We talk a lot about fat here at Rosa Transformational Health. And we often get blank stares and inquisitive looks when we recommend that people eat a significant amount of their daily intake of food as good, healthy fats.
The USDA and our doctors (and basically everybody else) have told us for almost 40 years that fat is “bad.” That fat makes us fat. That fat gives us heart disease. That if we could just eliminate fat from our diets, we would be slim and healthy. Fat is gross. There has been a long line of derisive words for fat.
Newer science tells us that it is just not true – but when something has become “common knowledge,” studies and science don’t really matter. Everyone knows that fat is bad for you, right?
Well, let’s look at the evidence. The USDA started recommending a low-fat and low-saturated fat diet around 1980. Since then, the population of the US has definitely decreased their fat intake. We have followed all the nutrition advice we have gotten from the USDA. We eat more carbohydrates and less fat, just as the food pyramid told us to do, but has it helped us lose weight as a nation? (In case you’re not aware, the answer is no.) Has it helped reduce heart attacks? (no) Has it increased our health in any way? (again, no)
What does fat do for us?
- Fat is necessary for cells. The cell membrane is made entirely of fat, and science has shown that the membrane of each cell (even more than the nucleus) is the most important part of the cell. Without the membrane, the cell will disintegrate and die.
- Fat is necessary for brain health. Recent studies have linked low-fat diets to a higher incidence of dementia, brain fog, migraine headaches, and even Alzheimer’s.
- It reduces hunger and cravings. Fat is very satiating, and many people find when they increase their fat intake, they actually reduce the number of calories they eat per day. They can also go longer between meals, so that their body can use leptin well.
- It could reduce risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Fat doesn’t require insulin to be used by cells. Therefore eating more fat and fewer carbohydrates means you need less insulin, and your body may not become as resistant to insulin.
- It helps us absorb vitamins. Certain vitamins are “fat soluble” meaning they need fat to be absorbed. These are some very important vitamins like A,D, K, and E.
- It helps keep skin healthy and well hydrated. Dry, flaky skin can be a sign of not enough fat in the diet.
- It helps keep us warm. Both bodily and dietary fat help us regulate our temperature.
So how do I get enough fat in my diet?!?
There is no reason to get too crazy about counting fat, but be sure at each meal and snack – you have a healthy serving of fat. This might look like:
- Adding a tablespoon of almond butter or coconut butter to a morning shake.
- Putting an avocado and olive oil on your salad at lunch.
- Cooking your vegetables with coconut oil.
- Putting butter on your vegetables (just like mom used to.)
- Eating 1/2 can of sardines for lunch (sardines have a wonderful amount of Omega 3 fatty acids. Super healthy!)
- Eating a handful of nuts or seeds as a snack.
- Bacon for breakfast! (Look for uncured, sugar-free bacon)
- Bulletproof a hot drink. Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of ghee to your coffee or coffee substitute (Dandy Blend, Teeccino, etc.)
- Chia “pudding”
What about “bad fats” and “good fats?”
We always recommend staying away from trans fats – which occur when vegetable oils are heated. Be aware that companies are allowed to advertise as 0 grams trans fat when they have less than 1 gram of trans fat per serving. So, some products have simply reduced the serving size to get to that magic number, so that on the label it can say “Trans Fat: 0 grams.”
We also recommend steering clear of vegetable oils, because of their opportunity to turn to trans fats. Corn oil, vegetable oil, canola oil are all heavily processed. This is why we are not telling anyone to go out and get fried potatoes or fried anything really. Most fried foods are made in vegetable oils.
A mix of saturated and unsaturated fats is important because our body needs both kinds of fat.
- Coconut Oil/Butter/Manna
- Nuts & Seeds (including flax seed and chia seed)
- Avocado Oil
- Olive Oil (not for high heat)
- Fatty fish
Many people feel much better when they add in some more fat. Join us for one of our free webinars to learn more!