“Fat makes you fat”. “Fat is higher in calories and calories were meant to be counted”. Right? NO WAY. Thank goodness I started to question all these beliefs and food rules that I used to have. In the process, I started to learn more about why I believed those rules, why those rules weren’t true for me, and am proud to say I’m now on #TeamGoodFat. Let’s dive in and talk about those rules and the truth behind the skinny on fat…
Who else went through the phase of believing fat was “bad”? Maybe some of you are still in that. Know you’re not alone – according to a recent survey, nearly 9 in 10 people are worried about consuming dietary fat. I can only speak for myself but when I was eating a low-fat diet I was constantly exhausted, hungry, and felt like I was living in a fog. After doing my research, it all made sense. Fat is necessary in our diets. They provide essential fatty acids, keep our skin soft, deliver fat-soluble vitamins, fuel our brains and helps fill us up and keep us satisfied.
So, let’s start by looking at the history of this low-fat fad. In 1977, all Americans were recommended to follow a low-fat diet. I’m not going to get into the politics and money of big food companies, but it can be pretty crazy stuff. Despite the research and studies that have occurred over the past four decades, many organizations are still following low-fat protocols. Low-fat diets are not proven to induce weight-loss or provide a sustainable diet. This is true of every macronutrient. We need them all to thrive and eliminating or drastically decreasing one is never a good idea. Thankfully organizations and research bodies are finally waking up to this idea.
Doesn’t low-fat help you lose weight? Actually, no. In place of fat, many companies substitute sugar so no flavor is lost. I’m not here to pit sugar (carbs) against fat. We need them both to survive, but the reality is that when you remove one macronutrient, you’re going to have to replace it with another. What we want to strive for is a balance and a sustainable lifestyle so you don’t find yourself on the diet-binge cycle for life.
Weight-loss or not, fat is an essential part of our diet. Our bodies need fat for energy to support our metabolism, growth, immune-function and so on. We cannot survive without fat, plain and simple.
What is considered a good fat?
When I started to think about and research fats I started to question what I knew! There are so many different kinds of fats out there, some more nutritious than others. So let’s break it down. At a high-level we have trans, saturated and unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are the ones considered heart healthy – specifically monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Have you heard of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids? These are types of polyunsaturated fats.
Great sources of good fats:
- Walnuts (love me some California Walnuts!)
- Olive Oil
Walnuts are unique with 72% of their total fat coming from USDA recommended polyunsaturated fats and are the only tree nut to provide a rich source of plant-based omega-3 ALA. Not to mention they’re incredibly delicious and versatile in the kitchen!
What’s so bad with unhealthy fats?
I have to start by saying there are a lot of different opinions when it comes to fat still. Most can agree that healthy fats are good but when it comes to the unhealthy fats there is still some grey area. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that consuming trans fats and high amounts of saturated fats can lead to a list of health issues – heart disease, diabetes, and increased inflammation to name a few. Luckily, the government has officially banned all trans fats so you’ll see them eliminated by June 2018 (source).
Examples of artificial unhealthy fats:
- Vegetable shortening
- Partially hydrogenated vegetables (found in a lot of fried and processed foods)
What about saturated fats?
It feels like every few years there’s new information on saturated fats and whether or not they’re good for your health. Saturated fats are most commonly found in animal products, dairy products and coconut oil. From my perspective, the quality of your saturated fats matters most i.e. grass-fed and organic meat rather than conventional. Being conscious about your meat intake is a good choice for your diet and for the health of the planet. That’s not to say that you need to go vegan/vegetarian.
So should I go Keto or Paleo?
I love that both these diets put an emphasis on fat. It’s great to see people embracing the benefits of fat and incorporating it into your diet. That being said, I’m not a fan of focusing too much on one specific macronutrient. Our bodies need carbs, fat and protein. That balance looks different for everyone. If you want to eat keto, you do you, but personally I think all food groups and macronutrients is the way to go, at least as you’re learning to listen to your body and figure out what works for you.
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I’m so glad California Walnuts reached out to me because 1) I love walnuts and 2) I love using my platform to educate! I am proudly on #TeamGoodFat and hope you found some new nuggets of information. 2018 was the year I dedicated myself to using THM as a platform for good. Although in many ways I feel like that’s something I’ve been doing since the start, I’ve become overwhelming aware of the benefit I have with this platform, and I want to make sure I’m using it to the best of my ability. To have brand sponsors who get this is the ultimate. Seriously, so grateful!
Bottom line? If you take one thing away from this blog, I hope that it is to challenge the information you’ve been given. Why do you believe what you do? Why do you make the decisions you do? Make sure you’re informed and making decisions for you and your body. You are your #1 health advocate!
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by California Walnuts. I was compensated for my time; however all opinions expressed are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make THM possible.
Did this post challenge your belief on fats? What’s your favorite source of good fat?
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