Fat is one of the most misunderstood macronutrients.
If you were alive in the 80s and 90s, you remember the fat-free craze. The idea was that people get fat from fat, so avoid it at all costs, we wouldn't get fat.
It backfired far beyond what anyone ever could have predicted and the fat-free, highly process, heart-diseased nation was underway.
What we've learned in the last 10-20 years about fat is not only should we not avoid it, we need it for our bodies to function properly.
Saturated, monosaturated, and polysaturated fats (the kind they told us to avoid) are the bomb. Not only do they come from whole, unprocessed foods, they tend to contain more omega-3s, which help reduce risks of heart disease.
Other Benefits of fat are:
- Brain Health - Our melon guts are made of 60% fat and need fat to function properly
- Assists in Vitamin Absorption - Non water soluable vitamins like A, D, E, and K can't absorb without fat. You need a greasy lube to get them in.
- Keeps the Lungs Protected - Our lungs are coated with saturated fat that we need to keep the fun bags pumping. Got Asthma? You need better coating on your lungs.
- Helps you stay full longer with 9 calories per gram.
When we talk about "good fat," we are talking about fat in it's least processed state (raw or natural) that will serve your body - just like every other macronutrient. The less processed, the better. Here are some fats that will grease your grooves without getting stuck to the walls.
- fatty fish and seafood; sea vegetables
- raw nuts and seeds
- fresh olives
- fresh coconut; raw cacao
- pastured butter and full-fat dairy
- fatty meats if pastured / grass-fed
Fats that don't serve you as much are processed fats like hydrogonated oils - trans fats, really any processed fats. They are very scientifically put together in a lab to wow your taste buds but will leave your life louge tunnels sticky and clogged.
- anything fried
- vegetable shortening
- packaged snacks
- baked foods, especially premade versions
- ready-to-use dough
- coffee creamers, both dairy and nondairy
So you fat habit is - Choose a thumb sized serving of unprocessed fat with your meals.
This is a challenging one because fats are tasty, and we can et a lot more than what an actual serving is. While one of the benefits of fat is having 9 calories per gram and it keeps us full longer, it's a double edged sword because if we're not cautious, the extra calories add up quickly.
If the thumb doesn't do ya, maybe measure how much oil you're using or how much peanut butter a serving is and get a real guage of how much you're using.