Low fat, no fat, cut the fat! Are you opting for low fat foods, avoiding full fat dairy, red meat or butter? If you are there might be some unexpected side effects. Your efforts to lose weight could result in depression and over the longer term even self harm and suicide.

As well as providing us with important fat-soluble vitamins, saturated fat provides cholesterol. Contrary to what you’ve been told – that is a good thing!

For years cholesterol has been labelled the bad guy. We thought it caused heart disease, we thought is made us fat, we were wrong. The debate about cholesterol and heart disease is one for a another day, needless to say, cholesterol is simply the sticking plaster that comes along to rectify damaged arteries.

Cholesterol is good for the brain. It enables proper membrane function, allowing the neurotransmitters that keep us happy and balanced to do their job. It makes adrenal hormones, allowing our bodies to adapt and cope with whatever stresses life throws at us. If you are fat phobic, or following a low-fat diet then you are putting yourself at risk of losing these precious functions.

Low fat diets and low cholesterol levels have been linked to depression and a higher risk of suicide and self-harm. This could be because cholesterol enhances serotonin function. It also helps with vitamin D absorption which may play a crucial role in keeping depression and obesity at bay.

Serotonin is the brain chemical that enhances happiness, sociability as well as controlling impulsivity. This impulse control is what would help to prevent suicide attempts, aggressive outbursts and self-harm. The importance of foods containing saturated fats is clear. If you want to preserve happiness and feed your brain choose full fat.