With products on supermarket shelves proudly sporting the labels “fat-free,” “low-fat,” and “reduced-fat,” it’s natural for people to hesitate before consuming fats. However, the fact remains that consuming unsaturated (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) fats along with omega 3 fatty acids is a vital part of a healthy diet.
In fact, not having enough fat can lead to a few health-related complications in our bodies, hence indicating that we need to up our fat intake.1 Here are few signs that you should pay attention to.
If you’ve been craving sugary food, even after you’ve just had a meal, your low-fat intake might be to blame. Research shows that high-fat intake prevents the release of insulin, hence stabilizing blood sugar levels. This, in turn, prevents cravings.2
Additionally, several studies have stated that a high-fat diet increases satiety and prevents overeating.3 Although the exact cause for this is unknown, some experts suggest that fat takes longer to digest than carbs do, hence making you feel full for longer.4 However, be sure to opt for high-fat protein and fiber sources like nuts and seafood to increase this benefit.
2. Hormonal Imbalances
The word “cholesterol” has a bad reputation, much like fats. However, it isn’t too bad for your body. It is, in fact, used to make vitamin D, hormones (including testosterone and estrogen), and fat-dissolving bile acids in the body.5
This is why experts believe that one possible explanation for hormonal imbalances could be a low-fat diet. Additionally, some studies say that consumption of low-fat foods could lead to ovulatory disorders and infertility in women, whereas an increase in fat might reduce it.6 Be sure to consult a professional in addition to increasing your intake of healthy fats.
3. Bad Skin
Skin problems like acne, dryness, and wrinkles could be attributed to not eating enough fats. This is because polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3 and omega 6), play a key role in normal skin function and appearance.
Studies also indicate that these fats control inflammatory responses of the skin and its barrier function, hence determining skin’s health. And, considering the fact that they can’t be synthesized in our body, it’s vital to have a diet rich in these fats. You could supplement with these fats after consulting a professional or increase your intake of seafood, nuts, and seeds.7
4. Low Cognition
Low-fat diets are linked to having an overall lack of mental energy to focus or remember things. Healthy fats like omega 3 fatty acids play a vital role in synaptic plasticity. This process determines the ability of synapses in the brain, a structure that oversees electrical signaling between neurons, to strengthen or weaken over time.8
Studies show that omega 3 fatty acids have a positive effect on several molecules in synapses that are related to learning and memory. This way they are believed to influence and control several brain processes. Hence, lack of adequate omega 3 fats can affect your cognition.9
5. Weight Gain
Often, people take up low-fat diets to lose weight. However, statistics show that despite a large number of people shifting to low-fat diets in the past 30 years in the U.S., obesity rates have skyrocketed.
Additionally, studies show that people who follow a diet that is moderately high in healthy fats either lost slightly more weight than the ones who didn’t eat too much fat. This could be due to the fact that diets low in fat tend to be high in carbohydrates, especially from rapidly digested sources, such as white bread and white rice, which lead to weight gain. Hence, if you’re trying to lose weight, be sure to eat fats.10
6. Depression And Anxiety
Studies show that low intake of omega 3 fatty acids could lead to low mood, depression, pessimism, and impulsivity. Additionally, it might lead to major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and substance abuse.11
A few other studies have shown that lack of adequate omega 3 fatty acids causes anxiety and restlessness. Hence, if you’ve been feeling low of late, consult a professional and increase your intake of seafood, nuts, and seeds.12
7. Low Stamina
Fats provide energy to the body so it works properly. Lack of adequate fats can, hence, make you feel tired and sluggish. However, fats are especially important if you work out regularly.
During exercise, your body uses calories from the carbohydrates that you’ve eaten. But, after 20 minutes, studies state that your body depends on calories from fat to keep you going. Hence, if you’re not having enough fat, you’re bound to feel tired after very little exercise.13
It is also believed that a low-fat diet affects digestive health and the body’s ability to regulate temperature. However, there isn’t enough evidence to back any of these claims as of yet. That said, the health effects that are listed above, do call for an increase in the intake of healthy dietary fat so as to lead a healthier lifestyle.
|↑1||Choosing Heart-Healthy Fats. Academy Of Dietetics And Nutrition.|
|↑2||Healthy fats help curb cravings for unhealthy carbs. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑3||Himaya, Abdou, Marc Fantino, Jean-Michel Antoine, Laurent Brondel, and Jeanine Louis-Sylvestre. “Satiety power of dietary fat: a new appraisal.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 65, no. 5 (1997): 1410-1418.|
|↑4||Can you please tell me the digestive timeline for protein, fat, and starch? University of California, Santa Barbara.|
|↑5||How it’s made: Cholesterol production in your body. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑6||Chavarro, J. E., J. W. Rich-Edwards, B. Rosner, and W. C. Willett. “A prospective study of dairy foods intake and anovulatory infertility.” Human Reproduction 22, no. 5 (2007): 1340-1347.|
|↑7||Essential Fatty Acids and Skin Health. Oregon State University.|
|↑8||Scientists learn how what you eat affects your brain — and those of your kids. University Of California, Los Angeles.|
|↑9||Boost your memory by eating right. Havard Health Publishing.|
|↑10||Food and Diet. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑11||You Are What You Eat: How Food Affects Your Mood. The Dartmouth Undergraduate University Of Science.|
|↑12||Fedorova, Irina, Anita R. Alvheim, Nahed Hussein, and Norman Salem Jr. “Deficit in prepulse inhibition in mice caused by dietary n-3 fatty acid deficiency.” Behavioral neuroscience 123, no. 6 (2009): 1218.|
|↑13||Dietary fats explained. The US National Library Of Medicine.|