low-fat salad dressings.
Another important nutrient that needs fat for proper absorption is calcium. How many people are deficient in calcium?... Lots. How many suffer with osteoporosis?... Lots. How many of these people eat low-fat foods?... Lots. You can eat and drink loads of non-fat milk and low-fat cheese and shovel down calcium supplements but still develop osteoporosis. Why? Because calcium needs fat to be absorbed. If you drink non-fat milk for the calcium, you are wasting your money. You need whole milk and full-fat cheese and other full fat foods in order to absorb the calcium. Likewise, many vegetables are good sources of calcium. But in order to take advantage of that calcium, you need to eat them with butter and cream or other foods that contain fat.
Will eating more fat make you gain weight? No. Eating fat doesnít make people fat. A recent study reported that people eating as much as 50 percent of their daily calories as fat lost more weight on a calorie restricted diet than those on a low-fat diet. You can enjoy eating natural fatty foods (not junk foods) without feeling guilty.