Remember, fat is not a four-letter word. In reality, fat is a key component in metabolism, or our body's ability to process fuel. And there are a number of foods with healthy fats.
"Bodybuilders want this paper-thin skin," says sports nutrition author Nancy Clark. "They think that if they eat fat, they'll get fat. Well, if they eat excess calories, they'll get fat. But eating a little bit of fat at each meal can actually help them feel full a little bit longer, because it takes longer to digest, so it can actually aid in weight loss."
Furthermore, fat plays a vital role in collecting vitamins and minerals from other foods. Again, it's that synergistic effect.
"I would look at nuts, olive oil, salmon, tuna fish, because they help absorb certain vitamins," says Clark. "If you have this fat-free diet, then you don't absorb the vitamin A in the spinach, or the vitamin A in your colorful fruits and vegetables. Vitamins A, D, E and K need fat in order to get absorbed, so it's good to have a little bit of fat in each meal."
A good rule of thumb is to make sure that no more than 30 percent of your daily caloric intake comes from fats [source: Robertson].