For over 50 years, most health authorities and healthcare professionals have advocated low-fat diets. Americans have listened and decreased their fat intake over the year by shying away from steaks, butter and oils and opting for skim milk, low-fat cheeses, fat-free salad dressings, light margarines and fat-reduced cookies and muffins.
Fortunately, a closer look at the science reveals that there is no need to avoid naturally-occurring fats, including animal fats, especially if it comes from a healthy pastured animal. (1-5) This recent study published in Annals of Internal Medicine in March 2014 is just another one in support of healthy traditional fats in our diet (more natural fats from animals and less processed fats from vegetable oil).
Fats WON’T clog your arteries
and fats can actually be GOOD FOR YOU.
Fats play many essential roles
and deserve to occupy an important part
of a REAL food-based diet. (1)
Here are at least 11 of the awesome things
fat can do for you on a REAL food-based diet:
- Satiety: fat is digested more slowly compared to protein and carbohydrates, which helps you stay full longer AND fat is involved in the release of important satiety hormones that tell your brain you are not hungry anymore. This is one of the reason the Paleo / low-carb / REAL food-based diets are so effective for weight loss… you just feel like you don’t need to eat as much. Fat doesn’t make you fat.
- Energy: fat constitute a effective and more sustained source of energy, if you are fat-adapted, compared to carbohydrates.
- Absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) and antioxidants, which most Americans are lacking. [if you eat steamed vegetables or a salad with a fat-free salad dressing, you won’t absorb most of the healthy nutrients found in your meal... what a waste!]
- Structural role to form the membrane of each and every one of your cells, a component called phospholipids (the body needs that at least half of the fat in the membrane of your cells be saturated for optimal functioning).
- Transport fat-soluble substances: lipoproteins are made of fat and protein and function as a vehicle to transport fat, cholesterol, vitamins E and K in the blood to whatever cell or organ where they are needed in your body.
- Cushion and padding: it is normal and important to have some fat to protect and support our organs and prevent wrinkling and dehydration of your skin.
- Anti-cancer properties: in a type of fat called CLA, or conjuguated linoleic acid (find this fat in the meat of pastured ruminants as well as butter, ghee, cream and cheese made from their milk).
- Anti-inflammatory properties: in omega-3 fats, such as EPA and DHA (find these fats in wild-caught fish, the meat of pastured animal and the eggs of free-range fowls).
- Anti-microbial properties: lauric acid and capric acid can help kill bacteria, viruses and parasites! (find it in coconut oil and palm kernel oil… or human breast milk!)
- Medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs: these special fats do not require to be digested to be absorbed and constitute a quick and easy to burn source of energy. MCTs are used to help control/improve epileptic seizures, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders, inflammatory bowel diseases, in addition to being associated with an increased metabolism and weight loss. MCTs are well-tolerated if your gallbladder was removed, suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases, don’t tolerate fat well or simply don’t want to gain weight. (find MCTs in coconut oil, palm kernel oil and… human breast milk!)
- …and last, but not least = Taste! Fats have a very pleasurable mouthfeel and can make it easier to enjoy your veggies! A Paleo / low-carb / REAL food-based diet is easy to follow because a high-fat diet is a lot more satisfying and enjoyable. Even kids will eat their broccoli if served with coconut oil, ghee or butter.
What are your favorite fats? :D
Mine are avocado, egg yolks, coconut (milk, butter or dried),
grass-fed butter/ghee and of course, dark chocolate! <3
References: (1) Enig ME. Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol. 2000. (2) Robinson J. Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Products. Eatwild.com website. 2009. [http://www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm] (accessed January 2012) (3) Phinney SD and Volek JS. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable. 2011. (4) Krauss ML, et al. Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies Evaluating The Association of Saturated Fat With Cardiovascular Disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010; 91: 535-46. [http://www.ajcn.org/content/91/3/535.full.pdf] (5) Taubes G. Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health. 2008. (6) Masterjohn C. Cholesterol and Health ¾ Functions and Foods.Cholesterol-and-Health.com website. 2008. [http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/cholesterol-and-health.html