Today I wanted to write about Fat because it’s one of those food groups has been demonized for so long.
And there is so much confusion surrounding it.
I grew up when fat was to be avoided. I drank skim milk and low fat cheese and all those types of foods. However new research has changed the way I think completely about fat! Here’s the low down.
What is Fat?
Fat doesn’t actually make you fat.
Chemically all fats are made up of hydrogen, oxygen & carbon atoms arranged in different orders. The more carbon atoms there are in a fatty acid the longer chain will be. There are short chain fatty acids, medium chain fatty acids & long chain fatty acids.
There are four main types of fats:
- Saturated fats – animals foods, full fat dairy & coconut products
- Mono-unsaturated fats – vegetable oils
- Poly-unsaturated fats – vegetable oils
- Trans fats – junk foods
A saturated fat has each carbon atom bonded to two hydrogen atoms, a mono-unsaturated fat has a carbon bonded to only one hydrogen atom and double bonded to another carbon atom and a poly-unsaturated fat has more than one of these double bonds. A trans fat is an artificially manipulated version of an unsaturated fat.
Why You Need Fat
Your cell membranes are made predominantly of fat. Your cells need fat to function at a healthy level so that you have the energy you need to perform at your best all day.
Healthy fats also help:
- Keep your skin soft
- Deliver fat soluble vitamins throughout your body
- Essential for brain health
- Help you maintain a healthy weight
- Helps you balance hormones
- Promotes healthy cells
- Helps your cells repair and recover while sleeping
- Give you energy
- Reduce risk of chronic disease
- Help you feel satiated and great!
Ok so what are these good fats we should be getting more of?
Here are some awesome sources of healthy fats that you should try and add to your diet:
- Grass-fed butter
- Coconut oil
- Fish oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Full fat dairy
- Virgin olive oil
- Virgin palm oil
- Raw nuts
- Free range eggs
- Fish especially, salmon tuna & sardines
- Hemp seeds
- Grass fed meats
And what are the bad fats we should avoid?
Good fats help your cells function optimally however bad fats cause inflammation in your cells and can be contributors to all sorts of chronic diseases.
The fats that you really want to avoid are all hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and trans fats. These fats especially the hydrogenated vegetables oils are in everything! Almost all packaged foods have some of these oils in there. So where possible stay away from processed foods with any of the following on the label
- Vegetable oil (this never means extra virgin olive oil)
- Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated anything
- Peanut oil
- Safflower oil
- Soybean oil
- Canola oil
- Sunflower oil
- Corn oil
- Cottonseeds oil
Other bad fats to stay away from include any trans fats (just avoid junk foods) any butter substitutes like margarine and any other processed vegetables oils.
Highly processed vegetables oils cause hormone disruption, gut problems, weight gain, brain fog and fatigue. And from 1909 to 1993 vegetable oils consumption rose from 2g per person to more than 30g per person in the US. As did a whole range of diseases and obesity rates.
Remember food is information and what you eat affects how the cells communicate with your whole body. So get in some healthy fats today and avoid the not so healthy ones!
Your challenge for today is to get some healthy fats into your diet! Need some recipe ideas? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll be happy to recommend some of my favorites!!
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