Eating fat makes you fat, right? Makes sense since dietary fat contains more calories per gram (9 calories/gram) than either carbohydrates or protein (4 calories/gram). And the more calories you eat, the more weight you gain. Not exactly. Eating calories from any source – fat, carbohydrate or protein – only leads to weight gain when more calories are consumed than burned off.
Fat is an essential nutrient that provides and stores energy (it’s your body’s long-acting fuel source for low-intensity exercise). Dietary fat provides essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. It also insulates and contours the body and surrounds and protects your kidneys, heart, and liver. Too little fat in your diet can lead to hair loss, tiredness, decreased concentration and slow-healing wounds.
Because your body needs fat, low-fat or fat-free foods aren’t always best. Especially since sugar or salt is often added to these foods to make up for the missing creamy taste that fat provides.
Rather than run from fat, focus on finding the “right” fats on nutritional labels.
Monounsaturated Fat: GOOD
Polyunsaturated Fat (includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids): GOOD
Saturated Fat: OKAY IN MODERATION
Trans Fat: WORST – Avoid entirely
Reaching for the right fats may actually help you lose the wrong fat (the extra pounds around your waist).