NUTRITION 101: WHY YOU NEED TO EAT MORE FAT
Welcome to the fourth in my blog series on the foundations of optimal health and nutrition. We’ve already covered a nutrient dense diet, digestion, and sugar handling in previous posts. Here, I will discuss fat as the fourth foundation of a healthy diet. Specifically, I’ll discuss why you need to eat fat and 3 ways to start doing that TODAY.
WHY YOU NEED FAT
Fat provides a steady, long lasting source of fuel. As I discussed in the last post, using sugar for fuel is like throwing kindling on your metabolic fire, while fat is like throwing on a big log. If you run yourself on mostly sugar (and refined carbohydrates), then you will have to feed that fire all day long. If you fuel yourself with fat, you can go for long stretches without eating and having to think about food.
Fats are the building blocks for what our bodies need to thrive. Fat and cholesterol form the building blocks of cellular membranes, hormones like estrogen and testosterone, and the myelin that surround nerve cells. Also, fats play a key role in reducing the inflammation that contributes to so much of the poor health that we’re experiencing today.
Fats are required to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Unfortunately, a fat-free diet is really a vitamin-free diet! Deficiencies in these vitamins can lead to a host of health problems, including reduced immune function, lack of growth in children, rickets, osteoporosis, and infertility, just to name a few.
NOT ALL FATS ARE YOUR FRIEND
It’s important to note that not all fats are good for your health. Trans-fats and hydrogenated vegetable oils wreak havoc on our health and should be avoided. Get an oil change! Throw away your vegetable oils and use healthy, heat stable saturated fats when cooking. For cold uses, eat some avocado and REAL olive oil. I like California Ranch & Trader Joe’s California Estate olive oils.
In sum, fat is an essential NUTRIENT. Don’t be afraid to eat more. Eating fat makes your food taste great, and your body will thank you too!