The history behind our fear
Fat is a word that most people fear. It brings on thoughts of greasy food and bulging bellies.
No one ever told us how important fat is for brain health, hormone production, joint health, digestion, energy production, and much more. Why did such a wonderful, natural, and delicious thing get such a bad rep?
In the 80’s, flawed science caused the government to urge us to avoid fats because it was thought to cause high cholesterol levels, heart disease, and weight gain. However, there was a huge lack of data and other complexities that scientists had not yet discovered. Saturated fats found in eggs and animal products were seen as the enemy. Butter was replaced with margarine, whole milk replaced with skim milk, sugar-laden non-fat yogurt...This is also when convenience foods started to become popular. We started to eat meals from a box, pre-packaged bread full of additives and stabilizers, processed cereals for breakfast...Eating and cooking became more of a burden than the social and enjoyable part of our day.
We all thought we were being so healthy by replacing these natural fats with a more carbohydrate-centric diet. If we were cutting out fat, then why did Americans start to get heavier and heavier? Because the real culprit was the sugar -- the carbohydrates found in all of the bread, cereal, and processed foods we thought were healthy. Contrary to our belief, this sugar is readily converted into fat in the body, often in the midsection area, and causes spikes in blood sugar which is one of the major factors that has lead to the huge increase in diabetes.
I’m not advising you to start slathering your bread with butter and chugging whole milk from the carton. Healthy fats are something that should be included in your daily diet, in moderation of course. Let’s look at some of the benefits of healthy fats:
THE BENEFITS OF HEALTHY FATS
Did you know that your brain is made of at least 60% fat? Every single neuron in your body is surrounded by something called a myelin sheath, which protects the neuron and is responsible for the fast speed of messages sent from one neuron to another. Omega-3 fats (DHA and EPA) are particularly important for brain health.
Fats are essential for hormone production. Cholesterol is a type of fat that is an essential precursor for hormone production. Don’t fear the egg yolks!
Fat’s have to go through a lot more processes before they can be broken down, which results in you feeling satisfied for longer. Fat is also essential for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. When you eat a salad with a fat-free dressing, you are negating so much of the nutrition in the salad and are probably also consuming large amounts of sugar. Eat healthy fats with every meal to keep you fuller longer and to increase your nutrient absorption.
Every cell in your body has an outer layer composed of fat. Fat allows our cells to work efficiently and communicate well with each other. Fat is also an excellent source of energy because it’s effects are long-lasting, unlike sugar and carbohydrates which cause blood sugar spikes and crashes. Including healthy fats in your meals will keep you fuller longer.
- Olive/coconut/avocado oil
- Full-fat coconut milk
- Whole milk yogurt
- Nuts and seeds
- Fatty fish
- Egg yolks