Now, it kind of turns my stomach just thinking about it... and if you know about all the health benefits that real fat offers, it might do the same to you. But in case you haven't heard, the "low fat" trend is so out and foods like butter is back! Yep, good ole' fashioned natural butter is surpassing sales of margarine for the first time in over 40 years! People are starting to realize that synthetic, factory made, versions of real food will not translate to better health. Who'dathunkit?
But "why?", you might be asking. Why on earth would I want to increase the amount of fat I eat if I am still trying to decrease my weight and improve my health?
Because fat is actually good for your health. Remember what I said in my first post here, fat is your friend. The only bad fats are the ones man made, like trans fats and "vegetable" oils. Have you ever seen a fatty vegetable? I did't think so. That's because vegetable oils (soy, corn, cotton) aren't even made from actual vegetables. Don't mess with Mother Nature's work, she perfected it just fine on her own.
Of course, I have to add that this post is not intended to be a definitive guide, but more so to encourage you to take on your own research and see what you find for yourself. Not just in the sources you find on the internet, but the most valuable source around; self experimentation and your very own trial and error.
So now lets take a look at some health benefits of eating fat...
- Fat Elevates Mood: Fat makes you happy. Maybe not the excess amount found in your mid section, but the kind found on your plate can directly keep the blues away. Fat is responsible for regulating many hormones in the body and hormones affect the way we feel. Fat is essential to the production of adequate levels of serotonin (a happy feeling hormone) in the body. Many studies have found a strong relationship between low levels of serotonin and depression, hostility, and even suicide.
- Fat Increases Vitamin Absorption: Vitamins A, D, E, and K collectively affect every system in our bodies. Every single one. Really think about that and what it means to know that your body needs all these vitamins to function optimally. Then consider this... the body can only properly absorb these vitamins with the consumption of fat (hence the term, fat soluble vitamins).
- Fun fact: Did you know that one of the highest food sources of vitamin D you can get is from pasture raised lard??? There is a reason fat soluble vitamins are found in natural fat sources! Mother Nature, she is a smart one, no? Also, lard is nearly 50% mono saturated fat. You know, the "heart-healthy" fat that the American Heart Association encourages you eat more of.
- Fat Increases Sex Drive: If I didn't have your attention yet, I'm sure I do now, though it's not as risqué as it sounds. Sex is vital for sustaining (wo)man kind on earth. Seems like a no brainer, but when you start thinking about the hormonal changes (and increase desire to have sex) that occur in a woman when her window of opportunity to become pregnant occurs, you really start to appreciate how incredible the human body is. Sex (or reproductive) hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are all fat soluble compounds. Dietary fat plays a remarkable role in regulating the production of these hormones and to help keep them functioning properly. It is absolutely no coincidence that low libido is linked to low levels of these hormones, especially testosterone. So if you're not feeling "in the mood", consider the fact that it may be your body just isn't really in the mood to build a human being without an adequate amount of supplies (hormones).
- Fat Gives You Energy: Fat is a wonderful source of energy that can be used immediately for fuel, much like carbohydrates. Unlike some carbs however, it will not have the same impact on insulin and blood sugar levels (think of that energy crash you get after donuts and fraps for breakfast). So it's not just immediate energy, but sustained energy without any sudden dips. Fat such as medium chain triglycerides (aka MCT's) from coconut oil is metabolized different from its long chain counterparts. It is immediately sent to the liver from the digestive tract and utilized as fuel. I personally consume a few tablespoons per day of coconut oil, but I highly recommend starting at a much, much, much lower amount. Your body needs time to adjust to a higher fat intake. You don't want to be running to the bathroom in a panic because you didn't listen to me on this one.
- Fat is Vital for Brain Function: Our brains are primarily (nearly 60%) made up of fat and cholesterol. Fat is found in every single cell that make up our bodies and 25% of total cholesterol in the body resides in the brain. It has the great responsibility of synapse formation-- aka those things that fire off, allowing you to think, learn new things and create memories. That said, there are more and more studies being conducted that observe the relationship between things like statin medications (cholesterol lowering meds) or low fat diets and diseases like Alzheimer's and epilepsy. Is it no coincidence that memory loss is a common (and far too accepted) side effect of statin medications? Below is a piece straight from the FDA website:
FDA has been investigating reports of cognitive impairment from statin use for several years. The agency has reviewed databases that record reports of bad reactions to drugs and statin clinical trials that included assessments of cognitive function.
The reports about memory loss, forgetfulness and confusion span all statin products and all age groups. Egan says these experiences are rare but that those affected often report feeling “fuzzy” or unfocused in their thinking.
In general, the symptoms were not serious and were reversible within a few weeks after the patient stopped using the statin. Some people affected in this way had been taking the medicine for a day; others had been taking it for years.
Have you discovered that fat is actually your friend? What improvements did you notice when you ditched the fear of fat and included it into your daily meals? Let's chat about it in the comments below!