Big FAT Lies About Fat
Remember back in the day when we were told that fat was the cause of heart disease, obesity, and countless other serious health issues, and we simply had to stop eating it?
So, with tears in our eyes and the song gone from our hearts, we gave up bacon, and switched to low fat, no fat, and substitute products like margarine…
BUT then we heard the horror stories about how margarine never goes bad because it’s pretty much a plastic that was invented to fatten turkeys, and even flies won’t go near it. Flies!
Well, that was then…
NOW we are told that fat is great for us and we should worry less about our fat intake and more about our carbohydrate intake.
Hmm….which is it? Is fat good or bad? (And, more importantly, can we bring back the bacon?)
Well, the slightly less confusing answer is both.
Fat is an essential nutrient in our diet and is vital for proper cell and hormonal function. It’s not inherently ‘unhealthy’.
But, people should be aware that fat is considerably higher in caloric value than carbohydrates and protein (MORE than double).
And, it’s a very easy nutrient to over consume…because, it’s DELICIOUS!
Still confused? Let me clarify.
Fat: The Good
There are many sources of ‘good fat’ available to consumers today.
- Both saturated and unsaturated fats from meats, fish, seafood, vegetables, and nuts and seeds can be essential for the ongoing health of our bodies.
- Coconut oil, butter, olive oil, animal fats, nuts and nut butters, and avocado are all excellent sources but try not to have more than one moderate serving per main meal.
- A moderate serving would be: 1 tbs of oil, 2 tbs of nut butter, or 3 tbs of nuts.
Fat: The Bad
With all of the sources of good fat you can find today, there are still many others that can cause inflammation in the body and imbalance your key omega ratios.
The worst culprits are artificial trans fats, the most highly processed and chemically altered fats on the consumer market. Luckily for most of us, trans fats are now banned from food production in our countries.
However, there are still many highly processed fat sources you have access to that you should AVOID like:
- hydrogenated vegetable oils,
- soybean, and
- other vegetable oils that aren’t on the ‘good’ list.
Animal fats are heavily debated, but even those who would tell you animal fats are healthy would also tell you to moderate your consumption of them.
So, if you stick to the good fats, can you eat as much as you want?
Not exactly… Even if you are only taking in ‘good fats’, if you eat too much of them they become counterproductive.
Remember that fat is very calorie dense in comparison to protein and carbohydrates, so quantity needs to be controlled, regardless of the source.
- Your fat intake should be limited to about 20-30% of your daily caloric intake, or a few tablespoons of your preferred fat sources at each meal.
Now, where does this leave us?
When it comes to fat, the truth is that it is not the evil it has been made out to be in recent history. Fat itself does not make you fat.
In fact, fat is essential for the body’s health and hormone production, and too little fat in your diet is unhealthy.
But, then again, so is too much. The issue with fat is that it is:
- Super tasty so it can be easy for some people to overindulge; and,
- Very calorie dense so it adds up fast.
So, don’t fear it—but be sure to control it!
Our advice: do your best to get your fat from a few saturated sources and a few unsaturated sources each day while avoiding trans fats and other heavily processed oils.
Now tell us in the comments below, what healthy sources of fat do you have in your diet? Share a favourite recipe with us! (But please, don’t say bacon wrapped bacon…because that might be going too far…)