The nutrition atmosphere is rife with bad and confusion information about many subjects: the right diets, whether GMO’s are truly a problem, is sugar the bad guy? The problem is that new information comes in every day so it can be genuinely confusing.
One piece of propaganda that has been well refuted is the lie about fat. How and where did that start? Back in the 50’s a man named Ansel Keys was part of big study (aligned with many of the food manufacturers), in fact, he created the study. The premise of this study was that saturated fat causes heart disease. Not only was he unable to prove his theorem, the fact is that there was no correlation. However, he manipulated and left out data to create his own bell curve. And there, “proof” was born. Through the decades we have been taught that low fat is the answer to good health. Instead, sugar consumption increased and fat was vilified. Question…why has obesity exponentially increased if fat is so bad for us? Biology shows that fat does not “make” fat. So the theory is indeed questionable.
So what exactly is the deal about fat and is it actually good for you? Starting with the second part of the question…yes, not only is it good for you, it is a vital macronutrient the body needs. But let’s go back first.
Fat in its NATURAL state is good for you. Fake fats, trans fats, fats such as Crisco, margarine, soy, corn and vegetable oils in plastic bottles sitting in light are considered toxic and often rancid. These synthetic foods are very bad for you.
So what are the GOOD fats? Yes, olive oil, nuts and avocados are good for you, but they are monounsaturated fats (Omega 9) and are not considered cooking fats as they are too unstable. Fish oils and plant oils like flax and hemp are also healthy (Omega 3) as well as some Omega 6’s like Blackcurrant seed oil. But the argument still seems to be with saturated fats. Are they truly good for us? Yes! These fats include lard, tallow, schmaltz (chicken fat), bacon grease, duck fat, butter, coconut oil, and ghee. These fats are very necessary. They are found in meats, poultry and organ meat. They are also found in some dairy, cream and eggs.
Why does the body need fat?
Fat reduces inflammation in the body
The brain needs cholesterol (60% of the brain is made of fat. No fat, no healthy brain cells can thrive)
Cholesterol is the precursor to all steroid hormones. When we don’t eat fat, we usually eat more sugars which suppress the right hormone production.
Fats are needed for a healthy gallbladder to correctly make bile. No fat means sluggish bile and possible gallstones.
Fats are needed for the absorption of fat soluble A, D, E, and K. Most people with low vitamin D may actually have a problem breaking down fats, especially if they eat a low fat diet.
How much fat should we eat daily?
Studies increasingly show that for most of us, a high fat diet is beneficial. That means roughly 60% of fat per day, 20% proteins, and 20% carbohydrates (mostly from vegetables and tubers) and some fruits. This varies from person to person, depending on activity and metabolic type. Surprising? Yes. Because we have learned that fat is bad for us but it is highly important for our digestive process, immune system, and brain health. We need it to build hormones, reduce inflammation and even for anti aging.