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Could You Be Fat Deficient? 5 Signs You Need More Fat In Your Diet

For the last so many years, all we have heard is that dietary fat is bad for your health. However, despite what we have all heard, eating fat does not make you fat – that is, if you consume it in moderation. In fact, what many people often forget is that fat is an important part of a balanced diet. It’s not without reason that fat is also included in the food pyramid we have studied about in school. Your body needs dietary fat for carrying out many biological processes, and not getting enough fat, especially healthy fat, can make it challenging for your body to keep functioning the way it should, ultimately causing health issues. So is it possible that you could be fat deficient? Here are five signs you need more fat in your diet.

Why Do You Need Fat In Your Diet?

Why Do You Need Fat In Your Diet?

Your body needs some amount of dietary fat to carry out many biological processes. You would not be able to remain healthy without dietary fat. Dietary fat plays an important role in your body, including:(1, 2)

  • Fat supports cell growth: Dietary fat is needed to provide structure to the outer membrane of each cell in the body. Apart from supporting the structure, fat also supports cell growth.(3)
  • Fat helps the body absorb vitamins: Some of the major vitamins that your body needs, including vitamins A, D, E, and D, are fat-soluble. This means that your body can only absorb these vitamins when you take them along with fat. Therefore, a deficiency of fat in your day-to-day diet can lead to deficiencies in these vitamins as well, which can lead to many health issues.(4, 5, 6)
  • Fat is needed for wound healing: It’s not just proteins that the body needs to promote wound healing. The essential fatty acids present in fat play a critical role in promoting blood clotting and wound healing.(7, 8)
  • Supports eye and brain health: The omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) play key roles in maintaining the health of the brain, retinas, and the central nervous system. Since your body does not make these fatty acids naturally, you can only get them through the food you eat.(9, 10)
  • Production of key hormones: Your body also needs dietary fat for making certain hormones like both the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone.(11, 12)
  • Energy source: Every gram of fat you eat is estimated to provide you with around nine calories of energy. In comparison, every gram of carbohydrate or protein only provides you with four calories of energy.

This is why dietary fat is so essential for your well-being.

What are the Types of Dietary Fat?

There are four main categories of dietary fats: Saturated fats, trans fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Let us look at each one of them to understand what role they play in our bodies.

Saturated Fats: Saturated fats are typically found in most animal products, including eggs, meat, and dairy products. These fats are in a solid state at room temperature. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), you should be getting less than ten percent of your daily calories from saturated fats.(13) Several studies have also shown that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats is directly linked with a reduced risk of heart disease.(14)

Trans Fats: Trans fats are primarily found in partially hydrogenated oils. These are the least healthy type of dietary fat for your body. Hydrogenated oils are usually used to enhance the taste and also the shelf life of processed foods. Your body does not need trans fats, and consuming a lot of trans fats can increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 disease, and stroke.(15, 16, 17) Trans fats can be found in baked goods, processed foods, margarine, vegetable shortening, and fried foods. When in doubt if a food product contains trans fats, you can read the ingredient list on the package. If you find partially hydrogenated oil is listed as an ingredient, it is better to avoid buying that product.

Monounsaturated Fats: According to the American Heart Association (AHA), monounsaturated fats are associated with a reduction in the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood. This helps reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.(18) Unlike saturated fats, monounsaturated fats remain in a liquid state at room temperatures. Foods that are a good source of monounsaturated fats include nuts, nut butter, avocados, and plant-based oils like olive oil, sesame oil, safflower oil, and canola oil.

Polyunsaturated Fats: Your body is unable to produce polyunsaturated fats, which is why you need to get these from the foods you consume. These fats are commonly referred to as essential fats, and they are the healthy fats that your body needs. Onega-3 fatty acids are the most popular type of polyunsaturated fat that can help lower the risk of heart disease, help lower blood pressure, and also protect you from irregular heart rates.(19, 20) Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in foods like oysters, fatty fish, chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts. Fatty fish include salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines. To maintain good health, most of the fats you eat should either be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.

How To Tell You Are Fat Deficient?

Deficiency in dietary fat is usually very rare in healthy people who consume a balanced and nutritious diet. However, there are some medical conditions that put you at a higher risk for developing a fat deficiency, including:

If you are not getting a sufficient amount of dietary fat, some of the biological processes in the body may not work properly.

Here are five signs that you need more fat in your diet.

Could You Be Fat Deficient? 5 Signs You Need More Fat In Your Diet

5 Signs You Need More Fat in your Diet

  1. Vitamin Deficiencies

    Dietary fat is essential for the body to help it absorb fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K. Not consuming enough of these essential nutrients can increase the risk of several medical conditions, including, but not limited to:

  2. Skin Inflammation (Dermatitis)

    Studies have shown that dietary fat is an important part of the structure of the every cell, especially your skin cells. Fat helps the skin maintain its moisture barrier. So if you are deficient in dietary fat, one of the first signs could be dry skin or skin inflammation, known as dermatitis.(21) Dermatitis is a term used to describe inflamed skin. If dermatitis is caused by a deficiency of dietary fat, it tends to present itself as dry, scaly rashes all over the body or just one part of the body.

  3. Hair Loss

    Fat molecules in the body are known as prostaglandins. These fatty molecules are responsible for promoting hair growth. Eating too little essential fat could eventually cause a change in your hair texture. Research has shown that it can also increase the risk of hair loss on the eyebrows or scalp.(22)

  4. Slow Healing Of Wounds

    According to studies, the body needs fat to produce many critical molecules that help control the body’s inflammatory response. A low intake of dietary fat can disrupt this response and cause slow wound healing.(23)

    The deficiency of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin D can also cause wounds to heal slower than they usually should.

  5. Frequently Falling Sick

    Severely limiting your fat consumption can weaken your immune system, causing you to frequently fall sick. The body requires dietary fat to manufacture many types of molecules that stimulate the activity of the immune cells. Essential fatty acids are vital for ensuring the growth of immune cells. In particular, the body requires the omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid and the omega-6 fatty acid known as linoleic acid to keep the immune system working properly.(24, 25, 26)

How to Create a More Balanced Diet?

According to recommendations of the United States Department of Agriculture, a healthy adult should be getting up to 35 percent of their calories from fat.(27) This means:

  • Up to 66 grams of fat every day should be included in a 2000 calorie diet
  • Up to 97 grams of fat every day should be included in a 2500 calorie diet
  • At least 50 grams of fat every day should be included in a 1500 calorie diet

However, it is necessary to keep in mind that not all fats are the same. So it is best to avoid consuming foods that are rich in trans fats as much as possible. While it is acceptable to include some amount of saturated fats, like meat, eggs, or dairy, in your diet, but it is best to try and get most of your fat intake from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Avocado
  • Fatty fish and fish oil


Just like all other nutrients, the body needs dietary fat as well to remain healthy and to carry out many biological processes. If you are not getting a sufficient amount of fat in your diet, you may start noticing symptoms like hair loss, dry rashes or dry skin, a weak immune system, slow wound healing, and other issues related to vitamin deficiencies.

To help maintain good health, try to eat fats that are monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. These fats can be found in nuts and seeds, olive oil, fatty fish, and avocados.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 3, 2022

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