Fat is one of the body’s most basic building blocks. The average person is made up of between 15 and 30 percent fat! Yet, for decades, we’ve unfairly demonized dietary fat.
We’ve diligently followed a low-fat diet that almost always equates into a high-sugar and high-refined carb diet contributing to insulin resistance, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other numerous problems.
Fat is an integral part of our diet; read below for 10 fat facts that debunk the old belief that our diets should be fat-free.
1. Sugar, not fat, makes you fat.
The average American eats 152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour that converts into sugar every year. That’s nearly a pound of sugar and flour combined every day! More sugar means your cells become deaf to insulin’s “call.” Your body pumps out more and more insulin to pull your blood sugar levels back down. You can’t burn all the sugar you eat. Inevitably, your body stores it as fat, creating insulin resistance and overall metabolic distraction.
2. Dietary fat is more complex than sugar.
There are some 250+ names for sugar, but despite very minor variations, they all create the same damage. In other words, sugar is sugar is sugar. It will ruin your health.
Fat is more complex. There are saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, hydrogenated and even trans fats. Not to mention, subcategories within each group. Some fats are good, others neutral and a few are bad. Cooking with oil at high temperatures can also denature its form and decrease the health giving benefits.
3. Low-fat diets tend to be heart-unhealthy.
When people eat less fat, they tend to eat more starch or sugar instead. This actually increases their levels of the small dense cholesterol that causes heart attacks. In fact, studies show that 75 percent of people who end up in the emergency room with a heart attack have normal overall cholesterol levels. What they do have is insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type two diabetes.
4. Saturated fat is not your enemy.
A review of all the research on saturated fat published in the American Journal of clinical nutrition found no correlation between saturated fat and heart disease. As with all fats, quality becomes key here. The fats in a fast food arena will have an entirely different effect than saturated fat in coconut oil. Let’s stop classifying it all as the same.
5. Some fats are unhealthy.
They include trans fats, inflammatory, and hydrogenated vegetable oil’s. Unfortunately, these fats have increased in our diet as they make us fatter and contribute to inflammation. Inflammation plays a role in nearly every chronic disease known to man.
6. Everyone can benefit from more omega-3’s.
Your body cannot make certain omega-3 fatty acid’s. About 99 percent of Americans are deficient in these critical fats. Ideal ways to get them include eating wild or sustainably raised cold-water fish (at least two servings weekly), buying omega-3 rich eggs, and taking an omega-3 supplement twice a day. Talk to your doctor about your personal omega-3 fatty acid need.
7. Eating fat can make you lean.
Healthy cell walls made from high-quality fats are better able to metabolize insulin, which keeps blood sugar better regulated. Without proper blood sugar control, the body stores fat for a rainy day. The right fats also increase fat burning, cut your hunger, and reduce fat storage. Eating the right fats makes you lose weight, while eating excess sugar and the WRONG types of fat make you fat.
8. Good fats can help you heal.
Diabetic patients note that their health improves when they get on nutritional plans that are higher in fat. I have many patients whose weight begins to decline when they change their macro-nutrient ratios and include more fat.
9. Your brain is about 60 percent fat.
Of that percentage, the biggest portion comes from the omega-3 fat . Your brain needs the proper fatty acids to spark communication between cells. Easy access to high-quality fat boosts cognition, happiness, learning, and memory. In contrast, studies link the deficiency of omega-3 fatty acid’s to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
10. Your body gives you signs if you are not getting enough quality fat.
The higher-quality the fat, the better your body will function. That’s because the body uses the fat you eat to build cell walls and improve communication between cells. You have more than 10 trillion cells in your body and every single one of them needs high-quality fat.
How do you know if your cells are getting the fats they need? Your body sends signals when it’s not getting enough good fats. Warning signs include: dry, itchy, scaling, or flaking skin; soft, cracked, or brittle nails; hard earwax; tiny bumps on the backs of your arms or torso; achy, stiff joints and depression. The list goes on!
Bottom line is this: Don’t be afraid of eating good fat!