How essential are fats really?
Fats are one of the three food groups, and most often the most hated component of all foods, literally ever. When people hear “fat” it makes them question their food choices, but why?
We should not be afraid of fats, as long as they are not the saturated kind. Saturated fats are typically found in processed foods, which usually aren’t that great for the body anyway, so it’s important to keep your intake of those at a moderate level. This is not to say avoid those at all costs, because cutting out certain comfort foods altogether promotes a really unhealthy relationship with food, which can lead to more serious issues; those include but are not limited to, eating disorders, deficiencies, and various triggers for mental health issues.
However, you must know there are also healthy fats, in foods like fish, avocados, olive oil, nuts, etc. These will be your primary sources of vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as being LITERALLY essential for proper nutrient absorption, hormonal balances, fatty acids which help fight inflammations and infections within the body- Omega 3 particularly supports an increase in sports/muscle recovery and oxygen absorption.
So, do fats make you fat? Yes and no. Fats in moderation are ESSENTIAL for the body to function properly. For women about 18-20% of our body should be made up of adipose tissue (fat) in order for our hormonal systems to function properly. For men it’s around 14% because they’re genetically gifted (eyeroll) but also because their bodies aren’t genetically geared to growing children, yikes.
However, fat is 9 calories per gram, and because it is so calorically dense, it would be unwise to consume large amounts of it if we were planning on maintaining our current weight, or losing it. So too much fat in your food can absolutely make you gain weight, which is why we can’t eat burgers and fries everyday, even though we all wish we could.
It isn’t very hard to lose fat- because of how calorically dense fat is, doing high intensity work such as running, against popular belief, will not burn fat as effectively as one might think. This is because of the 3 types of metabolic systems triggered (post coming soon)- all you need to know for now, is that doing low intensity work- such as walking, swimming, light weightlifting or bodyweight exercises, are the preferred methods for fat loss.