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Why Our Bodies Need Fats

Why do we need fat in our diet?

  • Fat provides needed energy.  It is difficult to eat the large amounts of food in a very low fat diet to get all the energy you need.
  • Fat is needed to prevent essential fatty acid deficiency.
  • Fat is needed so your body can absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, S, E, K, and prevent deficiencies of these vitamins.
  • Fat provides flavor and texture to help prevent food from being bland and dry.
  • Fat helps food to stay in the stomach longer, giving a greater sense of satisfaction and preventing hunger soon after meals.
  • Fat may help your body produce endorphins (natural substances in the brain that produce pleasurable feelings).
  • Diets too low in fat (less than 20 - 25%) may trigger cravings.

What does fat do for our body?

  • Provides back-up energy if blood sugar supplies run out (after 4-6 hours without food).
  • Provides insulation under the skin from the cold and the heat.
  • Protects organs and bones from shock and provides support for organs.
  • Fat surrounds and insulates nerve fibers to help transmit nerve impulses.
  • Fat is part of every cell membrane in the body.  It helps transport nutrients and metabolites across cell membranes.
  • Your body uses fat to make a variety of other building blocks needed for everything from hormones to immune function.

What happens when we don't have enough fat in our diet?

  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Hair loss
  • Low body weight
  • Cold intolerance
  • Bruising
  • Poor growth
  • Lower resistance to infection
  • Poor wound healing
  • Loss of menstruation