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Why You Need Fat In Your Diet to Be Healthy

By Edited Feb 24, 2016 0 0

There are three types of macronutrients, the types of food we need to consume for growth and development. These are carbohydrates, fats, and protein. We cannot go without one or the other of these macronutrients for any period of time without risk.

It is a common misconception that dietary fats (fat in food) cause us to gain weight and increase our risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and other health concerns. In fact, fats are a necessary part of our diet. Consider that our brains are made up of about 60% fat, specifically DHA, a type of omega-3 fat.

Also, fats from animal and vegetable sources:

 

  1. Provide a concentrated source of energy in the diet
  2. Provide the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances
  3. Slow down nutrient absorption so that we can go longer without feeling hungry
  4. Act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K
  5. Needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A
  6. Needed for mineral absorption and a host of other processes

  Despite an incredible marketing campaign that continues to impact people across the planet, low-fat and no-fat diets are not only unsustainable, but they are dangerous to our physical and mental health. Not to mention that it’s challenging enough to be so restrictive for very long, but those who have followed a low- to no-fat diet for any length of time can develop a variety of health problems, such as:

 

  1. Low energy
  2. Difficult concentrating
  3. Depression
  4. Weight gain
  5. Mineral deficiencies 

  It is, in my opinion, and in a growing number of traditionally trained physicians, nutritionists, and alternative health providers, that it is not fat that causes weight gain and disease, but the high amounts of refined sugar and flour and processed vegetable oils in the diet that are to blame.

GOOD FATS

Omega-3 fats

These are fats that come from wild foods. They are considered essential fatty acids, because our body cannot produce them and therefore we need to consume them in the form of food. Benefits of omega-3 fats include:

 

1. Freedom from pain and inflammation

2. Better brain function and higher intelligence

3. Feeling better with much less depression

4. Lower incidence of childhood disorders

5. Superior cardiovascular health

6. Protection from heart attack and stroke

7. Reduction of breast, colon, and prostate cancer

Forms of omega-3s include:

 

  1. Wild fish, including wild salmon, herring, sardines, and fresh anchovies (avoid non-organically farmed fish and large predatory fish such as tuna and swordfish, which accumulate more mercury)
  2. Flaxseed and Flax Oil
  3. Some types of nuts and seeds, including walnuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds

 Monounsaturated Fats

Benefits:

 

  1. Reduces risk of chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
  2. Reduce inflammation
  3. Boost immunity
  4. Contains powerful antioxidants called phenols
  5. Reduces blood pressure and blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, and thins blood

 

Forms:

 

  1. Extra virgin olive oil
  2. Hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews
  3. Avocados
  4. Sesame and pumpkin seeds

 Saturated Fats

Benefits:

 

  1. Constitute at least 50 percent of the cell membranes, giving them necessary stiffness and integrity so they can function properly
  2. Play vital role in health of our bones
  3. Lower Lp(a), a substance in the blood that indicates proneness to heart disease
  4. Protect the liver from alcohol and other toxins
  5. Enhance immune system
  6. Certain types of saturated fats, like those from coconut products, have antimicrobial properties, protecting us against harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract

 

Forms:

 

  1. Coconut, coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut butter
  2. Free-range beef, pork, lamb, and poultry
  3. Macadamia nut oil
  4. Organic dairy
  5. Eggs

 Unrefined Polyunsaturated Vegetable Oils (Omega-6s)

We evolved eating a balance of Omega-3 fats and Omega-6s, but due to a decrease in eating wild foods and an increase in omega-6-laden processed foods, the balance has been tipped toward omega-6s. However, an inclusion of a small amount of unrefined, vegetable oils do have a place in a balanced diet. When purchasing these oils, look for words like “organic,” “cold-pressed,” and “unrefined.” Eat in small amounts and you can still maintain optimal weight and health.

 

Forms:

 

1. Grape seed Oil

2. Sunflower Oil

3. Safflower Oil

4. Walnut Oil

5. Sesame Oil

 

BAD FATS

 Refined Polyunsaturated Vegetable Oils

These include most commercially available vegetable oils-corn, soy, safflower, and “vegetable oil.” Soy and canola oil are two of the 4 most genetically modified foods, so always look for organic if you do purchase these.

 Trans Fats

Trans Fat, a man-made product, occurs in food when manufacturers use hydrogenation, a process in which hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to turn the oil into a more solid fat. Trans fat is often found in vegetable shortening, margarines, crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, salad dressings, and other processed foods.

Trans fats are added to almost all processed foods because it is incredibly shelf-stable. Avoiding processed foods is one critical way of avoiding this deadly fat. Read labels for words like “hydrogenated” and “partially hydrogenated,” and avoid those items containing those types of ingredients.

 

Concerns:

 

  1. Block metabolism
  2. Create weight gain
  3. Increase risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer
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