The Skinny on Fat
Fats have been labeled as the bad guys for so long that it ‘ s easy to forget the vital role that fat plays, both in our diets and in our bodies.
On our bodies, fat is demonized. We work to eliminate as much fat as possible but the truth is that we actually need some fat to keep us healthy. Body fat is essential for good health, fulfilling a number of key roles:
It cushions our joints and protects our organs
It helps to regulate body temperature
It stores vitamins
It helps the body sustain itself when food is scarce
Fat is also essential for the proper function of the brain and the nervous system. If you have ever heard the term “ what a fat head “ , there is reason behind the rhyme.
The brain is naturally composed of 65 % fat. In addition, our body fat contains essential fatty acids (EFAs). These are fats that cannot be made by the body and must therefore be obtained from the diet.
However, as we all know, too much fat is a major health problem. Obesity contributes to coronary heart disease, cancer and strokes. Indeed, obesity is the major health issue currently facing the Westernized populations, with an estimated 30% of the majority seriously overweight.
How Much fat is Healthy, and How Much is too Much?
The ACSM (The American College of Sports Medicine) has published recommended body fat levels for both men and women . Their general guidelines are as follows:
Low: 6-10% fat
Optimal: 11-17% fat
Moderate: 18-20% fat
Obesity: Greater than 25% fat
Low: 14-18% fat
Moderate: 23-30% fat
Obesity: Greater than 30% fat
As you will notice, the figures for women are higher than men, reflecting the extra fat that is stored in breast tissue and also the extra needs for good fats and healthy vitamins during pregnancy and childbirth.
You must seek approval from your doctor before starting any new diet. Please read our Terms !