5 Reasons To Make Fat Your BFF
Written By: Sheree Trask
For years we’ve been told that fat is bad. “Fat-free”, “low-fat” and “nonfat” have been deemed “healthy alternatives”. In reality, we need fat – the good fat – in our diets to protect our heart, manage our moods, increase cognitive function/memory, fight fatigue and even control our weight. The problem is that as a society, we eat far too much of the “bad” fats (trans, saturated animal fat) and not enough of the “good” fats (polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, saturated vegetable fats). It’s time we de-bunk this outdated theory and get the skinny on the age-old fat debate…
Fat won’t make you fat… but extra junk in your diet will.
Good fats include essential fatty acids, which are fats that our bodies cannot produce, so it’s important that we get these fats from our diet or supplements. A big one is omega 3 fatty acids – EPA and DHA – which are the active ingredients in fish oil supplements. Good food sources for omega 3’s are: sardines, fish such as wild-caught salmon, halibut and tuna, walnuts, ground flax seeds, beans, olive oil and grass-fed beef. Two of my favorite omega 3 supplement brands are Carlson’s Omega-3 Liquid Fish Oil and Green Pasture’s Blue Ice Royal Butter Oil / Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend. *Note: 3 grams is considered a therapeutic dose, meaning it assists with the healing process as it pertains to inflammation in our body. Anything less is considered a maintenance dose.
Types of Fat
Healthy saturated vegetable fats – not to be confused with the saturated animal fat – can be found in avocados, coconuts (in the form of oil, milk, butter, raw) and clarified butter (ghee). When cows eat grass, their meat is filled with healthy omega-3 fats, which we benefit from when we eat their meat. But when cows eat corn, their meat is filled with inflammatory saturated fats, which then cause inflammation in our bodies when we eat it.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats – both are considered healthy fats because they help lower your cholesterol levels, which can help lower your risk of heart disease. Unsaturated fats also have fewer calories than saturated fats. Nuts, seeds, avocados, vegetable oil and fish oil all contain the good – unsaturated – fats.
5 Fat Myths, De-Bunked
- Myth: All fats are equal – and are equally bad for you.
Fact: Saturated animal fats and trans fats are bad for you because they raise your cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease. But monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease.
- Myth: Lowering the amount of fat you eat is what matters the most.
Fact: Eating the RIGHT fats, rather than focusing solely on the total amount in your diet, is what matters most when it comes to your cholesterol and health. The key is to eat more good fats and less bad fats.
- Myth: Fat-free means healthy.
Fact: A “fat-free” label doesn’t mean you can eat all you want without consequences to your waistline. Many fat-free foods are high in sugar, refined carbohydrates and calories, all of which contribute to increased inflammation and ultimately, weight gain.
- Myth: Eating a low-fat diet is the key to weight loss.
Fact: The obesity rates for Americans have doubled in the last 20 years, coinciding with the low-fat revolution. Healthy fats are good for your brain and your immune system and they are also filling, which can can help curb overeating. And healthy fat + healthy protein can also curb carbohydrate and sugar cravings. This powerful combo (fat + protein) = energy, which is usually what carb/sugar cravings really mean. Not to mention, simple carbs are converted to sugar in the body, which again, increases inflammation and chances for disease. What the body needs is energy, not crap.
- Myth: All body fat is the same.
Fact: Where you carry your fat matters. The health risks are greater if you tend to carry your weight around your abdomen. A lot of belly fat is stored deep below the skin surrounding the abdominal organs and liver, and is closely linked to insulin resistance and diabetes.
So for goodness sake, FitLifer, EAT THE FAT!!! Just make sure it’s the right kind. Healthy fats are imperative to so many functions in your body so do yourself a favor and savor every last bite (without any guilt)!
Certified Holistic Health and Lifestyle Coach; Writer and Editorial Director
It was through her own personal health journey with misdiagnosis and multiple autoimmune diseases that she found her purpose, which is to help educate, empower and encourage others to live a happy, healthy and fulfilling life. Sheree uses a whole-body approach to healing, focusing on food as medicine, positive mindset, daily movement, stress management, optimal sleep and spirituality. She specializes in a holistic approach to healing autoimmune diseases, with a focus on gut health.
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