What Is the Importance of Fats in the Human Body?
Fats are type of nutrient, and just like protein and carbohydrates they are an important part of the food we eat. They give us energy and enable us to produce heat to keep the body warm, and to protect your heart and brain health. Fats can also be stored in the body.
Fats are normally solid. When they are liquid they are called oils. Plants and animals contain both fats and oils. Animal fats include butter, which is made from milk, and lard. Margarine is made from animal and vegetable fats. Plant oils, such as linseed oil, are used to protect wood, some are used to make soap, and some, such as olive oil, are used as food.
Eating fats can lead to obesity and makes people overweight. For years we’ve been told that eating fat will add inches to your waistline, raise cholesterol, and cause a myriad of health problems.
Fat often gets a bad rap. We know that certain types of fat are actually good for you—and that they do a lot for your body, from cushioning your organs to controlling your temperature to absorbing fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). In fact, it turns out that not getting your fill of the good fat every day could actually lead to some scary health issues.
If you’re still not convinced that healthy fats should be a part of your daily grub, the following facts—all effects of eating too little fat—may inspire you to update your grocery cart. Here’s what might happen if you keep living the low-fat life:
1. You’ll put yourself at an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.
2. Your blood sugar may pay the price. When you decrease your intake of saturated fats and up your intake of monounsaturated fats, you may even be able to improve your sensitivity to insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas that regulates your blood sugar levels. When your body isn’t sensitive enough to insulin, it reacts by producing even more of it, which can lead to type 2 diabetes down the line.
3. You’ll feel really hungry all day long. Fat actually keeps you full for longer, since it’s harder than sugar for your body to break down. Fat also helps inhibit ghrelin, the hormone responsible for hunger.
4. Your energy levels will be all over the place. When your blood sugar spikes and then dips rapidly—which happens when you eat carbs, since they are full of sugars—you cycle through bursts of energy and subsequent crashes. When you eat a little fat, though, your blood sugar stays even for a much longer period of time and that stability will keep you going full steam ahead.
5. You may have trouble concentrating.
6. Your skin may feel dry and itchy. Although rare in healthy adults, there is such a thing as essential fatty acid deficiency (EFAD). Essential fatty acids may contribute to skin health, so one of the symptoms you might deal with if you don’t get enough is a dry, scaly rash. (Other symptoms include decreased immunity and poor wound healing.)