While this is a topic I've written on in the past, I think its an essential one to think about and review often, as it is one of the most confusing, AND most important!
Hopefully by now, we have all abandoned the obsessive fear of fat that our society has fixated on since the low-fat/no-fat craze began, and embraced a diet encompassing healthy fats on a daily basis. However, the subject of fat is a complex and potentially intimidating subject to be truly informed about, especially after (possibly) breaking away from a lifetime of the typical SAD (Standard American Diet) that drills the idea into our heads that dietary fat and cholesterol=heart disease and obesity. After we embrace the newfound knowledge that this is not, in fact, the case, we may still be a bit confused. Read on to get some quick answers…
What are good vs bad fats?
“Bad” fats mean hydrogenated (aka ‘trans’) fats. These types of fats/oils are unsaturated fatty acids that have been chemically hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated (the adding of a hydrogen molecule to form a double bond), in order for the final product to have a longer shelf life. The problem is, our bodies don’t recognize this compound and have no idea how to digest and assimilate it. When eaten, these compounds permeate our cell walls causing malfunction and have been linked to many degenerative diseases rampant in western society.
“Good” fats are not only good, but necessary. Our brains are 60% fat and cannot function without dietary fat. Fats also protect our organs and cells, regulate body temperature, provide satiety, carry fat soluble vitamins and nutrients, and are the most concentrated sources of energy. We need them to survive and thrive. If we are not getting enough, we are missing vital nutrients, not to mention are likely over-eating other, less nutrient dense foods.
Fats To Include:
Saturated (best to cook with/heat as they do not oxidize at high temps)
- · Coconut oil (xtra virgin, cold pressed, raw)
- · Palm oil
- · Butter (grass fed ideally, or organic)
- · Ghee
- · Lard
- · Tarrow
- · Grass fed meats (if they are not from grass-fed animals, opt for leaner cuts, as all animals store toxins in their fat cells)
Unsaturated (should not be heated…think salads and dips)
- · Olive oil
- · Sesame oil
- · Walnut oil
- · Macadamia nut oil
- · Avacado oil
- · Nuts and seeds/nut and seed butters (preferably raw/organic)
- · Flaxseed oils
FATS TO AVOID AT ALL COSTS:
- · Margarine or “buttery spreads”
- · Canola, corn, vegetable, soybean, grapeseed, sunflower, safflower oils