MYTH: If a low-fat diet is good, a no-fat diet is even better.
FACT: While most Americans consume way too much fat, we actually need a certain amount of fat in our diet for good health. Fat is an essential part of every cell in our bodies. Certain fats contain fatty acids such as omega-3 and 6 which are necessary for brain and heart health. Additionally, fats must be present in our digestive tract to help the body absorb and utilize vitamins A, D, E and K, and keep us from becoming malnourished!
Fats are an important energy source for the body. They also provide padding under the skin for warmth, protection for internal organs and bones, and coat nerve fibers so nerve impulses can be transmitted. Fat also makes food more enjoyable and stay in our stomachs longer, helping to stave off hunger and cravings.
Insufficient fat in your diet can cause hair loss, depression, bruising, lack of energy, dry, flaky skin, weak muscles and bones, hormonal imbalances, and a weakened immune system, to name a few.
Fat should make up between 20-35% of your daily calories (depending on age, height, gender and activity level), the majority of which should be unsaturated fats. Include some healthy fats in every meal, such as olive oil, avocado, low-fat dairy, nuts, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, herring), peanut butter and soy products.