Fat has been quite the hot topic of conversation over the last few years. Time Magazine shocked the world with it’s cover photo in 2014 with a scoop of butter on the front saying, “Eat Butter. Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong”. I remember when that magazine came out and thinking to myself, “DUH! Everyone know’s that by now!”, but boy was I wrong and clearly consumed by the nutrition-bubble I live in.
I was ignorant at the time to think that somehow 60+ years of poor nutrition research and false claims about fat would magically dissappear from people’s memories, and somehow everyone would turn to holistic health and ground breaking research for answers. I did, so everyone else would… right? WRONG.
It’s 2019 and there’s still strong opinions, worries, and thoughts about fat. But WHY?
To understand WHY fat was vilified in the first place is to jump into a deep, deep rabbit hole of information and deceit, tracing back to the 1950’s when Ancel Keys claimed saturated fat caused heart disease. At the time, his research seemed quite convincing and it paved the path for the “Low- Fat” nutrition craze for decades to come.
It has since been exposed that Ancel Key’s research was flawed, his data was manipulated to make fat the enemy, and he was taking large sums of money from the sugar industry to prove such information. Why? Because if you remove fat from food, it becomes essentially tasteless. Likewise, food companies started adding sugars to processed foods to make them palatable, all the while obesity and heart disease started to skyrocket. Check out this graph, and keep in mind the first dietary guidelines for Americans were published in 1977, almost at the exact same time the obesity epidemic started.
Source: National Center for Health Statistics (US). Health, United States, 2008: With Special Feature on the Health of Young Adults. Hyattsville (MD): National Center for Health Statistics (US); 2009 Mar. Chartbook.
Side note: If any of you studied Research Methods in college like I did, you know just how easy it can be to manipulate various research methods to provide you with the exact outcome you want.
Even though science has proven Ancel’s 60+-year old “research” to be blatantly wrong and all of this dirty history has been uncovered, many people are still stuck in the dogma of the old nutrition world that preaches “fat will make you fat!”
So, if you’re one of those people on the fence wondering if fat really will make you fat, and maybe you’re still afraid to add more into your diet- lets chat about the top 5 ways fat is necessary for optimal health!
- Fat is necessary for proper hormone conjugation, especially cholesterol. Cholesterol is the precursor to five major steroid hormones including estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, and testosterone. Without adequate fats, we’re likely to have hormonal imbalances- especially as women. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK22339/)
- Out of the three macronutrients (Carbs, Fats, Proteins) fats spike blood sugar the least. Being on the “blood sugar rollercoaster” (hitting very low blood glucose then grabbing something carb-heavy to bring blood glucose back up super high and so on all day long) has been linked to multiple health challenges, especially diabetes. Fats in our diet keeps our blood sugar levels in the normal range without bumping in and out of range all day long and causing stress for the entire body.
- Fats help slow down the absorption of carbohydrates. Because fat slows down carbohydrate digestion, they in turn help to keep our insulin and blood glucose levels in normal range in yet another way. Next time you grab some gluten-free bread, throw some grass-fed butter on it!
- Fats help our bodies assimilate and absorb fat-soluble vitamins A,D,E, and K. Fats are necessary for optimal fat- soluble vitamin absorption. The word “fat-soluble” literally means “dissolved in fats”, meaning these vitamins are absorbed WITH fats in the diet. Many forms of vitamins A, D, E and K are found in vegetables, so pairing your high-quality fats with veggies can make vitamins more bioavailable. Another reason to eat fat with every meal!
- Fat is a necessary building block for every single cell in your body. Every cell in your body is surrounded by a phospholipid bilayer, which functions as the cell membrane structure. Without fat, our cells don’t exist.
So we’ve chatted about benefits of fat.. but what TYPES of fat are best? Not all fats are created equal. Quality is more important than quantity.
Here’s a list of fats you should be adding to your diet TODAY!
- MCT Oil: derived from coconut oil, Medium Chain Triglycerides are extremely efficient forms of ATP (energy) for the body. Since MCT’s don’t require a carrier protein to be brought into the cell to be created for ATP, the energy output process is much faster than most nutrients. (Suggested: Nutiva brand from Natural Grocers)
- Grassfed Butter: full of gut-healing butyric acid, fat soluble vitamins, and trace minerals (Suggested: Kerrygold brand from Natural Grocers)
- Natural Grocers Pasture-raised Eggs: EAT THE YOLKS! Full of hormone-healthy cholesterol, B vitamins, minerals, and beta carotene (what makes them so orange!)
- Natural Grocers Coconut Oil: Full of MCT’s and known to have antimicrobial properties. Also- great at kick-starting fat burning because of the high amount of MCT’s! Great smoking point- safe to cook at high temperatures and wont denature the fatty acid structure.
- Avocado Oil– great for high temperature cooking, full of antioxidants. (Suggested- Primal Kitchen brand at Natural Grocers)
- Natural Grocers Extra Virgin Olive Oil– great for cooler temperature recipes like salad dressings, full of antioxidants similar to avocado oil, but is a more delicate fatty acid. Best and most effective if not heated.
- Omega3 Fatty Acids– Necessary for proper inflammatory response of the body, prostaglandin formation, tissue repair, and brain function. (Suggested- Barleans Omega Swirl Key Lime at Natural Grocers)
Questions? Leave a comment!
This post is sponsored and paid for by Natural Grocers, a local grocery store I visit frequently and truly love! All opinions are my own.