Previous decades have undeniably had an obsession with fad diets and “get thin quick” schemes, partly due to the demonization of fats.
Naturally, people tend to associate dietary fat with bodily fat. This is simply not the case! Your body needs fat from foods to function properly in more ways than one. For example, fats are a major source of energy and some vitamins and minerals require dietary fat to absorb properly. In addition, fats play a large role in hormone balance, as well as building cell membranes, blood clotting, muscular function, and inflammation.
Fats have been popularly treated like a four-letter word. In reality, they are an extremely important macronutrient, alongside carbohydrates and protein. But some types of fat are better than others. Good fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, which are essential to the body, and bad ones are synthetic trans fats, which raise harmful LDL cholesterol levels. Saturated fats fall in between the two as they can increase total cholesterol if eaten in excess.
When making the choice to have a healthier diet, choosing which types of fat to consume is far more effective than cutting fats out altogether. When eliminating all fats from the diet, you risk malnutrition in many forms.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential to the human body, meaning that you cannot produce them on your own and they must be supplied through the diet. Omega-3 & 6 fatty acids play a large role in brain, immune, and cognitive health, so a diet lacking in these can result in cognitive and vision issues.
Furthermore, important vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble, meaning that they require the presence of fat to absorb properly. Vitamin A deficiency can bring dry skin and vision issues, vitamin D deficiency can negatively impact bone health, a lack of vitamin E can lead to muscle weakness, and a deficiency of vitamin K can lead to increased bleeding.
These are all scary, but realistic long term effects of cutting out fats from the diet.
Luckily, there are delicious, all natural foods out there that can supply you with all of the healthy fat your body needs!
Unlike most fruits, avocados are about 77 percent fat, whereas other fruits are mostly carbohydrates. Avocados have recently been hailed as a “superfood”, as they are packed with the healthy monounsaturated fat, Oleic acid, and have more potassium than bananas. This form of monounsaturated fat can lower bad cholesterol levels, and may even reduce blood pressure!
- Whole Eggs
Whole eggs are loaded with fats, vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants. Previously, whole eggs and their yolks were considered unhealthy because their high cholesterol and fat content, but new studies show that their high cholesterol doesn’t impact blood cholesterol in most people. In fact, an egg with its yolk is one of the most nutrient dense foods available!
- Fatty Fish
Most fatty fish come filled to the brim with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids which benefit cognitive and cardiovascular health. In addition, these healthy fats may lower the risk of heart disease, depression, and even dementia. If fish isn’t a palatable option, fish oil supplements can provide similar benefits in a capsule, liquid, or gummy!
Nuts are extremely high in healthy fats and fiber, and they are a good source of protein as well! Studies show that nuts are high in vitamin E and magnesium, and can lower the risk of various diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
- Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is one of the most dense sources of saturated fat available. Even so, regions that consume the most coconuts show no increase in heart-related disease, and are actually very healthy! Coconut fats metabolize differently than other fats, as they quickly enter the liver. Coconut oil can help boost the metabolism and even suppress appetite!
Contrary to popular belief, fat is an essential, macronutrient that plays a large role in whole body health. Without fats, malnutrition, cognitive and hormonal decline would run rampant. With fats, vitamins and minerals are absorbed completely, cardiovascular health is increased, and cognition is maintained!