HEALTH AND FAT – THE DICHOTOMY OF THE TERMS

The word fat still conjures up a negative image with most people; however, “fat” in our diet is not just essential as a macronutrient, but new evidence shows that “healthy” fats ( saturated and unsaturated) in our food has been overwhelmingly underrated and admonished.

The thinking of “eat fat gain fat” is giving way to a new, more nuanced understanding of dietary fats.  Here are some facts: The body needs fat for many important cellular functions; Fat facilitates the absorption of certain fat-soluble vitamins, such as A and D; Fat is a source of energy for our body, it insulates us, and it provides cushioning to our organs;  Fat is a building block of our cell membranes. (think of how dry your skin would be without it); and, fat  increases metabolism and  fat-burning, decreases  appetite, and does not cause spikes of insulin.  And surprisingly, new evidence is showing there is no link between dietary cholesterol and heart disease as we were taught in the past.

In addition to the many benefits of fat, shortages of fat can lead to problems, such as, hormone deficiency, depression, dry skin, fatigue, and poor recovery after exercise.  For the average person, 30% of daily caloric intake should be from fat -ideally, omega 3’s- the rock star of all fats.  Animal fats should be kept to about 1/3 of that 30% intake (10% of daily intake), with the balance of fat coming from plant-based foods (e.g., nuts and oils)

Here are my top choices for healthy fats in your daily diet:

HEALTHY SATURATED FATS;                         HEALTHY MONO-UNSATURATED FATS;

Red meat- grass fed                                                         Olive oil

Coconut oil                                                                       Canola oil

Butter                                                                                Nuts

Milk                                                                                   Avocados

Cheese

Seafood

Poultry

 

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