Remember in the 90’s when we had big hair and shoulder pads? And thought that fat should be avoided at all costs? If something could be made low fat, it was. And we didn’t even mind that the product was tasteless, because we were healthy!
Now back to my schpiel that “Food is Fuel” and “All the Macronutrients have a job to do.” Let’s stop villianizing fat.
Let’s also clear up something that seems to confuse people. Dietary fat and body fat are not the same thing. Eating dietary fat does not cause you to get fat. (At least not by itself– an improper diet is to blame for that.) In fact, if you are trying to lose weight, eating dietary fat may be your best friend. I’ll tell you why in a second.
Dietary fat has work to do. One of its main jobs is to help transport your fat soluble vitamins, which are A, E, D, and K. Without fat, these vitamins can’t do their jobs.
But dietary fat not only provides flavor, it’s responsible for your feeling satisfied, which means if you eat it regularly and in proper proportions, your self discipline doesn’t have to work as hard. When you aren’t getting fat in your diet, you may tend to want to graze, even though you’re not actually hungry. You may also find yourself cold, and with aching joints. Your skin and hair may also be dull and dry. Please also pay attention here. The right kind of fats (your polys and monos) will raise your good cholesterol, which will make your doctor happy, not lecture-y.
The other thing that’s helpful about a certain type of fat (well, fatty acid) is that it can reduce systemic inflammation. Systemic inflammation is part and parcel with not only autoimmune diseases, but also feelings of fatigue and joint aches, among other things. Omega 3’s help reduce inflammation in the body, and are found in fatty fish like salmon, and nuts. If you’re a client of mine, and I’ve ever talked to you about Fish Oil, this is why. Likely you’ve told me about some nagging joint issue like a knee problem, and I know from talking to you that you’re eating a lot more Omega 6’s (which promote inflammation) than you are Omega 3’s. Most people eating a Standard American Diet are eating about a 1:20 ratio of Omega 3’s to Omega 6’s. You probably want the net net on fats, and don’t have the attention span for all the complicated details. I aim to please!
Eat these foods:
- Lean meats (poultry, fish, etc)
- nuts and seeds (cashews, pecans, peanuts, peanut butter, almonds, etc. Walnuts are high in Omega 3’s.)
- olives, olive oil
- coconut oil
Limit these (ie enjoy in moderation– not every day!):
- Fatty cuts of meats
- full fat dairy
Don’t even think about it:
- Trans fats– you know better! Companies are beginning to use these less thanks to some new guidelines, but for now you still need to watch!
- Vegetable oils– (ok, or at the very least save them for your baking. DO NOT use them for cooking or stirfying etc. They break down with heat, and become dangerous to your body. I pretty much use olive or coconut oil for most things.)
Strive for this:
Aim for 20-30% of your daily calories in the form of healthy fats. But, remember, fat has 9 calories per gram, so it’s very dense. It doesn’t take a lot to get you to your goal!
In tomorrow’s post:
Can’t imagine why I’d bother to include something as small as posture in this series? Bet you don’t know everything it affects!