Let’s talk about fat, baby, lets talk about you and me, let’s talk about all the good things, and the bad things, that can be. Let’s talk about fat. Let’s talk about fat!
Ha. Sorry. I had to. Salt-N-Pepa was too significant in my teen years to not jump all over that. And at the same time, talking about healthy fats gets me really, really excited.
Ok. Now that that is out of my system…
One of the topics I spend THE MOST time on with clients is HEALTHY FAT. People don’t want to eat it! They are convinced it will make them fat. And rightfully so! Over the years the food industry has done an amazing job at making us fear fat.
Want to lose fat? Eat less fat! Seems simple enough.
But as you know (being the smart little heath enthusiast that you are!) our bodies are the furthest things from simple. So let’s dive in.
Did you know:
Not all fats are created equal
There are a lot of different fats out there, all effecting the body in very different ways. We have been taught that all fat, saturated fats in particular, contribute to heart health, obesity and cancer, but that information is based on studies that were done in the 70’s, and as it turns out, were very poorly controlled and flawed! This article on Be Well has ALL the dirty details.
This makes a lot of sense considering that we have been eating “fat-free” for some time now, yet the epidemic of obesity and diabetes continues to grow at an exponential rate.
With all this said, it is important to know that you are eating HEALTHY FATS (list included below), so don’t go running off and grabbing the next donut because I told you to eat fat. Processed, sugar-ladened foods are still bad for you!! (Sorry.) It’s all about HEALTHY fats – think whole foods that exist in nature!
To back me up, check out “The Truth About Saturated Fat” by Dr. Mercola OR Chris Kresser’s post on The Diet-Heart Myth: Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Are Not the Enemy. Love these guys.
About 60% of your brain is made up of fat
Sixty percent! Hearing this statistic alone makes me want to eat more fat. Like. All. Day. Long. Recent studies have shown that a diet including healthy fats plays a significant role in preventing brain degeneration, for example, in those genetically predisposed to dementia. Similarly, diets low in fat (which usually means high in carbohydrates) have been linked to an increase in cognitive dysfunction and brain deterioration.
Dr. Perlmutter has some great resources regarding this.
Omega-3 supplements can be an additional way to support brain health.
Fat is an essential building block for cell membranes and hormones
Fat is necessary in building healthy hormones and healthy cells. Unfortunately many women experience the affects of imbalanced hormones because they simply aren’t eating enough fat to produce what the body needs! And cells, well, they make up everything in your body… so, yeah, you probably wan’t to make sure your cell membranes are getting all the fat they need to be happy and healthy.
Eating fat helps you feel more satiated.
Most people who are trying to lose weight are starving because they arent eating any fat (and are usually eating and abundance of low-fat foods that are loaded with sugar). Adding a healthy fat to your meals will help you feel more satiated AND keep you feeling full for a longer period of time. Give it a try and see how it feels for your body.
You need fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins
It’s true… Certain vitamins are “fat soluble” which means there needs to be fat present in order for them to be properly absorbed and utilized in the body. Fat soluble vitamins include vitamin A (significant in immune health), vitamin D (significant in immune health, mood and bone health, and its deficiency is linked with MANY diseases of modern society), vitamin E (a strong antioxidant, helping the body fight oxidation and free radicals), and vitamin K (essential for strong bones, helps maintain skin elasticity and supports a healthy brain and heart).
You need to eat fat in order to lose fat.
I know this seems totally crazy and goes against everything we have ever been taught about fat, but in reality our body needs fat to burn fat. Think about it – we need fat to absorb key nutrients and vitamins. Fat helps us feel more satiated and nourished. Healthy fats keep blood sugar balanced (meaning less cravings and snacking throughout the day). When your body is nourished, balanced and well-fed, THAT IS WHEN YOU LOSE WEIGHT. Deprivation and low fat dieting might work short-term, but the body is not able to withstand that way of eating! This is why so many diets fail, because the body is not getting what it needs, and most of the time these diets leave people with more weight then they started out with!
Ugh!! It gets me so frustrated. We have been taught wrong all along, yet somehow we manage to think that WE are the ones who lack willpower and commitment. No. YOUR BODY IS JUST STARVING.
Additionally, all those “fat-free” and “low-fat” foods are anything but “healthy” – when you remove fat from a food, you remove all the flavor, so food companies had to come up with a way to make sure you were still eating their fat-free products. Enter sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavorings, preservatives, chemicals, and many other wonderful substances that our body does not even recognize as food!
Back to the good stuff:
So do you want to hear more about the “healthy fats” that you can enjoy!?
Here are some of my favorites:
organic and unrefined
Nuts and Seeds
preferably raw and unsalted, and includes nut and seed butters!
organic, pasture raised and/or local
organic and from grass fed cows
wild caught (salmon, sardines, mackerel)
Use this seafood guide to determine your best choices in your area.
grass fed beef, organic poultry
Raw/full fat dairy
(this option is not for everyone but can be a great addition for those who tolerate it)
Try your best to get AT LEAST ONE of these healthy fats in at every meal!
There is no one way of eating that is right for everyone. Experiment with healthy fats and see what feels best. Just don’t be scared to eat them!
Additionally, if you’re interested in learning more (and would like to receive support as you integrate health-promoting foods into your own diet), you should check out Find Your Healthy, my 3-month group program focused on helping you discover what HEALTHY means for you!
(This program kicks of November 19th)