Fat fat fat, its almost seen as a swear word. The poor thing has the worst reputation and for all the wrong reasons. What if I told you that fat can promote metabolism and fat-burning, hormone production, and weight loss.
Fat is essential to brain health
Did you know that brain tissue is made up of nearly 60% fat?(1) A diet low in fat actually robs your brain of the materials it needs to function properly.
I’m not just talking about the essential fatty acids and omega 3’s that are making all the headlines (fats found in food like salmon, avocados and nuts) but also some of the saturated fats which we have been told for years to avoid, including natural animal fats.
Essential vitamins such as A, D, E and K are not water soluble and require fat to get transported and absorbed by the body. These vitamins are crucial for brain health and many of our vital organs.
Vitamin D is now being widely touted as an important element in decreasing susceptibility to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression and other brain disorders and omega 3 is said to sharpen your cognitive function as well as to improve your mood.
Fat keeps your lungs working properly
Our lungs are coated with a substance composed almost entirely of saturated fat. Premature babies who are lacking this substance are given something called “surfactant” to keep their lungs functioning properly.
Without enough saturated fat, our lungs can be compromised. Some studies are now looking at the link between the low consumption of saturated fat and Asthma as a result of the breakdown of this fatty layer.
Fat boosts your immune system
Dr. Michael and Dr. Mary Eades in their book Good Calories, Bad Calories write about the role that saturated fats found in butter and coconut oil play in immune health stating that the “loss of sufficient saturated fatty acids in the white blood cells hampers their ability to recognize and destroy foreign invaders, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi”.
Fat keeps your largest organ healthy
Fat makes up the bulk of the cellular membrane and our skin is made up of a very large number of cells. Without the proper consumption of fat, our skin can become dry and chapped sometimes it can give us acne, which can also open up pathways for infection to enter our bodies.
Fat is good for your heart
Many studies have been done on the benefits of eating saturated fats, fats we have been told to avoid for the last 50 or so years. One study in particular focused on a population in the Pacific Isles who eat up to 60% of their diet in the form of saturated coconut oil and have shown practically no incident of heart disease.
Also, fat provides twice the caloric energy as carbs – 9 calories per gram versus 4 calories per gram. So not only will it sustain you energy for a longer time but will also help you to eat less as it keeps the body satisfied.
But stay away from trans-fats. These are the true evil monsters made by adding hydrogen atoms to saturated fat during the heating process. These manipulated fats do nothing but make bad foods last longer on the shelf.
So grab a handful of walnuts, enjoy a piece of salmon cooked up in some olive oil and butter and add a little coconut oil to your morning smoothie. Start shifting your diet today, and get those good fats back into your diet.
Fats Can Help You Lose Weight
Adding fats to your diet, while cutting back on carbs, can be the secret to getting lean. This is another lesser-known fact why fat is good for you. At Sepalika, we are staunch supporters of the LCHF or Low Carb-High Fat diet, which helps improve insulin senstivity, and lose weight. Good fats help mobilize stored fats to be used for energy, improve insulin function, and provide satiety which helps with appetite control. Eat a meal laden with good fats and you will feel full faster and for much longer. And because fats take far longer to digest when compared to carbs, you will eat smaller portions and not get hungry anytime soon after your meal.
However not all fats are good! This part gets a little confusing so I have made it simple. There are two groups of fats: saturated and unsaturated. Let's start with the good guys -- the unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats include polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. Both mono- and polyunsaturated fats, when eaten in moderation and used to replace saturated or trans fats, can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. Now on to the bad guys. There are two types of fat that should be eaten sparingly: saturated and trans fatty acids. Both can raise cholesterol levels, clog arteries, and increase the risk for heart disease.
Not always but in most cases unsaturated fats come from plants and saturated fats come from animals. Below I have a list of examples.
Unsaturated Fats (Good Fats)
Olive, peanut, and canola oils
Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans
Seeds such as pumpkin and sesame seeds
Sunflower, corn, soybean, and flaxseed oils
Saturated Fats (to be had in moderation)
Pizza and cheese
Whole and reduced fat milk, butter and dairy desserts
Meat products (sausage, bacon, beef, hamburgers)
Cookies and other grain-based desserts
A variety of mixed fast food dishes