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Nutrition

Fat is Our Friend

FoodBoss contributor
FoodBoss

If the word ‘dietary fat’ scares you- it’s not your fault.

Holly_Johnston contributor

Written by

Holly Johnston

In the early 90s fat-free food products had taken over the shelves of supermarkets, and (crazy enough) these coveted items were priced higher and often contained more sugar to compensate for the loss of flavor that the removal of fat can cause.

The belief was that we’d all be better off without fats.

It turns out they were WRONG.

Getting accurate nutritional information has been a DISASTER for a lot of us, especially women. Lest we forget those “Eat This, Not That” articles in teen magazines, that told us eating an apple was a well-balanced breakfast.

(Meanwhile, the b*tch who wrote it was probably helping herself to the donuts in the office break room.)

Thankfully we now have evidence that fat isn’t the enemy. It turns out, there are serious benefits. Good fats can help with mood, energy, and, oh yes– even burning the bad fat!

It’s time we learn the truth about good fats.

Benefits of dietary fat

It turns out dietary fats are really important for a balanced diet!

Fats help your body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones, They’re essential for energy and cell function. They also help protect your organs and keep your body warm. too.

Types of dietary fat

The word ‘fat’ is too vague- because there are four different types of fats.

There are trans fats, saturated fats (the so-called “bad” fats) and then there are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (the ones we want).

Saturated fat

Examples of foods high in saturated fat include butter, cheese, beef, and ice cream.

Foods high in trans fat include fried foods like doughnuts, cakes, pie crusts, frozen pizza, cookies, and crackers.

You know, all the stuff your grandma will get really upset if you turn down…

Be mindful that an excessive amount of saturated fat can raise bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in your blood.

But it’s ok to indulge every once in a while.

Unsaturated Fat

Now, let’s discuss good fats.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, the good fats, play a huge role in helping you manage your moods, stay on top of your mental game, fight fatigue, and even control your weight.

There is evidence that eating more "good" fat and less "bad" fat can keep the brain healthy.

Studies have found a strong association between people who follow the MIND diet and a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease.

So where can you get these good fats?

Monounsaturated fat sources include avocados, nuts (peanuts), hazelnuts, cashews & almonds peanut butter, almond butter, etc.

Olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil.

Polyunsaturated fat sources include fish and seafood, vegetable oils (such as safflower, sunflower, corn, or soy oils) and nuts (such as walnuts and Brazil nuts), and seeds.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that is especially beneficial to your health.

Types: EPA and DHA are found in fish and algae. They have the most health benefits. ALA comes from plants and is a less potent form of omega-3.

Benefits

Some great sources of omega-3s (EPA/ DHA) are salmon, oysters, and tuna. Go for the sushi or add some lox to your bagel- it’s for your health!

If you’re vegetarian….

You can get omega-3s (ALA) from eggs, flaxseeds, walnuts, beans, brussels sprouts, spinach, etc.

You can also take an Omega-3 supplement.

The Keto Diet

If we’re talking about good fats, we can’t forget about the keto diet.

The ketogenic diet, aka keto diet is a very low carb, high fat diet that works by teaching your body to become really efficient at burning fats. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which are a good energy source for the brain.

Many people have discovered significant health benefits after doing keto.

Noy everyone is a suitable candidate for this diet, but for people with auto-immune diseases or other special medical circumstances, the diet can address and fight chronic fatigue and inflammation. As always, consult your doctor before starting a new diet of any kind, and make sure you’re always getting enough of the nutrients your body requires to thrive.

Here are some keto recipes, take a look!

Incorporate good fats into your diet

If healthy eating leaves a bad taste in your mouth (literally) you may want to check out these tasty recipes that incorporate healthy fats.

Final thoughts

We were once led to believe that dietary fat was the enemy, but we now know that it helps with energy, hormone function, and brain health!

So treat yourself to avocado toast, drizzle some olive oil on your salads, and grab a handful of your favorite trail mix; your body and brain will thank you.

Share your favorite good-fat recipes below :)