Eating Fat and Why It Matters

I’m not going to lie- growing up I definitely had a fear of eating fat and it took me a really long time to get past the misconception that eating fat will make you fat and needed to be avoided at all costs

 

A child of the 80’s and 90’s, I grew up during a time when low fat was all the rage. I would have my fill of Snackwells (and by ‘my fill’ I mean the whole box- because, hey, they’re fat free!!!), margarine, and fat-free potato chips which were cooked with Olestra, an ingredient that had a very unappealing effect on the body- if you’ve had it, you know what I mean.

 

Back then I would rather die than touch a fat filled avocado or butter or red meat.  But here’s the thing.  Fat is good for us. Like really, really good for us and our country’s fear of fat has led many people to deny their bodies of one of the most essential nutrients for their health.

 

All of our body’s functions and our brain health are dependent on the health of our cell membranes and it so happens that these membranes are mostly composed of FAT—75% phospholipids, 20% cholesterol and 5% glycoplipids to be exact.

 

Healthy fats keep our cell membranes strong, flexible and in communication with their surrounding environments. When our membranes are weak or rigid, we are susceptible to disease and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease, heart disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy, premature aging…the list goes on and on.

 

Problems arise when we are not eating enough fat or when we are eating the wrong kinds of fats. When processed fats (mainly hydrogenated fats, partially hydrogenated fats and unsaturated fats that have become rancid) are eaten they displace the healthy saturated and unsaturated fats in the cells.

 

Eating healthy fats is a strong preventative measure against disease. Here are some quick tips and facts:

 

WHICH FATS SHOULD I INCLUDE IN MY DIET?

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Butter from grass-fed cows (I like Kerrygold brand)
  • Ghee
  • Hemp seeds and Hemp seed oil
  • Pumpkin
  • Avocado and Avocado Oil
  • Walnut Oil
  • Almond Oil
  • Raw nuts
  • Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flaxseed
  • Almond flour/Coconut flour
  • Coconut butter
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Coconut milk
  • Coconut oil
  • MCT oil
  • Egg yolks
  • Fatty cuts of animal meats (preferably organic and nitrate- free to avoid toxicity)
  • Animal Fats (organic or grass-fed Lard, Duck fat, Tallow, Suet)
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, halibut)
  • Full fat yogurt
  • Olives
  • Fish Oil & Cod Liver Oil

 

WHICH FATS SHOULD I AVOID?

  • Hydrogenated
  • Partially Hydrogenated
  • Canola oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Cold PROCESSED (not to be confused with “cold-pressed”)

 

HOW MUCH FAT SHOULD I EAT?

Have at least one serving of fat with each meal. Fat is a great source of fuel and helps keep you feeling satiated for several hours.

 

WON’T I GET FAT FROM EATING FAT?

Eating fat actually helps you LOSE WEIGHT. Here’s why:

 

Fat is very satiating, so, you only need a small amount to stay full for a long time. Unlike carbs, it is a slow burning fuel that does not raise insulin levels. Remember, it’s the insulin that is released when we have unbalanced blood sugar that triggers the creation of fat.

 

NOTE: If you overeat anything it will cause your body to store fat so make sure you listen to your body and stop eating when you feel about 80% full.

 

WHAT ARE SOME SIMPLE WAYS TO GET HEALTHY FATS IN MY DIET?

  • Eat your veggies with guacamole
  • Saute veggies with olive or coconut oil
  • Snack on fat bombs
  • Add avocado, seeds and nuts to salads
  • Drizzle olive oil on salads and roasted veggies
  • Snack on sardines (don’t knock ‘em til you try ‘em)
  • Blend MCT oil, coconut oil or a bit of butter into your coffee
  • Add avocado, MTC oil, or nutbutter to your smoothie
  • Eat the yolks!

 

How do you get those healthy fats in your diet?

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  1. Phil Gephart says:

    Great stuff, Colleen! As always you know how to hit the nail on the head in a concise delivery!

  2. Colleen Flynn says:

    Thanks Phil!

  3. Carol says:

    Thanks Colleen. I always need to be reminded of this. Your lists are a valuable reference source.

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