I know it sounds crazy “eat fat to be fit” but there’s truly a lot of truth that statement. It appears as a nation we’ve been bamboozled into thinking that fat is the major culprit of obesity, heart disease and even diabetes. But according to numerous studies and biochemical logic, its all a myth.
In fact, fat is the hero nutrient because it serves so many vital functions in the body, not to mention it tastes great and helps make you feel satiated or full so you don’t overeat especially in between meals. Here are the facts:
WHY FATS ROCK!
Dispelling the fat myth…
Fat is the building block of cells, and hormones like estrogen, testosterone, (sex hormones), it improves thyroid function and is critical for healthy brain function (did you know the brain is 60% fat?)
Fat helps absorb much needed fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K (which cannot be absorbed without the presence of fat), helps protect and cushion your organs from blunt trauma and repairs artherial blood vessels damaged by chronic insulin spikes caused by the intake of sugar, refined starch and flours.
Best of all, fat supplies energy to the body after glucose is burned off to speed metabolism so you lose weight.
HOW FAT MAKES YOU FIT
Fat can make you fit in several ways including:
Burns body fat
Lowering carbohydrate intake in the form of breads, pastas, rice, crackers, pastries and even some grains like corn and wheat will lower insulin levels, which according to Bodybuilding.com will enable your body to “more readily access fat stores for energy while also allowing fat [not sugar] to enter and fuel your muscles”. It actually alters your body’s ability to burn fat.
Fat fills you up
Consuming high fat, low carbohydrate (sugar) actually helps you stay fuller for longer periods of time so you wind up eating and snacking less throughout the day. Raise your hand if you’ve ever polished off a an order of fried rice, a buttered bagel or whole box of crackers and still felt hungry shortly thereafter? Adding some fat to a well balanced meal such as vegetable stirfry in coconut oil with quinoa ( ) or brown rice topped with avocado can make a delicious, nutritious and filling meal that will leave you feeling full thus not inclined to snack on junk food. This is the primary reason that traditional diets don’t work –you’re always hungry. Think nutrient rich, varied diet and the calories will take care of themselves.
Fat feeds your fat burning cells
a biochemistry perspective, your fat cells (adipose tissue) release a hormone called adiponectin which according to LiveStrong.com “increases the use of fatty acids for feul” which can speed up your metabolism. On the contrary low levels of adiponectin are associated with Type 2 Diabetes.
WHICH FATS DO I CHOOSE?
Unlike people, all fats are not created equal!
It is important to distinguish between what is known as “good fat” and “bad fat”. Fats fall into primarily 3 categories: Saturated, unsaturated (polyunsaturated/monounsaturated), and transfats.
Saturated fats traditionally vilified by the food and drug industry) are solid like those found in butter, cheese, animal fats, coconut oil. Here’s the key: Look for cold pressed coconut oil (one of the best sources of saturated fats) instead of refined or expeller. If consuming meat, dairy or eggs choose organic, pastured, grass fed. Olive oil, avocados, walnuts, raw nuts, are all great sources as well.
Unsaturated fall into two categories: Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated whch are liquied at room temperature. Monounsaturated are some of healthiest fats whose sources include olive oil, olives, almonds, cashews, peanut butter (organic preferably), sesame seeds, and avocados. Polyunsaturated fats are the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde variety since they contain among the healthiest (Omega 3’s) like salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts, flaxseed, walnuts and not so healthy vegetable oils such as soybean, safflower, corn, cottonseed classified as Omega 6 or PUFA’s polyunsaturated fats. These oils are missing (unsaturated) their hydrogen bonds which makes them chemically unstable and prone to spoil in high heat, light conditions.
Transfats are those fats that are transformed chemically through the injection of hydrogen and are classified as carcinogens, similar to arsenic and cyanide. And includes foods such crackers, cakes, cookies, donuts, pizza dough, and vegetable oils heated to excessively high temperatures.
HOW THE OILS FALL INTO O3 AN O6 CATEGORIES
These fats fall into 2 primary categories –Omega 3 which are your______and Omega 6 which are your________. It is important to have balance of these fats at a 1:1 or even 1:2 ratio, but unfortunately we as Americans tend to end up more in the 1:30 range through all of the “vegetable” oils and ______we consume which cause inflammation in the body –the precursor to ALL disease including diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, obesity, cancer.
WHICH FATTY MEAL WOULD YOU LIKE?
Eating fat can really be fun. How about an avocado, tomato, red onions, cilantro and baby sandwich on whole grain bread with olive oil. The fat in the avocado slows down the conversion of the grain into sugar. Or, chopped kale salad, apple, walnuts, cranberries, olive oil, avocado, boiled egg; salad dressing: splash with lime, olive oil, raw honey, sea salt and pepper. How about some homemade cinnamon spice oatmeal cookies made with coconut oil instead of butter? Hmmm…doesn’t sound like deprivation to me.
Who say you can’t have fun with fat? So if you’re a foodie like me but you want to stay fit and healthy, try a couple of these recipies and create your own fatty meals –HEALTHY fatty meals, that is, don’t forget to exercise and prepare to eat fat and stay fit!