For years, fat has gotten a bad rap as the cause of obesity, heart disease and high cholesterol. In fact, you can walk into nearly any store and find items tagged with “fat-free” or with “reduced fat” labels. While we are programmed to see fat as the enemy, here are my 5 reasons to “get thin on fat” (add in the good fat, drop the bad fat)!
- Get Thin by Eating Fat!
Our bodies require dietary fat in order to lose weight and function properly; this is why many fats are considered “essential”. The right kinds and amounts of fats satiate hunger, provide energy for movement, improve metabolism, protect against disease and transport fat-soluble nutrients throughout the body. Therefore, they can help keep us thin, nourished and happy.
Healthy fats include:
- Raw ALA-rich omega 3 fatty acids from hempseed (also with GLA), chia seeds, clary sage, evening primrose and other plant-based sources are anti-inflammatory, brain friendly and energy-rich;
- DHA and EPA fatty acids from algae oil, krill oil and clean fish oil are neuro-protective and contain extraordinary amounts of energy value;
- Mono-unsaturated fatty acid sources, such as avocados, olive oil, nuts and pumpkin seeds are excellent for beauty (oleic acid) and long-term energy production;
- Saturated fatty acids such as coconut products and organic ghee are brain protective, skin protective and are burned up easily and quickly as fuel.
As you can see all types of healthy fatty acids are excellent sources of energy. And it is energy that we require to stay thin and keep moving. A sedentary lifestyle and lots of sitting are becoming more and more strongly associated with weight gain. Whereas fat-friendly ketogenic diets are becoming more associated with weight loss.
Some fats are good for us and some may be harmful. That’s why we educate about quality. Remember not all fats are the same. Some are terrible, such as margarine’s trans fats and the “10-20 times too much omega 6” canola oils and other rancid mass produced “seed oils.” And remember: factory-farmed food, such as beef, may be loaded with numerous synthetic chemicals picked up by the cow through contaminated water, food and environment*:
1,1,1-trichloroethane 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene benzene
BHC, alpha chloroform chlorotoluene, o- chlorpyrifos
diphenyl 2-ethylhexyl phosphate ethyl benzene
heptachlor epoxide hexachlorobenzene
xylene, m- and/or p-
*This list is derived from Ground Beef research listed in: Food and Drug Administration Total Diet Study, Summary of Residues Found Ordered by Food Market Baskets 91-3—01-4, June 2003
2. Get Thin on Fat for your Mind!
Brain tissue is 60% fat, and a low-fat diet robs your brain of what it needs to function properly. For example, vitamins essential to brain health such as A, D, E, and K are not water-soluble and require fat to be transported and absorbed by the body. In another example, omega 3 fatty acids and saturated fatty acids (from foods like coconut oil) are necessary for proper brain development, cognition and brain protection as we age.
Fat is also known to help prevent depression. In fact, a deficiency of cholesterol (best found in ghee) and fat in the brain produces lower levels of the neurotransmitters, which has been correlated with making people feel good.
At Integrative Nutrition, we teach you how the food you eat directly affects the way you think and feel.
- Get Thin on Fat to Fight Colds!
Saturated fats such as those found in coconut oil (especially: caprylic acid, capric acid, lauric acid) contain fatty acids that are anti-microbial, antiviral and anti-fungal and have been found to assist white blood cells in dealing with foreign invaders. These oils are usually concentrated in MCT oils (and added to coffee) in order to also provide more brain power in the morning.
- Get Thin on Fat for Healthy Cells and Skin!
Fat makes up the cellular membrane that surrounds each cell. Scientists, such as Dr. Bruce Lipton, are now presenting evidence that the cell membrane houses the intelligence of the cell. Proper intake of omega 3 fatty acids (hemp, chia, evening primrose, clary sage, algae oil/krill oil/fish oil), mono-unsaturated fatty acids (olive oil, avocados, nuts, pumpkin seeds) and saturated fatty acids (coconut oil, ghee) improve the membrane integrity of each cell and therefore positively influence cellular intelligence. Like the cell, fatty acids are found in the layers of skin that cover our bodies. Without proper fat consumption, the skin can become delicate, thinned, dry and/or chapped, which can increase the chances of injury, infections, psoriasis flare ups and eczema.
Our lungs are also coated with a “skin”. Our lung coating is composed almost entirely of saturated fat, and without it, our lungs will not function properly. In fact, a study has linked the low consumption of saturated fat to asthma, perhaps as a result of the breakdown of this fatty layer.
- Getting Thin on Fat Could Get You Pregnant!
Fat is critical for reproductive health because quality oils are used to manufacture hormones and improve cell membranes and thus assist the signaling that regulates hormone balance.
For women, not eating enough fat decreases hormone output and is a common cause of infertility, at the same time, eating the wrong fats increases complications from PMS and menopause. For men, a lack of healthy fats reduces testosterone and other androgen hormones that are critical for reproductive health and sexual desire. Good quality fat intake to the exclusion of trans fats, canola oil, factory-farmed animal or dairy fat and similar poor sources, allows for the development of a stronger libido.
The Bottom Line: Grab a handful of almonds, enjoy some mushrooms cooked in olive oil, and add a scoop of avocado to your gluten-free toast. You will have more energy as fat provides better long-term energy for most peoples’ metabolisms (not everyone!) and protects the integrity of the nervous, skin, lung and reproductive systems. Here’s to “getting thin by eating fat”!
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