Unfortunately today most people consume large quantities of corrupted fats found in packaged and processed foods, commercially baked goods, and fried foods and not nearly enough of the omega-3 fats found in algae, fish, nuts, organic leafy greens, and seeds.
People have become fat-phobic and grocery store isles are filled with “low-fat” and “fat-free” foods. Ironically, one might think, people aren’t losing weight but quite the contrary obesity levels are rising at a scary pace.
The truth is fats are crucial for good health AND will not make you fat. Here is a list of some of the many functions that good fats perform in our bodies:
- Fats from animal and vegetable sources provide a concentrated source of energy in the diet.
- They also provide the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances.
- Fats as part of a meal slow down nutrient absorption so that we can go longer without feeling hungry.
- They also act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
- Dietary fats are necessary for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption and many other processes.
- Brain Health: 60% of the brain is fat!
Good fats are naturally occurring and haven’t been damaged by high heat, refining, or overprocessing. A healthy balance of oils and fats will keep your immune system strong, your hormones in balance, your energy even throughout the day, your skin, hair, and eyes healthy, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.
Saturated fats are an excellent fuel source for the body and provide structure and rigidity to cell walls. They remain stable at high temperatures, so they are ideal for frying and sautéing.
- Coconut oil (medium heat only)
- Palm oil
- Chicken fat
- Lamb fat
- Duck fat
- Full fat dairy
- Eggs, meat and seafood
Monounsaturated Fats are considered heart healthy. They are liquid at room temperature and can be used for medium heat sautéing but aren’t as heat stable as saturated fats. Organic, extra virgin and cold-pressed forms are ideal.
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
- Nut oils
- Nuts and seeds
Polyunsaturated fats: Omega-3 and Omega-6 These fats are far less stable than the other two and are best obtained through food sources such as: nuts and seeds, cold-water fish, raw dairy, pastured beef, and leafy greens.
A healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is about 3 to 1.
How much of which fats are best for most people to eat in a balanced diet?
- 50% of fats should be monounsaturated fatty acids (almonds, avocados, olives, etc.)
- 25% of fats should be from polyunsaturated fatty acids (nuts, seeds, fish, and vegetable oils)
- 25% of fats should be from saturated fatty acids (dairy, eggs, land animals, coconut)
Bad fats are man-made and are damaged. They have become oxidized (rancid) due to high heat processing, which removes healthful nutrients, like vitamin E, and creates compounds that the body cannot utilize for healthy cell building.
Due to abundant antibiotic use, fats (butter, meats, and dairy products) from conventionally fed factory farm animals shouldn’t be consumed. Read labels carefully and avoid any food that contain these damaged fats:
Saturated: Trans-fats are particularly harmful.
- Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
- Man made trans-fats often found in “buttery spreads”
Unsaturated: These oils are highly processed and oxidize easily.
- Canola oil
- Corn oil
- Vegetable oil
- Soybean oil
- Grape seed oil
- Sunflower oil
- Safflower oil
I could go on and on about this juicy subject but I’ll try not to do it all in one sitting. So, I’ll leave you with this:
Eat natural fats and avoid processed ones. This formula works because nature doesn’t make bad fats, factories do.