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Should We Really Avoid Fat at All Costs?




A common nutrition myth is that dietary fats (or lipids) are unhealthy and should be avoided whenever possible. In fact, fats are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet.


It is true that some fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats, can be harmful to your health if consumed in excess. However, other types of fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, are considered beneficial to health.


Fats are essential for the proper functioning of the body.


Some of their functions

  • Provide energy

  • Form cell membranes

  • Act as precursors to cellular messengers

  • Facilitate the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins  A, D, E, and K.

  • Regulate the immune response

  • Contribute to brain growth and development

  • Play an important role in healthy skin, hair and nails

  • Play an important role in regulating metabolism and appetite (2).

  • These functions highlight the importance of lipids in the diet and in the maintenance of good health.


It is important to consume fat in moderation and to choose healthy sources of fat, such as nuts, seeds, avocados, oily fish and vegetable oils. Avoid processed foods high in saturated and trans fats, such as fried foods, fatty meats, and industrial baked goods.


Karine Drouin, Registered Dietitian, RD

 

References

1- Vanga, S. K., & Raghavan, V. (2018). How well do plant based alternatives fare nutritionally compared to cow's milk?. Journal of food science and technology, 55(1), 10–20. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-017-2915-y


2- Calder PC. Functional roles of fatty acids and their effects on human health. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2015 Jan;39(1 Suppl):18S-32S. doi: 10.1177/0148607115595980. PMID: 26178725.


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