Most people have heard by now that fats are an important part of a balanced diet. But I still run into a lot of clients in my practice who have some residual fears about these essential nutrients. I think they have an unfortunate name--it tends to lead people into an incorrect conclusion: eating them will make you overweight. Wrong! In fact, the opposite may be true.
Research has shown that restricting fatty acid intake leads to higher calorie consumption overall--and this can lead to weight gain. Eating adequate amounts actually allows the body to release it from tissue storage. But the less you take in, the more your body will work to store it. The body is very smart--it wants to maintain homeostasis, a constant balance, and it will thwart your efforts if they run counter to its survival.
People get hung up on whether they are the good kind or the bad kind. There are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, and even saturated! But regardless of type, they all have what your body needs. These nutrients are found in the cell walls of every cell of your body. They are the ingredients that make up hormones. They make your hair and skin soft. Quite frankly, they should be your new best friend.
One of the reasons people shy away from them is that they tend to increase the caloric content of foods. The reason this is not a concern to me is this: they will keep you satisfied longer. If it takes you longer to eat your next meal, and you are not as hungry for it--then the calories all balance out.
As I have said before, all nutrients are part of eating well. Avoiding any one nutrient throws the body off-balance. Your body will try to get its needs met, and this may result in you binging on foods you feel are 'healthier'. But it doesn't matter if they are lower calorie foods if you are binging on them. Give your body what it needs--work with your body instead of against it (it will win).
FUNCTIONS OF FATS:
* Chief storage form of energy
* Major source of energy
* Source of fat-soluble vitamins
* Aides in absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
* Acts as a cushion for the vital organs
* Helps maintain body temperature
* Source of essential fatty acids (for hormone production)
* Adds flavor and taste to foods
* Slows digestion of food--feel full longer
Contact us with any questions about eating and mental health issues. You or someone you know may be in need of outpatient eating disorder treatment.
Jennifer Pereira LPC, RD - Counselor & Dietitian
1. Do you worry that you have lost control over how much you eat?
2. Do you make yourself sick (or use laxatives/exercise) if you feel uncomfortably full?
3. Do you currently suffer with or suffered in the past with eating issues?
4. Do you ever eat in secret?
5. Does your weight affect how you feel about yourself?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, or if you are not satisfied with your current eating patterns, contact us for more information.