WE LOVE FAT
WE NEED FAT
But choose your FAT wisely!
I’m sure a lot of you remember the days when eating a low fat diet was supposed to be good for you. A few poorly done, mis-interpreted studies and the media, food industry, and health care professionals started shouting from the rooftops that a low-fat diet full of vegetable oils was “healthy”. Well, fat makes food taste GOOD. So what do you do to make low-fat food taste better? You add sugar! Yep, sugar started making it’s way into everything, and people started substituting healthy, fatty foods with less satisfying, non-nutritious foods. The result was weight gain, sugar addiction, and a host of other health and economic issues that I don’t need to get into here.
Fast forward 50+ years and we’re finally starting to get back on track. Butter? ghee? coconut oil? SATURATED FAT? Yes, eat them! We’re finding they’re actually very necessary and beneficial to our bodies, especially for women! You want to know something cool? Eating fat doesn’t even make you fat! Eating the RIGHT kind of fat can actually promote a healthy weight along with BEING BUILDING BLOCKS FOR CELL MEMBRANES AND HORMONES. Not only that, but it’s one of the most satiating types of fuel, meaning fat can make you stay full for a long time.
So let’s get down to business. What is fat, and where do I get it? Just like there’s a bunch of different types of dogs and trees in the world, there’s also a bunch (although not nearly as many) of different types of fat. I’ll spare you from the scientific details and just give you practical descriptions.
Types of fat:
Saturated: Solid at room temperature and does not go rancid easily. Many types of saturated fat make great cooking fat! It’s found mostly in animal fat (meats, butter, ghee, lard) and tropical oils (coconut oil, palm oil). Saturated fats are the main structural fats in the body.
Monounsaturated: Liquid at room temperature and more susceptible to going rancid than saturated fats, although some mono-unsaturated fats are great for cooking as well. Monounsaturated fats are found in olives, avocados, some meats, and certain nuts. Your body can convert saturated fat into monounsaturated fat.
Polyunsaturated: Your body cannot make these on its own, meaning they must be consumed in your diet. This type of fat is also liquid at room temperature and goes rancid very easily. Polyunsaturated fat is divided into two categories:
Omega-6 fatty acids: found in industrially processed and refined oils like corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower, and cottonseed oils. It’s also found in some nuts and animal foods. This is a pro-inflammatory fat.
Omega-3 fatty acids: found in fish, shellfish, chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts. This is an anti-inflammatory fat.
It’s extremely important to have a balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, but most people in America are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. Taking a cod liver oil supplement, which is rich in omega-3’s, can benefit almost anyone!
WATCH OUT! When I say a fat goes “rancid” easily, what does that mean? When oils are exposed to heat, light, or oxygen they can lose their nutritional value and instead become toxic and inflammatory in your body. Many oils go rancid, or become oxidized, simply when you expose them to heat through cooking. Choosing the proper storing methods and cooking oils is very important for your health.
So what does this mean for YOU?!
IN YOUR BODY: Fat is playing a lot of roles.
maintain cell membranes
maintain brain health and mental health
promote healthy skin and hair
impact hormones and fertility
communication between cells
absorption of fat-soluble vitamins
provide and store energy
improve heart health
IN YOUR DIET: Make sure you are eating fat from the right sources.
Grass-fed beef (not corn-fed) and other organic, pasture-raised meats
organic or pasture-raised eggs
Wild caught fish
Nuts and seeds
IN YOUR SHOPPING CART: Choose wisely.
AVOID canola oil, partially hydrogenated oil, hydrogenated oil, soybean oil, corn oil, rapeseed oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil
BUY avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, grass-fed ghee. Buy unrefined or extra-virgin oils.
IN YOUR KITCHEN: Take care.
Olive oil: store in a cool, dark place. Use for very low-heat sautéing, salad dressings, and drizzling over food right before eating.
Avocado oil: store in a cool, dark place. Use for sautéing and roasting food in the oven at lower temperatures.
Coconut oil: store at room temperature. Great for roasting, sautéing, and high heat cooking.
Butter: store in the fridge. Use for low-heat sautéing or melting over warm foods.
Ghee: store in a cool, dark place. Great for roasting, sautéing, and high heat cooking.
Consider taking a cod liver oil supplement to make sure you are getting the appropriate amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet! My favorite brand is the liquid cod liver oil from Nordic Naturals.