Are you a fat-o-phobic? Don’t know what this means? When you go grocery shopping, do you make sure the items you pick up say “low fat” or “fat free”? Are you all about trimming every last bit of fat off your meat or chicken? How about when it comes to eggs? Are you still eating egg white omelets?
If you answered yes to the above, then yes, you are a fat-o-phobic. Don’t despair, you are not alone and you are not to blame. We have years of bad medical reports and the media pounding down our throats that we must avoid fat at all costs if we want to be healthy and skinny. Well guess what? We have been sold a bill of goods.
As a nation we are fatter and more unhealthy than ever before, and this can be traced back to what some call the “Snackwell Syndrome”. Do you remember Snackwell’s? They may even still be sold, I am not sure. Studies show that when Snackwell’s came on the market, obesity rates started rising. But why?
Fat makes food taste good and without fat, something else needs to be added. Guess what that is? Sugar! Couple all the sugar with the notion that one thinks they are eating something healthy, and voila, we have a weight crisis.
So, instead of getting skinnier we have gotten fatter! Which leads me to my second point.
You Need Fat to Lose Fat!!!
Say what? Yup, hate to break the good news to you, but by eating fat you will lose weight. Oh, you will also become healthier in the process.
But there has got to be a catch, right? Of course there is. It all comes down to the TYPE of fat you eat. ”Good” fats vs. “bad” fats. I will get into that further down, but first let’s talk about why you need fat.
Our body burns fat for energy, just like it uses carbohydrates for energy. However, when it comes to comparing the two, think about a fire. You use kindling to start a fire (carbs,) and then add the logs (fat) to keep the fire burning for a longer period of time. Imagine using only kindling for your fire. It would heat up faster, providing a short burst of warmth and then burn up fast as well. You would then have to add more kindling. Kind of like eating sugar laden foods.
Bring in the logs, and once the kindling burns down, the logs are roaring providing a long lasting source of heat. This is exactly how your body utilizes carbs and fats for energy. By including good fats in your diet, you’re providing your body with long lasting, slow burning energy. Plus, you are going to be satiated longer and not eat as often.
How else does fat help us out?
- Makes our food taste good – yum!
- It is required so our bodies can absorb the much need vitamins A,D, E and K.
- It is required so our body uses protein adequately.
- Helps manage internal inflammation.
- Helps with feeling satiated after we eat.
- Protects are organs.
- Aids in healthier liver function.
- Helps slow down the absorption of food for better energy regulation.
- Very important for the structure of our cell membranes.
Are you convinced yet? I hope so. So let’s move on to what a “good” fat vs. a “bad” fat is. We have been told for so long to avoid saturated fats at all cost and stick to unsaturated fats. However, saturated fats are not all bad, and unsaturated fats are not always good.
What you want to look at is the quality of the source of fat and how it was processed. These are two key points.
You want to make sure your animal fats are coming from high quality, grass-fed sources (if available), and when it comes to oils, you want to make sure they are processed with the least heat possible.
The following are lists of the “good” fats. Check it out and see how many you have already incorporated into your diet.
- Coconut Oil – good for high heat cooking
- Palm Oil
- Grass fed Butter and ghee
- Grass fed, pasture raised animal protein
- Full fat dairy
- Lard and tallow
- Olive oil – good for low heat cooking
- Avocado oil
Polyunsaturated Fats – good for cold uses
- Flax Oil
- Walnut Oil
- Sesame oil
- Raw nuts and seeds
The “bad” fats you want to try to avoid at all costs. These are the ones that turn into trans fats in your body and are the contributors to high cholesterol and heart disease. Keep in mind, by law, a package can say “trans fat free” if it has 5% or less of hydrogenated oils. So read your labels and if it says “hydrogenated” anything, put it back.
- Margarine or any whipped “butter” in a tub
- Canola oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Vegetable oil
- Soybean oil
Take a moment this week and go through your pantry and fridge and see what you may have lurking in there. When you are out shopping, read your labels and make healthy, wise choices. Below is a picture that has been circulating on Facebook, it pretty much sums it up.
If you have your own fat-o-phobia story, I would love to hear about it and what steps you took to overcome it.
To your health,