Look at the aisles of low-fat products in any grocery store, and it might be hard to believe that fat can actually be good for you. Fats can be just as vital to your health as your daily intake of veggies and other important nutrients, giving your body energy to function, aiding brain development, helping absorb vitamins, and more.
Do you need to add fat to your diet? Read on to find out:
Add fat if: you’re always hungry.
If you find your stomach growling for lunch shortly after finishing breakfast, you may need more fat in your diet. Dietary fat has been shown to provide satiety, as well as regulate the appetite, preventing overeating. Even small changes to your meals can make a big impact—switch out your low-fat yogurt and milk for full-fat options, add avocado to your daily snack, or use a full-fat dressing like blue cheese on your lunch salad.
Add fat if: you’re often cold.
Before you start running a portable heater in the middle of June, try eating more fat. Our body’s fat cells are responsible for generating heat and keeping us warm, and “people with low body fat or who don’t get enough fat in their diets often complain of being cold,” according to registered dietician Felicia Stoler, MS.
Add fat if: you take vitamin supplements…or care about your bone, eye and heart health.
Whether you take supplements or get your daily intake from the foods you eat, vitamins like A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning that they’re absorbed with dietary fat. Not enough fat in your diet and you might also be vitamin-deficient. Not ready for a dinner of bacon with a side of bacon? Try snacking on almonds, which are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Add fat if: you’re feeling mentally sluggish.
If you’re having trouble concentrating or are feeling mentally tired throughout the day, consider salmon for lunch. Research has found that the omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like some popular fish, certain oils, and spinach are crucial for mental acuity and cognitive function. They’ve even been shown to possibly protect against Alzheimer’s and depression.
Add fat if: you have dry skin.
If your skin is dry, flaky, or itchy, your diet may be to blame. Essential fatty acid deficiency can lead to dermatitis–and getting enough omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids has been shown to reduce sun sensitivity and diminish acne-related inflammation. EFA supplementation has also been shown to help with psoriasis treatment.
Add fat if: you have diabetes.
It may sound counter-intuitive, a high-fat, low-carb diet can actually have a more positive effect on blood sugar levels than low-fat diets, according to recent research. Experts recommend healthy fat sources like lean meats, olive oil, and whole nuts, as well as avoiding white flour, white rice, and sugar.