May 27, 2019
Fat: Good vs Bad
Low-fat, no-fat, high-fat, what's the best diet? Fitness trends and fads have made it seem complicated, but the truth is pretty simple!
Our relationship with fatty foods has become even more complicated. On the one hand, we're encouraged to eliminate them and opt for 'fat-free' alternatives. On the other, new trends like the Keto diet encourage high fat consumption.
The truth is that a healthy amount of fat is necessary in any diet - as long as you're eating right type.
How We Store Fat
The human body can store fat like there's no tomorrow - which is a good thing! Our ability to store fat is one reason why humans have survived and thrived as a species. Fat has played a huge role in our brain development and is part of the reason why we can run and walk for extraordinarily long distances.
Fat is an important fuel for most of the cells in our body and essential for healthy muscle function. It protects major organs like the heart, liver, spleen, kidney, brain, and spinal cord by insulating them against trauma. It also helps you absorb certain vitamins, such as Vitamin A, D, K and E. These vitamins are fat-soluble, meaning they must be digested with fat or the body can’t absorb them effectively.
Healthy Sources of Fat
Some fats are considered heart-healthy fats, and play a role in good overall health, skin and immune function.
You can find healthy fats in olives, avocados, nuts and seeds, peanut butter and oils like sesame seed, coconut and olive oil. If you're not vegan, you can also find healthy fat in foods like fish, like sardines, milk and eggs.
Fats to Avoid
Certain types of fat have been shown to have a detrimental effect on our health, and are best avoided or eaten in small amounts. One group called 'trans fats' are found in foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Trans fats increase inflammation and increase the risk of heart disease. This type of fat is often found in takeaways, fried food, baked good and processed snacks.
While the occasional treat won't hurt, aim to ensure that 90% of your fat intake comes from healthy, natural fats like those listed above and your body will thank you.