The skinny on fat!
Would you be surprised to find out that 60% of your brain is made of fat? AND…every cell in your body is covered in a thin membrane of fat. EVERY. SINGLE. CELL.
Considering that the the FDA started their war on fat in 1977, it’s no wonder that people are so confused about it today. Don’t get me wrong-it makes sense that fat would make people fat, HOWEVER, after 35+ years of being told fat makes you fat, we now know that not all fats make you fat. And guess what…having a diet high in good fats can actually make you skinny! YAS!!!
Add in the new (actually not new, but new to mainstream America) Keto diet craze and well…now people are literally drinking fat and losing weight!
Stop right there though…after laying out all that info I have to insert my disclaimer. My wellness philosophy still stands. We are not all the same, and our bodies do not all respond to the same foods in the same way! You have to listen to YOUR body when trying out new ways of eating. You need to be in tune with your body and realistic about your own personal results, while also educating yourself on the science behind it all! When it comes to health and wellness; knowledge is power, source of said knowledge is key, and your depth of body connection is the vehicle to your own personal wellness success!
That being said here’s what I’m going to lay out for you today:
What is fat?
How does the human body break down fat?
Good fat choices v/s bad fat choices.
How to avoid bad fats.
Hopefully by the end of this you will have more answers than questions, but you’ll have to stay with me through the end! Here goes!
1. a natural oily or greasy substance occurring in animal bodies, especially when deposited as a layer under the skin or around certain organs.
a fatty substance made from animal or plant products, used in cooking.
any of a group of natural esters of glycerol and various fatty acids, which are solid at room temperature and are the main constituents of animal and vegetable fat.
Fat: (General info)
Fats are a major source of energy.
They help your body absorb vitamins and minerals.
Fat is needed to build cell membranes, the vital exterior of each cell, and the sheaths surrounding nerves.
Fat is essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation.
Consumption of high quality fats are KEY to weight loss.
Not all fats are created equal.
There are 3 types of fat:
Unsaturated fat broken into two types:
Trans fat (not real/man made)
Saturated Fats (simple fats/bad fat)
Saturated fat contains only saturated fatty acids, is solid at room temperature, and comes chiefly from animal food products. Typically and predominately made of single bonds. Saturated fat is found mainly in animal products such as butter, lard, cheese, pork, chicken skin, red meat, milk and cream. Saturated fat is also found in many processed foods like pizza, desserts, cookies, and pastries. Foods made with saturated fat also tend to be higher in calories. It’s not necessarily that the consumption of saturated fat is what causes problems, but consuming saturated fat can raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, and that is what leads to weight gain which puts you at greater risk for heart disease.
UnSaturated Fats (complex fats/healthy fats)
a type of fat containing a high proportion of fatty acid molecules with at least one double bond, considered to be healthier in the diet than saturated fat.
consuming healthy unsaturated fat options raises your HDL (good) cholesterol and therefore is actually good for you!
There are two types of UnSaturated fats:
monounsaturated fats (single bond chain)
-(of an organic compound, especially a fat) saturated except for one multiple bond.
-Nuts, avocado, avocado oil, canola oil, olive oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, and butter
polyunsaturated fats (multiple double bond chain)
-(of an organic compound, especially a fat or oil molecule) containing several double or triple bonds between carbon atoms. Polyunsaturated fats, which are usually of plant origin, are regarded as healthier in the diet than saturated fats.
-Omega-3 fats have been shown to be protective against heart disease in a number of ways, including lowering blood triglyceride levels and blood pressure. Omega-3 fats are found in marine, animal and plant sources such as mackerel, salmon, cod liver oil, herring, oysters, sardines, anchovies, caviar, flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, and soybeans.
-Omega-6 fatty acids have been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease when they are consumer in place of saturated and trans fats. Foods high in Omega 6 include margarine spreads (use in place of butter to replace saturated fats), sunflower, soybean, and sesame oils (use in place of lard, tallow, copha), walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, pine nuts and sunflower seeds.
Trans fats (bad fats)
An unsaturated fatty acid of a type occurring in margarines and manufactured cooking oils.
Trans fats are a byproduct of a process called hydrogenation that is used to turn healthy oils into solids and to prevent them from becoming rancid. Consumption of such acids is thought to increase the risk of atherosclerosis.
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.
Trans fat is found in shortenings, margarine, snacks such as crackers, candies, and cookies, fried foods, pastries and other foods prepared with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Consumption of food containing trans-fat has unequivocally been shown to increase the risk of heart disease by raising levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), and lowering levels of HDL (good cholesterol).
Trans fats, in any amount, are detrimental to your health and cause the spread of free radicals throughout your body.
Having an understanding of which fat is which and how they effect your body can make all the difference in how you use them in your diet! Essentially, consuming the good fats that raise your good cholesterol while also limiting the amount of saturated fat in your diet, is key to having a healthy heart and also losing weight!
There are a few other key facts to know about fat:
The term “low fat” typically means high in sugar. Even if it’s added, hidden, or natural sugars, the food companies add sugar into the product to add flavor because they have taken out the fat. Avoid foods that say “low fat” and understand that they don’t mean better for you!
All oils are not suitable for cooking. Many oils listed above are very healthy, and have great health benefits consumed at room temperature, HOWEVER, heating oil above a certain point causes the oil to become rancid and toxic and creates free radicals and can cause cancer! I personally only use Avocado oil to cook with, but there is a chart here that will help you decipher which oil is best for you!
So how do you get some good fat into your diet? EASY! My personal favorite is Avocado. I LOVE guacamole just like the rest f the world, but I also love to add 1/4 or 1/2 of an avocado to the foods I eat every day. A big salad, or scrambled eggs with a side of avocado…and HELLO…Avocado toast!!! YUM!
I always have have sunflower seeds to snack on when I get hungry between meals, and I LOVE sunflower butter basically on ANYTHING!
Keeping high quality fats on hand and using them in small amounts will go a long way throughout the day, giving you long lasting energy, and keeping your blood sugar levels from spiking!
I hope I’ve helped clarify some of the confusion on fat for you, but before you go changing the way you eat, or diving into a new diet please consult with your doctor first!