Fat: Is it Bad for Me?
Dietary fat: is it good or bad? Well, that all depends upon the fat.
The Skinny on Fats
Do you remember decades ago when the US government told us to cut back on dietary fats in order to avoid chronic illnesses like diabetes, obesity and heart disease? But why has the obesity rate more than doubled since 1980 if Americans reduced the amount fats they ate? Because they learned later that not all fats are created equal!
Heavily processed, hydrogenated “trans” fats used in prepared, packaged foods can be extremely damaging to the body. But for some reason, that doesn’t stop people from enjoying french fries, donuts, fried chicken and so many processed foods laden with trans fats. These fats can compromise the cardiovascular system, immune system, and contribute to behavior problems. They can also lead to problems with weight gain, skin breakouts, high blood pressure, and liver strain, just to name a few.
That said, our bodies need healthy fats for insulation, vitamin and mineral absorption, optimum brain health and to protect our organs. High-quality, healthy fats can steady our metabolism, keep hormone levels even, nourish our skin, hair, and nails, and provide lubrication to keep the body functioning fluidly. In other words, we need to consume the good fats and stop eating all the bad fats.
Where to Find Healthy Fats:
- Avocados, olives, and coconuts are great sources of healthy fat, along with wild caught salmon and omega-3 rich organic eggs.
- Whole, (preferably raw) nuts and seeds, and their butters, like almond butter or tahini
- Look for the highest-quality organic oils when shopping. Words to look for: organic, first-pressed, cold-pressed, extra-virgin, and unrefined << this is very important. Avoid expeller-pressed, refined, and solvent extracted.
Know your oils!
- Saturated fats – mostly animal fats, solid at room temperatures (butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, egg yolks, lard and fatty meats)
- 3 types of unsaturated fats – Monounsaturated Fats – usually from seeds or nuts such as avocado, olive, peanut, and canola oils. They stay liquid at room temperature. Polyunsaturated Fats – usually from vegetables, seeds, or nuts sunflower, corn oil, soybean, safflower, cotton seed oil, and sesame seeds. They stay liquid at room temperature. Trans Fatty Acids – usually produced when liquid oil is turned into a solid hydrogenated fat, like shortening or margarine. Trans fats can raise your cholesterol level.
How to Use Healthy Fats:
For cooking at high temperatures (stir frying and baking), try butter, ghee (clarified butter), or coconut oil.
- When sautéing foods, try organic extra virgin olive oil or pure organic, unrefined coconut oil. Save the good, unrefined olive oil for use at the table in salads and drizzling over vegetables.
- Oils like flaxseed, sesame, toasted sesame, walnut, and pumpkin seed are best used unheated in sauces or dressings. These oils should also remain refrigerated.
Try this delicious, easy recipe.
Get even healthier!
Want help learning how to choose and use nutritious fats and other good-for-you foods? Curious about how wellness coaching can help you make your own healthy changes? Let’s talk! I will help you create a completely personalized “road map to health” that suits your unique body, lifestyle, preferences, and goals. Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about!