Fat is one of 6 nutrients essential to good health. (Water, Protein, Vitamins, Minerals and Carbohydrates are the others). We can’t live without them. Unfortunately, fats have been demonized in the past few decades. The public was encouraged to cut out or drastically cut back on fat. Our fat intake dropped from 40% of our diet to 34%. Yet, the fat reduction didn’t help with our weight problems and the obesity epidemic spiraled higher.
Fats are more calorie dense than carbohydrates and protein, but it’s not just the weight of the food that matters. What matters most is what the food does inside; how they break down and are used by our bodies. When the food industry removed fats from our food, the fat was replaced with sugar or other staches. ALL carbohydrates break down into sugar. They are the reason why Americans continue to struggle with their weight. Fat is not the culprit, it’s the carbohydrates.
*Our bodies use 3 types of fats for fuel:
Monounsaturated: These are the healthier fats found in olive oil, nuts and avocados.
Polyunsaturated: Mostly healthy fats found in sunflower oil, flax seed oil, salmon, and grape seed oil.
Saturated: Found in butter and lard, less desirable for the diet.
*Other types of fats:
Cholesterol: It’s been given a bad rap but is essential for life and normal cellular function. The body manufactures 85% and the rest is found in foods we eat. The building blocks of cholesterol are CARBS! So, to reduce cholesterol you must reduce the amount of carbohydrates you consume.
Triglycerides: Essential for life, provides calories, and can be burned for energy. To reduce triglycerides, you must reduce carbohydrates.
Trans Fats: These are man-made fats designed to preserve the shelf life of food. There is a direct association between intake of trans fats and increased risk of heart attacks. They can be found in fried foods, baked goods, crackers, and vegetable shortening. Consuming even trivial amounts can cause damage.
*The GOOD fats:
EFA’s are polyunsaturated fats that are essential for life, but the body can’t produce them. These fats are not used much as fuel, but they are the lubricant that keeps the engine going. The American Heart Association recommends 1 gram a day, but we should ingest even more.
Omega 6: Easily available in food.
Omega 3: Found in tuna, sardines, almonds, and walnuts.
Insulin is a master hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar from carbohydrates for energy or for storage. It helps to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Lipoprotein lipase is an enzyme needed to store fat in the cells. Insulin levels rise when we eat carbohydrates. It then turns on the lipoprotein lipase, which causes fat storage. Therefore, it’s not FAT that leads to fat storage, but CARBS! You can’t store fat unless your carbohydrate intake is high enough to release insulin.
Remember that fats are vital to good health! If you’re eating a fairly low-carb diet, you shouldn’t fear fat. Eating fat won’t make you fat. Everyone should consume more Omega-3 fatty acids and reduce carbohydrates. We sell EFA’s in our nutrition store here at The Center for Weight Loss Success. It’s your life. Make it a healthy one!