All About Fats

 In Diet, Fat, Inflammation, Mental Health, Nutrition, Weight Loss

“Fat makes me fat”.

Did you know that this is an outdated belief when it comes to nutrition? While the tide is starting to change, we’ve been taught for decades that eating low-fat is the golden ticket to health and weight loss. What’s more, even though there was never any clear evidence that eating low-fat prevented heart disease or promoted weight loss, our doctors, the government, the food industry and health media embraced this ideology and ran with it – all while our waistlines were getting larger.

Fat Doesn’t Equal Fat

Naturally occurring fat in food does not equal fat on your body. When we eat low-fat because of this belief we deprive ourselves of EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids). This can turn on the body’s starvation response – literally where the body thinks we’re starving because we’re missing something ESSENTIAL (Essential Fatty Acids) causing us to aggressively seek food (especially late afternoon/night cravings/binges). A diet deficient in EFA’s can also cause:

  • Poor digestion
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin, dry/brittle hair, brittle nails
  • Moodiness
  • Cravings for fried foods or fatty foods or junk food,
  • Binge eating
  • Stiff or painful joints
  • Poor cognitive function

Fat is not our enemy nor does it cause heart disease. Chronic inflammation is what causes heart disease. We need good, healthy fats in our body. Our brain is mostly fat. Our cell membranes are comprised largely of fat. Fat protects our organs and transports fat-soluble vitamins. But it’s really important that we distinguish between healthy and harmful fats.

Toxic Fats

Trans and partially hydrogenated fats are highly toxic. That’s why they’re called “Frankenfats”. These fake oils have been associated with cancer, heart disease, obesity, inflammation and accelerated aging. Though the World Health Organization has made removing them from our food supply a priority, they’re still in about 40% of the processed, packaged, frozen, junk food items found in a typical supermarket.

High polyunsaturated fats, like canola, soybean, corn, safflower, margarine and buttery spreads, can also cause health problems. They’re prone to oxidation and can contribute to inflammation which we know is a major cause of chronic disease.Your endocrine system is also super sensitive to these oils and can lead to symptoms like a slowed metabolism, low energy levels and a sluggish thyroid.

Even Healthy Labels Hide Trans Fats

High consumption of PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) are nearly impossible to avoid if you eat processed foods. They are in everything! Even Newman’s Own Classic Oil and Vinegar dressing contains soybean and canola oil. They also contribute to systemic inflammation because of they’re predominately comprised of omega 6’s.

High and Low Omegas

It’s hard not to talk about Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s when you’re talking about fats. You’ve probably heard of omega 3’s from fish oil pills.  Omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory and Omega 6’s are pro-inflammatory but both are required to be healthy. It’s the ratio that’s important. We want a 1:1 ratio of omega 6’s to omega 3’s but today, most of us have a 16:1 ratio, meaning that we’re eating way too many omega 6’s, ie in our salad dressings and other packaged foods like chips, baked and frozen foods.

So, now that we know that we need GOOD fats – essential fatty acids – how do we get them?

Cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil (in a dark bottle), butter (preferably grass-fed), ghee (clarified butter), coconut oil, avocado oil, sustainably produced palm oil, lard (yes, lard), tallow, and duck fat are great for cooking and drizzling over dishes and salads.  Great whole food sources of good fats are avocados, coconuts, olives, nuts (especially macadamia nuts), seeds, eggs and seafood (especially oily cold water fish like sardines, mackerel, cod and salmon – go for wild caught too).

Real Life Application

If you’re still a little uncertain as to “good fats” and “bad fats”, need a bit more convincing that eating fat isn’t going to make you fat (has eating a leg of lamb ever caused you to grow an extra leg?) and you are still questioning if coconut oil is going to kill you, we’ll answer all of this in The Total Transformation.

The number one thing we want to emphasize is a macronutrient balance. We need all three macronutrients: protein, fat and yes – even carbs. Go too low fat and you’ll see that host of issues I just talked about. Go too high carb and you’ll become insulin resistant.

Not getting enough fat can cause hair loss, fatigue, intense cravings, muscle loss, feeling cold and poor memory and cognition. Too much fat? Look for GI problems (constipation, nausea, etc), thinning hair, kidney stones, impaired mood, sleep issues and decreased bone density. This is a balancing act, and while there are averages of how much fat, carbs and protein we should consume, you’re not average. During the 28 Day Transformation, you and your coach will figure out the ideal amount for you so you can nourish and thrive.

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