Consuming too much fat in your diet may lead to heart disease and other chronic conditions. However, too little fat in your diet may leave you feeling run-down, create vitamin deficiencies and cause developmental issues in young children. The American Heart Association encourages you to choose unsaturated fats while maintaining a diet low in saturated fat for dietary health.
Too little fat in your diet may produce unwanted health consequences, such as energy loss and certain vitamin deficiencies due to lack of absorption. Your body uses fat as fuel; too little fat in your diet will leave you feeling run-down. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble vitamins that are stored in the liver and fatty tissues.
Too little fat may hinder your body’s ability to absorb these vitamins, and therefore your body may eliminate them as waste. These fat-soluble vitamins are imperative for resisting infections, bone and tooth development, absorbing calcium, preventing cell damage and clotting blood.
According to Kid’s Health from Nemours, a sufficient amount of fat is vital for the growth of the brain and nervous system in children.
Healthy Dietary Fats
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are healthy unsaturated fats that relieve inflammation, steady heart rhythms and provide many other health benefits. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, most people eat too little unsaturated fats, which decrease bad LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends replacing saturated and trans fats with heart-healthy fats to help lower your blood cholesterol level.
Monounsaturated fats are found in avocados almonds, hazelnuts and pecans. Pumpkin and sesame seeds also have a high concentration of monounsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fats are found in oils such as sunflower, corn, soybean and flaxseed. Some foods containing polyunsaturated fats include walnuts, flax seeds and fish.
Unhealthy Dietary Fats
The Harvard School of Public Health recommends eating as little saturated fat as possible. Your body creates all the saturated fat it requires; therefore, if you consume too much saturated fat, you may develop cardiovascular disease.
Saturated fats are found in meat, some seafood, poultry skin, whole milk, cheese, cream and ice cream. Some oils, such as coconut, palm and palm kernel, also contain saturated fats and raise the bad LDL cholesterol that may lead to disease.
Trans fats found in most fried fast foods develop by heating liquid vegetable oils with hydrogen gas. Trans fats are particularly bad for you because they raise the bad LDL cholesterol and actually lower the good HDL cholesterol.
Daily Dietary Requirement
According to the American Heart Association, your total fat intake should not exceed 25 to 35 percent of your total daily calories. Saturated fat should be limited to less than 7 percent and trans fats less than 1 percent of your total daily calories. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats should balance out your remaining fat calories each day.
Monitoring your calories may be difficult; choose unsaturated fats and avoid saturated fats whenever possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle.