7 Reasons you actually need fat in your diet
Contrary to popular belief, dietary fat is very important for the health of our body. Fat phobia is running rampant in today's society, so we hope that the 7 fat benefits presented below will make you realize how important it truly is for our physiology.
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1. Slows down glucose absorption. Foods that are rich in carbohydrates are metabolized into glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream relatively fast. This causes the blood sugar level to spike rapidly. When you pair your meal with fat, especially the healthy kind such as omega 3 fatty acids, it will slow down the absorption rate of glucose. It will prevent the extreme fluctuations and keep your sugar levels normal.
2. Needed for protein digestion. The digestion of protein starts with a process known as denaturation through which the big, complex molecules breaks down into simpler structure that can be absorbed by your body easily. The protein molecules found in meat are very complex--secondary and tertiary structure--which makes them very difficult to digest. Pairing it with adequate fat will ensure that the protein is properly absorbed, and it will also prevent the exhaustive usage of fat soluble vitamins such as A and D.
3. Building blocks of hormones. These are the structural foundation of many of the most important hormones. They are responsible for the production of sex hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Women with too little body fat, fail to produce enough estrogen, which can cause irregular menstruation cycles and even fertility problems.
Also, too much estrogen can be a problem in a low fat diet. In a normal functioning human being, the excess estrogen gets excreted by adhering itself into the bile. But when adequate amount of bile is not released due to low fat consumption, the estrogen actually gets stored and recirculated into our body. This excess estrogen can cause PMS in women and "man boobs" or erectile dysfunction in men.
4. Regulates bile release. Bile is required for the emulsification of fat. But when you don't eat enough fat, the bile doesn't get released into our intestines, instead it remains stored in our gall bladder. Sitting unused for a long period of time can thicken this liquid making it more viscous. Then, when you do indulge in a high fat meal, the gall bladder won't be able to release the thickened bile, which will make the fat go through our intestines undigested, with the nutrients unabsorbed. Bile can also store toxins, which is why its regular release is necessary. Stored bile can build up our toxin level as well.
5. Gall bladder health compromised. Gall bladder congestion, that occurs due to the build-up of concentrated bile, can give rise to cholecystitis, gallstones (cholelithiasis) and other gallbladder problems. The gall stones, for example, can block the flow of bile, resulting in an excruciating pain that is very similar to a heart attack.
6. Healthy fats can fight off bad cholesterol. Take, for example, monounsaturated fat that you get from avocados, nuts and olive oil; they lower your LDL while maintaining the HDL in your body. Polyunsaturated fat, found in sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, are also good. They lower our total cholesterol level, as in both HDL and LDL.
7. Needed for detox. For the harmful toxins to be excreted, it needs to first get packaged into bile. But without fat, bile is not secreted, which causes the toxins to build up in our body. Toxin overload can be life threatening, especially considering the kind of poisonous substances we constantly ingest just by being out in the environment, or eating processed and modified food.
Image via Corbis
Did you know fat is good for you?