More and more research is telling us about the benefits of healthy fats. I’ve been on diets my whole life and am totally conditioned to think fats are bad. So now it’s a real mind bender to include more fats into my diet because I feel guilty about eating it and terrified I’ll easily gain back the weight. In all honesty, I became a vegetarian eater because I felt better eating plant-based foods and animal foods were too rich and fattening which was a way to cut back on calories.
We were led to believe that the best way to burn calories was to Eat Less and Exercise More. Low and no-fat food products and diets fueled our fear with confirming medical reports on the causes of bad cholesterol (LDL) clogging our arteries and increasing our risks of heart disease, cancers and obesity. The accepted body type was skinny and any curves or buxom shapes were not attractive.
The latest research is telling us another story that the above mantra (Eat Less and Exercise More) is not true. We need both food and exercise in tandem. It’s the type of fats we eat and the combination with sugar and refined foods that is the culprit for adding on the pounds and making us sick.
In human experiments, those who ate high-fat diets had a much faster metabolism versus those on the low-fat, high-carb diets which caused a spike in the fat-producing hormone insulin which subsequently slowed their metabolism and increased storage of belly fat. The higher-fat diet group had a faster metabolism, even when eating the same amount of calories.
Healthy fats play an essential role that supports our brain function, reduces inflammation, insulates our cells, thins our blood and burns calories which can result in weight loss.
The building blocks of fat are called fatty acids.
There are different Types of Fats
- Triglycerides – Main component of body fat
- Phospholipids – Part of cell membrane
- Sterols -Main sterol is Cholesterol
And, three types of Fats:
- Ready burned as fuel raising metabolic rate
- Helps maintain blood sugar levels
- Needed for transport of unsaturated fatty acids
- Some saturated fats can cause problems in excess
Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats
- Helps keep arteries flexible
- Help lubricate skin
- Improves brain function
- Effects cholesterol levels
Essential fatty Acids
- Does not get stored as fat
- Increases membrane fluidity and function
- Facilitates oxygen transfer into cell
- Part of DNA
- Recovery from fatigue
|We hear a lot about the benefits of coconut oil (saturated fat), olive oil (monounsaturated fat) and fish oils (Omega 3, EFA’s and polyunsaturated fats). If you would like a breakdown of these types of fats, what they mean with corresponding foods, click on Saturated Fatty Acids for more details.|
Here are some facts:
- Fat is the most abundant body component next to water. While most cells contain 70% water, our fat cells contain up to 70% fat and very little water. Fat and fat cells store more energy for future use.
- Dietary fat contains nine calories per gram, versus the four calories per gram for carbs and protein. The thinking was that if you eat less fat, you will eat fewer calories and you will lose weight but that’s not the case because your body is thinking its starving rather than being fueled. (relevant in hunting times)
- In another study found in brain scans that eating more fat actually shut off our brain’s hunger and craving centers which is the opposite of sugar that triggers insulin (the fat-storing hormone) to crave more. Eating healthy fats can improve your food intake, taste buds and metabolism.
- Healthy saturated fats such as coconut oil is called MCT (medium-chain triglycerides). MCT fats get absorbed directly from the gut into the liver and don’t get stored as fat but rather burns quickly and turns into energy.
- MCT oil is gaining status as a super fuel for your cells, because it boosts fat burning and increases mental clarity. It also is a potent antioxidant and has anti-microbial properties that support your immune system and promotes anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and even anti-viral benefits.
- We need a good balance of Essential Fatty Acids EFA’s with less consumption of Omega 6 fats (found in many foods and calories from sugar, starches and concentrated foods) and more consumption of Omega 3, the healthier fats.
I’m including this quote from Dr. Mark Hyman, author of his recent book Eat Fat Get Thin “Food controls everything. Food affects the expression of your genes that cause or prevent disease. In other words, food literally turns on health genes or disease genes. It tells those genes to store or burn fat. Food influences your hormones, your brain chemistry, your immune system and even your gut flora.”
Recommended fats to eat are avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, extra-virgin coconut butter (organic), organic full-fat coconut milk, flax oil, hemp oil, whole organic eggs, fatty fish (sardines, wild salmon, mackerel or herring), clean, grass-fed lamb, bison, or beef or organic poultry.. You should include fat at each meal.
This is why we need to be conscientious about what foods we put in our body and its affect on our long term health.
- Fats That Heal Fats That Kill, Udo Erasmus, Alive Books (1993)
- Younger Next Year, Chris Crowley, Henry S. Lodge M.D., Workman Publishing, (2007)
- www.drhyman.com, Eat Fat, Get Thin
2 cups coconut oil
5 drops peppermint essential oil or essence
I tbsp raw unpasteurized honey
2 75% dark chocolate bar
Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix together the coconut oil (in solid form), the peppermint oil and honey. Form into 2 inch round patties and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile melt the chocolate bars on a double boiler pan or in a heat proof bowl in a pot of boiling water until liquid. remove the patties from the freezer, dip into the liquid chocolate and place on the other sheet with parchment paper. Place back into the freezer for another 30 minutes for chocolate to harden. Keep in a container in the freezer or take out a few out at a time in the fridge and enjoy as desired.