There’s no denying that some fats are bad for your health: Trans-fats and vegetable oils increase the risk of chronic diseases. Excess fat can cause weight gain and heart conditions.
But the reality is, many health-conscious people don’t eat enough fat. The other day my client showed me her diet plan, which consisted of veggies, complex carbs and lean protein. The problem was it left no room for healthy fats. I told her fats are an essential nutrient and then suggested she incorporate more nuts, olive oil, avocado and other healthy fats.
Good fats are vital for maintaining optimal health; not eating enough of them can cause a number of problems. Here are 6 health dangers associated with a low-fat diet.
Low fat intake can cause infertility and hormonal imbalances in women. Research shows that diets with low-fat dairy increase the risk of infertility while diets with high-fat dairy may lower the risk.
Other studies show that low-fat diets can affect the regularity of menstrual cycles. Men aren’t safe either. This study found that low-fat diets lower testosterone levels.
Consume adequate amounts of fats to lower risk of infertility and boost your sex drive.
2. Higher risk of depression
Did you know that 60 percent of your brain is made of fat? And that the fat layers in your brain affect your mood?
Low-fat diets reduce fat levels in the brain and consequently increase risk of depression. Additionally, omega 3 deficiency has been linked to ADHD, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
According to this study, high-fat diets lower risk of depression. But note that trans-fats increase the risk of depression.
3. Poor heart health
This is a huge surprise to many. For years, it was believed that high fat intake increased risk of heart disease and stroke. But recent studies have proven that’s not true. Researchshows that people who follow the Mediterranean diet (which advocates for high fat intake) have lower risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Don’t be scared of saturated fats either. Many studies show that there’s no link between saturated fats and heart disease.
4. Low absorption of nutrients
Fats improve absorption of nutrients. This was proven in a study where participants who ate salads without oil dressings absorbed fewer nutrients compared to those who ate salads with oil dressings.
Increasing fat intake will allow your body to absorb more fat soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, E and K.
5. Increased hunger
Low-fat diets increase hunger in two ways. One, low fat intake throws ghrelin (hunger hormone) and insulin out of whack which makes it harder to control hunger and appetite. Second, low-fat and fat-free foods have low satiety, which means they won’t keep you full for long.
6. Weight gain
A low fat diet isn’t the best for weight loss. This study found that people on low-fat diets have low total energy expenditure (TEE). And as a result, they burn low amounts of calories.
The fact that low-fat diets increase hunger won’t help either. As you may know, it’s virtually impossible to lose weight and keep it off if you’re hungry all the time.