One of the food trends that have been the most detrimental to our health has been the advent of the low-fat diet. Not only has the rate of obesity spiked since this revolution, but more and more Americans are suffering from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and allergies. With the rise of food giants and the industrial revolution, the low-fat message has been reinforced by the food industry. At the same time, “heart-healthy” vegetable oils and margarine have been mass-produced and advertised by food manufacturer, while quality fats that our ancestors have been eating for years in good health have been demonized.
I myself haven been so afraid to eat fat (even avocados!) for the longest time and it was during this time that I was experiencing constant hunger and a weak immune system. It was when I started incorporating more healthy fats and getting rid of bad fats that I noticed myself having more energy, being more satiated, and feeling better overall, and even my seasonal allergies disappeared.
With all the various labels of fats like saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, it’s easy to get confused about what is healthy and unhealthy. However, it’s important to note that all these fats are important to our body IN BALANCE. It’s when these fats are improperly prepared and consumed in disproportionate amounts that they wreak havoc in our bodies. Also, contrary to popular belief a fairly high percentage of good fats (about 30% of your daily diet) are required for optimum health.
Roles of Fats
There are numerous important roles that an adequate consumption of quality fats play. Some of these are fats:
- Provide a stable source of energy and promote weight loss.
- Are building blocks of cell membranes and hormones.
- Are required for the secretion of bile, therefore ensuring proper digestion.
- Are required for absorption of fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, K.
- Are required for the adequate use of proteins.
- Serve as a protective lining for the organs of the body.
- Are necessary for our brains to develop and function properly.
- Make food taste good!
I love that last one because it’s so true. If you can’t get your kids (or yourself) to eat steamed broccoli, trying dumping a tablespoon or 2 of butter on top, and it’s much more palatable and even better for them!
The sources of your fat are also extremely important. The best quality fats that modern nutrition is missing out on are butter, coconut oil, and animal fats from pastured animals. These are part of the nourishing traditional foods that our ancestors thrived on. Here are some of my favorite sources of fats that are constantly stocked in my kitchen:
Not pictured, I would also include ghee and raw dairy. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are less stable than saturated which is why I don’t use them as much, but they can be used healthily if they are properly packaged and prepared. I plan to do another post on picking out the best quality monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
While certain fats are necessary for us to thrive on, there are certain fats that we should 100% avoid at all costs if we can help it.
The above fats have zero benefits to our health and the consumption of these fats is a leading cause of diseases and illnesses in the modern world. As you should do with all your grocery purchases, always check the labels for these ingredients. You can easily find them in baked goods, chips, creamers, margarine, packaged snack items, fried foods, refrigerated dough, vegetable oil, and canola oil. There are so many wonderful fats and foods out there and you shouldn’t sacrifice your money and your health on these chemically produced items.
It’s time to forget the engraved notion that fat makes us fat. Quality fat makes food more flavorful and keeps us feeling satisfied, while reducing our cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates.