Are you eating enough fat?
Updated: Mar 16
Do you remember the Fat-Free Craze back in the 90’s?
I admit it. I got caught up in that nonsense. I remember my friends and I would eat an entire Entenmann’s Cake (each) because it was “fat-free.” So clearly that meant it was healthy!
Or what about non-fat frozen yogurt? Absolutely. Fat-free butter? Yep. Baked chips? Of course. Fat-free muffins? Heck yeah. Pretzels? Yep (no fat). Skim milk? You bet. Non-fat salad dressing? The only kind I ate.
Those fake, processed foods are laden with sugar, toxic chemicals, hydrogenated oils, and artificial flavors; they promote unhealthy diet culture and disordered eating. In fact, all processed foods perpetuate sugar addictions, create blood sugar imbalance, hormone imbalance, harm your gut microbiome, and contribute to inflammation and disease.
Thank heavens years ago I made the decision to move past fearing fat and consuming lots of processed foods. I learned what good, healthy fats were and I brought them into my diet. However, there are still many people who fear fat; or don’t understand the necessity of consuming healthy fats, or even know what they are! Some still think a low-fat diet will help them lose weight or prevent disease. Or that canola oil is healthy.
I’m here to dispel that myth.
4 Fabulous Reasons Why You Should Eat Fat! (Healthy fat, that is!)
Gives you sustainable energy
Curbs unhealthy cravings
Supports brain function and mood
Helps with healthy, balanced weight
Why would I recommend you choose a fatty piece of (grass-fed) meat over pasta?Well, it’s important to know that your body processes fat, protein, and carbohydrates in different ways. Fat, protein, and carbohydrates are the three macronutrients that your body needs to function and survive.
When you eat refined, starchy carbohydrates such as pasta, your body breaks them down into sugar (glucose) that's absorbed into the bloodstream; your body responds with the hormone insulin, which moves the glucose into your cells where it can be used as energy. These carbohydrates are broken down quickly, which results in a sharp rise in blood sugar. Therefore if you eat a carb-heavy meal you’re more likely to feel hungry again, soon. Additionally, carb-heavy diets keep insulin so high that your body continues to shuttle sugar into your cells, resulting in weight gain.
Conversely, eating healthy dietary fats doesn't have an impact on raising insulin or blood sugar. When you eat a meal, or a diet, rich in healthy fats, you help keep insulin levels balanced, which allows for the body to burn fat.
Fat provides a steady, long-lasting source of fuel. Using fire as a metaphor, eating fat for fuel is like throwing on a big log, sustaining a long-burning fire, whereas eating carbohydrates (sugar) for fuel is like throwing on kindling, it’s short lived.
Fat from your diet gives you sustainable energy. Fat helps keep you full and satiated so you don't need to eat as much and you can go longer without feeling hunger or cravings.
You need good dietary fats to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K (found in foods such as oysters, salmon, sardines, raw almonds, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, cabbage, liver, and egg yolks) If you’re eating a low-fat or no-fat diet, you’re essentially eating a vitamin-free diet. A vegan, vegetarian, or low-fat diet generally means a carb-heavy diet; so if your diet consists mostly of carbs like breads, white potatoes, oatmeal, bananas, beans and rice, and pasta there’s a very good chance you are deficient in fat-soluble vitamins.
Deficiencies in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, & K can lead to a host of health problems including poor bone health, night blindness, reduced immune function, lack of growth in children, skin problems, hair loss, osteoporosis, infertility, and more.
Healthy fats also support the brain and mental health.
Did you know that your brain is made up of 60% fat? Makes sense then that not getting adequate dietary fat can adversely impact your brain health and mental health. One of the most important fats for brain health (and overall health) are the omega-3 fatty acids EPA & DHA, which you must get from your diet. These fatty acids are paramount for preventing diabetes and inflammation, regulating metabolism, and supporting brain function and mood.
Deficiency in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA & DHA show up through symptoms such as depression, anxiety, memory issues, unhealthy stress response, and can contribute to Alzheimer’s and ADHD.
Good Fats vs. Bad Fats
What are bad fats? Trans-fats and hydrogenated vegetable oils -- found in margarine and vegetable shortening, pre-packaged snacks/cookies/baked goods/crackers, fried foods, microwave popcorn, non-dairy creamers, etc. -- should be avoided at all costs.
What foods contain good, healthy fats?
Avocados and avocado oil
Grass-fed butter and Ghee
Olives and Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Wild-caught fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel and anchovies all are packed with omega-3s DHA & EPA!)
Raw nuts and seeds
Full-fat coconut milk
Pastured organic eggs (including the yolk!)
Grass-fed organic beef
Dark chocolate (at least 75% cacao, the higher the cacao the lower the sugar)
Now that you know what healthy fats are and can do for you, let’s start with breakfast! They say, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But is breakfast really that important? Yes it is!
What do you eat for breakfast?
February 10, 2020