Today I would like to discuss fat. There are a few misconceptions about fat that have been around for a long time. There are also some truths about fat that we need to remember.
Let’s get started!
Fat – What’s the Big Deal?
When the topic of fat is raised, everyone has an opinion. It seems that most people are experts when it comes to fat. They have read something, or watched a program, or saw something online, and they believe what the saw or heard without doing anymore research.
I am not an expert on anything! I have an opinion on everything! I have an opinion on fat, for sure. I have done a lot of reading, and I have personal experience with fat. At one point of my life, my 5″7″ frame was carrying around about 180 pounds, 30 of which was fat, I’m sure. I have since lost the fat and am now 145 pounds. Much better. What have I learned?
First, consuming fat DOES NOT make you fat. That is the biggest misconception that is being spread around these days (and forever, it seems). There is some truth in the statement, but we need to refine it. The statement should be:
Eating the wrong fats can possibly make you fat, and will definitely make you unhealthy!
Second, fat is important to our bodies. It is a major source of energy and supports balanced hormones. Fat helps our bodies absorb certain minerals and vitamins. Fat is also important in building cell membranes, the lining of the cells that protects the cell. We also need fats for may bodily processes. It is not a good idea to limit our intake of fat, especially since it is the best fuel for the brain (1).
There are four types of fat. One really bad and three with varying degrees of good. Let’s dive into all of them.
The Bad Fat
There are varying opinions on the bad fats, but not on this one: Trans Fats. Trans Fats are the worst kind of fats, From Harvard’s The Nutrition Source:
“It is a byproduct of a process called hydrogenation that is used to turn healthy oils into solids and to prevent them from becoming rancid. When vegetable oil is heated in the presence of hydrogen and a heavy-metal catalyst such as palladium, hydrogen atoms are added to the carbon chain. This turns oils into solids. It also makes healthy vegetable oils more like not-so-healthy saturated fats. On food label ingredient lists, this manufactured substance is typically listed as ‘partially hydrogenated oil.”
Trans fats are so bad for you, that the Federal government of Canada has introduced legislation to eliminate industrially produced trans fats from all foods sold in Canada. Sources of trans fats are vegetable oil, margarine, shortening, and some snack foods. If you see the words “partially hydrogenated oils” on an ingredient label, read it as trans fat.
Trans fats can increase your risk of heart disease. Trans fats increase the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and decrease the “good” cholesterol (HDL). This causes a build up of fatty deposits that can clog your blood vessels and lead to a heart attack.
Trans fats are the fat that needs to be avoided at all times. Period.
The Good Fats
The first good fat I would like to mention is saturated fats. Saturated fats can be found in coconut oil, MCT oil, raw butter and animal fats. Over the years, saturated fats have been the villain. Saturated fats are the ones that all food guides over the past few decades have told us to avoid. So, people avoided them, and their health declined. The Weston A Price Foundation has summed up the result of millions of people blindly following the food guides:
“In the decades following the release of the dietary guidelines, Americans followed suit, reducing their intake of animal fats and largely replacing them with grains, sugars and industrially processed vegetable oils. Yet, despite adherence to these supposedly ‘healthy’ guidelines, U.S. public health declined.”
The consumption of naturally raised and grain fed meat and dairy products would be recommended, but is not essential. If you can find a local source, and can afford the small increase in price, then by all means, do it. If you cannot find or afford the grass fed meats and dairy products, then be sure to get the highest fat content products as possible, as they will have the least amount of taste substitutes (chemicals and sugars) possible.
The next type of healthy fat is monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fats protect the heart and support insulin sensitivity, weight loss, healthy energy levels, and lower fat storage.
Good sources of monounsaturated fats are avocado, macadamia nuts, olives, and olive oils, and organic canola oil (although if you can avoid canola oil, that would be a good choice since it is often highly processed, refined, and made from GMOs).
And the third type of healthy fat is polyunsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fats contain Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats. Omega 3’s reduce inflammation and promote healthy cells and hormone levels. Omega 6’s support healthy muscle and brain functions, but can promote inflammation in the body.
We only need a very small amount of Omega 6’s in our bodies, but lots of foods contain them. Anything fried, baked, or microwaved in oils such as corn, soybean, safflower, cottonseed, grape seed, and sunflower are high in Omega 6’s and can cause inflammation in the body due to their unstable and processed nature.
Instead, we need to consume more Omega 3’s which can be found in flax, salmon, and nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds.
Keto and Fats
As you know, I am a huge fan of the Keto Lifestyle. In this lifestyle, you are consuming about 80% of your calories through healthy fats. This is not as difficult to achieve as it may seem. Here is a list of foods that contain healthy fats. When added to your fruits and vegetable that grow above and close to the ground, you can easily maintain a keto lifestyle.
- coconut oil (can safely heat)
- MCT oil
- raw nuts
- olive oil
- grass fed pasteurized meats, dairy and eggs,
- raw butter (grass fed if possible)
- raw cacao butter
- ghee butter (for high heat cooking)
- cold presses flax oil (never heated)
- sustainable sourced salmon, sardines, and krill oil.
So there you have it. The low down on fats.
It is not the consumption of fat that makes us fat. The consumption of “bad” fats is not good for our health.
When fat is eliminated from our diets and replaced with carbohydrates (grains), sugars, and processed vegetable oils, then we store fat in our bodies for the simple reason that we become sugar burners and we cannot use all the sugar we are putting in our bodies.
We need to remain fat burners by consuming the good fats. Then we can burn our stored fats for energy, and consequently lose weight. A good plan all around!
Thanks for listening. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
See you in the next post.
Have a great day!