A healthy and balanced diet should provide the body with all the necessary nutrients.
The food industry has been showing for decades that some food ingredients, especially carbohydrates and fats are harmful. Our body also needs them to be healthy and fully functional. If we remove fats from our menu, this leads to symptoms of deficiency.
Why does our body need fat?
Fat is essential for various health processes. Some examples…
• Our brain and eyes need fat. In particular, omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are involved in maintaining the health of our brain, retina and central nervous system. These fatty acids are essential and therefore our body needs them but cannot produce them. So we have to consume them with food.
• Fat gives us energy. Each gram of fat from food provides our body with nine calories of energy, while each gram of carbohydrate or protein provides only four calories.
• The body can better absorb some fatty vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E and K, for example, are fat-soluble - our bodies can properly absorb and process them only with fat.
• Our body needs fat to produce hormones. Fatty foods are needed for the production of sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen, for example.
• Fat plays an important role in wound healing. The body needs essential fatty acids to clot the blood and heal wounds.
Do you eat enough fat? These 5 signs warn of their absence
Very dry skin plus dermatitis
Because fat is important for our skin cells and contributes to the natural moisture barrier, too little fat can dry out and irritate the skin too much. In the worst case, according to research, it can also lead to dermatitis, an inflammatory skin disorder with redness and itching.
Like skin, our hair needs fat from food. Prostaglandin hormones are fatty compounds that play an important role in hair growth. Therefore, lack of fat can lead to hair loss on the head and also on the eyebrow, research has shown.
Fat is essential for the proper absorption of certain vitamins. These are mainly fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. If we eat too little fat, it can lead to a deficiency of these substances, which can be manifested by frequent bruising or bruising of the blood.
Slow wound healing
In order for our body’s inflammatory response to function properly, it needs fat. That is, it is the basis for important molecules to control this reaction. Studies have confirmed that too little fat in the diet can inhibit the inflammatory response and prevent blood clotting. This in turn leads to slower wound healing.
Weak immune system
Do you often have a cold? A weakened immune system can also be associated with insufficient fat intake from food. The body produces molecules from fat that stimulate our immune cells. Omega-3 fatty acids alpha-linolenic acid and omega-6 fatty acids, linoleic acid play an important role here. If they are missing, it weakens our immune system.
What is the daily requirement for fat through food?
The dietitian's recommendation is that we should get about 30 percent of our daily energy intake from fats. A woman about 30 years old who does not work physically, but works at the table, needs energy about 1800 calories. Of this, about 58 grams should be fat - which corresponds to about three tablespoons of oil, one tablespoon of butter or margarine, two slices of cheese and one egg. For 2000 calories, we would need about 66 grams of fat.
But, of course, there are big differences in fats. For example, hydrogenated trans fats, which are found mainly in ready-to-eat and similar foods, are best avoided. And saturated fatty acids, which are found mostly in animal products such as eggs, milk or meat, should also be consumed in moderation. Respectively, they increase cholesterol levels, such as "good" HDL cholesterol and "bad" LDL cholesterol.
Most of your daily fat needs would be best met by the healthiest unsaturated fatty acids: olive oil, avocado, nuts, or fatty fish such as mackerel.