In the last couple of days, we’ve talked about the benefits of protein - it keeps you fuller for longer and helps you to avoid blood sugar spikes and crashes. But protein is not the only macronutrient that can help you stay full. Fats, too, can help you feel more full and for longer. Even more importantly, fats are a source of some essential acids that your body cannot produce on its own. Your body needs those for blood clotting, brain development, and many other things. There are also a few vitamins that cannot be absorbed if there is not fat in the body, such as vitamins A, D, E and K. No matter the quantity of these vitamins you consume, if there is no fat to help absorb them, your body will still lack the vitamins it needs. For exercise, fats also give your body the energy it needs to work properly. As you can see, if we do not ingest fat in our diet, the body will be missing something very important to it’s overall functioning.
A lot of times, people fear eating fats because they think that if they eat them, they will gain fat. That’s not actually the case. Your body gains fat by any excess calories consumed in your diet. Meaning, that if you eat more calories than you burn, those extra calories are stored in your body as fat. Simply avoiding fats altogether is not going to help you lose fat or avoid gaining more fat.
We do, however, want to be careful of the types of fats that we eat. We used to think that all saturated fats should be avoided at all costs; we have since discovered that it is not necessary in most cases. But we do want to strive to have more unsaturated than saturated fat in our diets. Trans fat is one that, whenever possible, we must avoid as they offer no positive benefit to the body and could be potentially harmful. Too much saturated fat or trans fat in the diet can raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol, which, in turn, can cause blockages in the arteries and other medical conditions. Fortunately, exercise increases your HDL (good) cholesterol which has a positive effect on the body. Just because we exercise, though, doesn’t mean we get a free pass on the bad stuff.
We will talk more tomorrow about the types and sources of fat in our diets, but today, look at your food logs and notice where fat is present in your diet. Also, notice if you tend to get more hungry more quickly when you have had less fat in that meal or snack. The fats can help you feel full for longer which is great, but be careful as fats are higher in calories than the other macronutrients. See you all tomorrow!