Is fat to blame for being fat? Ah, the age old question. Or is it? Over the ages we have had countless arguments over whether a low fat diet is good for you or even the healthiest way to lose weight. Yes, eating whole, unprocessed, organic foods will always be the best way to be healthy. But are we to quick to cut out fat all together? I think so, and here’s why:
Let’s talk about fat, because I believe that FAT has an over generalized “bad wrap”. There are fats that are bad for you AND fats that are good for you. By cutting out all fats, we are cutting our health short and becoming more prone to chronic illness. From the top…Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are exactly what the name says, Essential, which means they are a “must” for our bodies health. EFAs are classified into two groups: Omega 3 and Omega 6. EFAs support the cardiovascular, reproductive, immune, and nervous systems. Our bodies need EFAs to make and repair cell membrane, so we can absorb the good nutrients and expel the bad. Cells also need EFAs to help them signal to each other and reduce inflammation. EFAs cannot be reproduced. When they were first discovered in 1923, they were called Vitamin F, since they were considered to be a nutrient. In 1930, they were changed to the classification of fats, not vitamins. EFAs also have a great affect on our mood and behavior. Omega 3, in particular, can prevent or lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, blood clots, breast cancer, migraines, vision impairment, diabetes in pregnancy and has been used to treat depression. Check out this extensive list of foods that are rich in Omega 3’s, number one has the highest content….Flaxseeds (Whoot!)
Now, a further look at the dreaded saturated fats. Most of us say “all saturated fats are bad”, well that’s simply not true. The fat molecules are where the difference lies. There are short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) also known as medium chain triglycerides (MCT), and long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). The length of the chain makes all the difference of whether a fat is good for you or not. LCFAs are what we encounter everywhere we turn, some saturated, some unsaturated. These are the ones that we need to limit our intake on, simply because they are most abundant. SCFAs and MCFAs are processed the same way in the body, in contrast to how LCFAs are processed. Some studies have shown that MCFAs aid in weight loss by helping to burn more calories, using less energy to process through the body and raising the metabolism. Evenstar’s Mary Ann Copson says:
“Even with its heavy fat content, coconut oil appears to promote weight loss. Coconut oil has not been found to increase body fat and it actually decreases white fat stores, is related to the production of fewer fat cells, increases thermogenesis by 50% and increases the body’s metabolic rate.”
Coconut oil is the best source of MCFAs. It contains 66%+ MCFAs, which makes coconut oil the ideal oil to consume for good health. See my blog about Coconut for tons of useful info about why the coconut is an unbelievably healthy and healing food, plus it’s my favorite ingredient. Also visit the Coconut Research Center for detailed info about MCFAs.
What is the deal with polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats? Long story short….MONO=GOOD; POLY=BAD. Polyunsaturated fats are not natural and are generally found in processed foods and refined oils. Instead of margarine or vegetable oils, try using olive, macadamia, sunflower or tea seed oils. (Here’s another list for foods high in monounsaturated fats.) By doing so, you will be helping to lower cholesterol, protect your heart from heart disease, aid in losing weight and relieve pain associated with arthritis. You can read a quick article about this on eHow.com.
All in all, we need fats, BUT we need to choose the right kind of fats in order to prevent disease and live a long healthy life.