Too much of anything isn’t a good thing, especially if it’s saturated fat, which is found in a lot of meat and animal byproducts, such as cheese and dairy. There are a few key signs that your body could be sending you right now that may indicate you’re eating too much of the stuff.
Cardiologist and founder of Step One Foods, Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACC, details a few of those warning signals and explains some of the long-term effects of eating too much fat your body could suffer from if you neglect to diversify your diet.
What are some warning signs that you’re including too much fat in your diet?
Klodas says there are some common indicators that you’re eating too much fat in your diet, even if they are the healthy fats found in avocados, salmon, and nuts.
- You’re gaining weight. “Fats are calorie-dense, supplying twice as many calories gram for gram as carbohydrates or protein,” says Klodas. For context, fat provides nine calories per one gram, whereas carbs and protein both provide four calories per gram.
- Your cholesterol levels are rising. Saturated fats, which are in animal sources such as butter, cheese, the marbling in beef can, “wreak havoc with your lab results,” says Klodas. “People who consume excess amounts of saturated fat tend to display elevations in LDL cholesterol readings.” LDL cholesterol is also known as the bad type of cholesterol. Those who follow the keto diet are especially prone to having higher-than-normal LDL levels because they’re primarily eating fat.
- Your breath smells bad. “If you are utilizing fat as your primary energy source, you are producing ketones, which leads to you giving off an unpleasant odor,” says Klodas. “Many people who go on a diet that is high in fat and severely reduced in carbohydrate intake will need to brush their teeth several times per day to lessen this side effect.”
- You’re experiencing gastrointestinal discomfort. If your diet is high in fat, that likely means you’re not including a lot of vegetables, fruit, or whole grains into your diet, all of which are great sources of fiber. A diet that’s low in fiber can lead to constipation and other digestive problems. This is also a common side effect for those who eat too much meat.
- You just feel gross. Klodas says that both saturated and trans fats are both known to cause inflammation in the body, which can make you feel bloated and sluggish, among other things.