Is It Alright To Eliminate Fat from Your Diet?

08 July, 2020
With a weight loss plan, you might consider reducing your fat intake. However, completely removing fat from your diet is not recommended by various health institutions.

A common mistake when trying to lose weight is to eliminate all sources of fat from your diet. This belief is increasingly common and even considered acceptable by some strict regimens that focus on detoxifying your body.

The belief has always been that being overweight and obese come from including fat in your diet. Thus, in this article, we’re going to talk about the dreaded fats, their role in your body, and whether or not you should eliminate fat from your diet.

Keep reading to learn more!

Why are fats important?

Dairy products and oils.
Along with protein and carbohydrates, fats are part of the main macronutrients you need to include in your diet.

To start, you should know that fats are macronutrients that provide us with 9 kcal/g. And indeed, they have twice as many calories as carbohydrates and proteins, which only provide 4 kcal/g.

They are essential for life because they perform vital functions such as they:

  • Make up the main source of energy reserves in your body.
  • Provide protection and consistency to some organs.
  • Are part of cellular structures.
  • Are hormone regulators.
  • Contribute to the absorption and mobilization of vitamins (A, D, E, K).
  • They make food palatable.

That is, fats play an important role in everyone’s bodies. Therefore, eliminating them can negatively affect your health.

So should you eliminate sources of fat from your diet?

Fat is essential for your body. This nutrient is necessary for your body because it participates in multiple body functions.

“Lipids are necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system, the skin, and the cardiovascular system,” says Ingrid Bravo, Nutritionist at the University of San Sebastián.

Therefore, you should never eliminate all sources of fat from your diet.

Read also: What are the 10 best healthy fats that you shouldn’t leave out of your diet?

What happens to the body when you eliminate fat from your diet?

Feet standing on scale, tape measure on floor. Eliminating fat doesn't help weight loss.
Cutting fat out of your diet hasn’t been shown to affect weight loss.

Fats have been demonized for so long and are the first thing people think of when they want to lose weight. However, you should never lose sight of the fact that they represent a very important nutritional component that you shouldn’t eliminate from any diet.

And as ironic as it sounds, if you don’t eat enough fat, it can actually make it more difficult to lose weight and lose abdominal fat. But those aren’t the most serious effects of a fat deficiency. In fact, it can also be harmful to your physical and mental health.

So if you believed that giving up fat was the key to successfully losing weight, all these explanations will show you otherwise:

1. If you eliminate fat, it makes you hungrier.

If you don’t eat enough of a certain macronutrient, you’ll end up looking for calories elsewhere. Generally, people who don’t eat the recommended amount of fat make up for it by increasing their carbohydrate intake.

According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, fat causes slower absorption of food. In this way, it helps keep you full longer and prevents you from overeating.

2. You don’t protect your heart if you eliminate fat.

Doctor holding fake heart.
Healthy fats have a positive effect on your heart health.

A study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that a Mediterranean diet, with moderate consumption of fats, has greater benefits for your heart and nervous system health than a diet with little or no fat consumption.

Monounsaturated fats increase the levels of “good” cholesterol in your body and reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as other degenerative diseases.

Read also: Five Healthy Fats that Help Lower Your Cholesterol

3. It could lead to a vitamin deficiency.

Vitamins A, D, E, and K are absorbed with fat. This means that your body can only assimilate them once they’re dissolved in it. After they spread through your body, the vitamins are stored in the liver and fatty tissue for long-term use.

However, when you don’t eat enough fat, they can’t be absorbed and the level of these vitamins in your body is low.

4. It’s bad for your mental health to eliminate fat.

Hands holding a fake brain, eliminating fat can harm your brain health.
Some studies have shown a relationship between low fat intake and a higher risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

Many studies in neurology have found that a Mediterranean diet that includes healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, and fish can help preserve memory better and reduce the risk of cognitive diseases.

This is because fat is the main component of the neuron membranes and myelin, a layer that covers the nerves and allows the synapse to take place.

For all these reasons, eliminating fats from your diet can compromise your overall health. The main point that we can get from the studies isn’t the consumption of fats, but which fats you eat. Thus, you should always choose the healthiest fats and stay away from trans fats that harm your health.

  • Warrilow A., Mellor D., McKune A., Pumpa K., Dietary fat, fibre, satiation, and satiety – a systematic review of acute studies. Eur J Clin Nutr, 2019. 73 (3): 333-344.
  • Estruch R., Ros E., Salas Salvadó J., Covas MI et al., Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a mediterranean diet. N Engl J Med, 2013
  • Miranda A., Gomez Gaete C., Mennickent S., Dieta mediterranea y sus efectos benéficos en la prevención de la enfermedad de Alzheimer. Rev Med Chile, 2017.