For years we’ve been told by numerous experts that fat is bad for us. In fact, any food item which has the slightest association with fat is often avoided at all costs by the health conscious. We have seen a plethora of TV ads and magazine campaigns extolling the virtues of how we should all eradicate fat from our diets.

On the surface, this may seem like common sense, as fat has commonly been attributed to medical conditions such as heart disease. However, the apparent dangers of fat are not as clear cut as we have been led to believe. The continued focus on the adverse effects of fat often fails to point out that fat is actually essential to the human body.

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Fats Are Good for You

There are indeed fats that are actually good for us, but a differentiation has to be made between certain types of fat. We have all heard that unsaturated fats are good for us and these can be found in fish, nuts, avocados, and vegetable oils. Along with Omega-3 and 6 which are classified as “essential fatty acids,” some fats need to be included as part of our diets, as the body cannot manufacture them.

What may surprise you is that “saturated fats” can also be good for you. These will be found in foods such as red meat, butter and cheese. Saturated fats have a very important role in helping the body maintain the structure of its cells. This type of fat also helps the immune system, since it is crucial to the production of testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. The testosterone helps the promotion of muscle building, which in term helps the body’s metabolism. So it goes without saying that it is ultimately a benefit to our health.

Of course, this does not mean junk food addicts now have the green light to gorge at various fast food outlets without giving consideration to their diet. That would be a mistake, as there is a bad element of fat in these food products known as “trans fats,” which should always be avoided wherever possible.

Fat Can Help You Lose Weight

The most interesting fact to note is that fat can actually assist our bodies in losing weight. The reason for this is that fat has the effect of making you feel fuller for much longer, as it generally tends to stay present in the gut for an extended period. This is particularly the case with Omega-3 fatty acids. A research project by the University of Navarra in Spain found that the feeling of fullness from digesting moderate levels of fat allowed more people to stick to their diets compared to those on low fat diets.

Another clever thing that the body does is recognize the intake of fat. By having a steady flow of fat in your diet, you are effectively telling your body that there is no shortage of supply and therefore it is able to free some of the fat it is currently storing. Increasing your fat intake will encourage your body to burn off more of it and subsequently use it for energy.

Fats also assist the body in absorbing essential nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E and K. These are crucial in maintaining healthy bone and muscle function.

Another interesting fact is that saturated fats found in coconut oil surprisingly aid weight loss, as they act as indicators which help speed up metabolism. In fact many experts are now promoting the use of butter over margarine since the latter contains trans fatty acids — which increase insulin levels, leading to diabetes.

With all things considered, it would seem that we should eat fat to lose weight! But do you plan to eat more of the good fats we discussed in this article? Let us know in the comments below.

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About the AuthorDaniel Kendal is a recent graduate, writer, and marketer. While at university, he used the UK-based service Vouchercloud to save money on food.