Why You Shouldn’t Fear Fat
health benefits of fats
+ stop eating fat free
Fats are one of the three macronutrients, and despite what you may have read on the internet, they are a critical part of a healthy diet. Knowing which fats to eat is a key part of this equation. It’s important to differentiate the type of fat – because as you probably know – pizza and avocados aren’t on the same playing field. After I de-myth some stories about fat, I will break down which fats should be readily present in you diet and which fats you should avoid.
why do we fear fat?
In 1967 a study was published that linked saturated fat to obesity and heart disease in an attempt to shift the focus away from sugar. Unfortunately, the USDA food guidelines were greatly influenced by this study. An oversimplified explanation was presented to the public: limit fats. This led the American population into a fat hating frenzy. The food industry to note and had to make a change.
Gone were the days of full-fat yogurt and three ingredient ice cream. Fat had to go.
should you eat fat free?
Upon the removal of these natural fats, a discovery was made, without fat, fatty foods didn’t taste very good. The food manufacturing industry knew of one cheap and easily obtainable ingredient that would make these now fat-free foods taste better: sugar.
During the rise of fat-free, this sweet key ingredient silently became the main addition to the industry. Low-fat foods soon lined grocery market shelves with sugar hidden in an unread list on the label. As a consumer, it’s vital that we read the ingredient list on labels. Low-fat doesn’t mean high health. It often means added sugar. In my opinion, refined sugar is the worst culprit of weight gain.
The trend tends to be when fat is removed then sugar is added. I would pass on any packaged product that claims fat-free. Fats are essential for so many vital bodily functions. I urge you to pick fatty food over a sugar-laden counterpart.
will eating fat make you fat?
The type of fat is an important part of this conversation. Both pizza and avocados are classified as fats. This makes it difficult to answer with a straight “yes” or “no.” Instead of looking at a single macronutrient, such as fat, let’s look at the whole food. Pizza doesn’t deliver many nutritional benefits. In fact, it’s full of trans and saturated fats, sodium, and is a source of refined carbohydrates. On the flip side, an avocado has fiber, vitamin K, folate, and healthy monounsaturated fats. That’s a lot more than pizza can offer.
I actually love pizza. I pick on it because it’s one of my favorites. However, this is not a food that I eat often, and when I do eat pizza I never feel regret, guilt, or shame. But I don’t have a slice every day for lunch. The foods we consistently consume in our diet shape our bodies.
Just as I don’t suggest eating pizza every day – I wouldn’t suggest you eating many trans or saturated fats. However, a healthy diet should have a healthy portion of essential fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. Restricting fats will result in cravings, moodiness, poor blood sugar regulation, weight gain, and lack of satiation.
Don’t do it to yourself. Healthy fats should always be present in your diet. Don’t worry – I’ll make sure to give you a hit list of fats I love and ones you should try to avoid. Just in case you aren’t convinced, here are seven more reasons why you should eat fats all the time.
7 health benefits of eating fats
1. source of energy
Fats deliver the highest amount of energy between the three macronutrients. Fats provide 9 calories per gram whereas carbohydrates and protein have 4 calories per gram.
2. nutrient absorption
Fats help transportation and absorption of nutrient during digestion, especially fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Fatty acids are the main material for prostaglandins which are hormone-like substances that help to regulate bodily functions such as controlling blood pressure, blood clotting, and inflammation. Fats are also needed for the production of sex hormones.
4. cell rigidity
Fats help to form the phospholipid bilayer which is a crucial part of the cell membrane. It basically gives structure to our cells walls.
5. nerve function
Fats are part myelin sheaths that surround all of our nerves. Myelin sheaths protect our nerves and without them, our nerves couldn’t properly send electrical messages to your brain.
Maintains healthy hair, skin, and nails – without fats, our skin will be lackluster and our hair and nails will be brittle.
7. insulation and protection
Fat helps to regulate body temperature and keeps organs insulated and serves as a protective layer.