Fat is good! Fat is bad. Which is it?
It depends. Good fat is good. Bad fat is bad.
When I was growing up fat was vilified as the enemy of health. You could have all the sugar and carbs you wanted but DO NOT EAT FAT. Low fat. Low fat. Low fat! That was the public health message. Now we have a public health crisis from consuming too many, highly-processed carbohydrates that were inserted in place of the fat.
Well, it turns out that fat is actually a necessary part of a healthy diet. The human brain is nearly 60 percent fat and fatty acids are among the most crucial molecules that determine your brain’s integrity and ability to perform. Good fats from high-quality, whole food sources (see below) can decrease inflammation, regulate metabolism, improve brain function, help balance your hormones and makes food taste better.
In addition, fat does not make you fat. Bad fats, highly-processed carbohydrates and added sugar are the likely culprits. How is “good fat” defined, you ask?
It’s not as simple as saturated versus unsaturated fats; and avoiding trans fats/hydrogenated oils. It starts with food quality. You want to consume foods that are the least-processed. When it comes to food and oil in this case, the more highly processed an oil is the less nutritional value it has (and harm it may inflict). It means that you should purchase your oils from a reputable company that is dedicated to producing a product that is organic and non-GMO and does not use chemical solvents to extract/process the oil. Yes. Some food processors use chemical solvents (like hexane) to extract the oil from foods like olives and nuts. Crazy. I know. Three examples of brands that use healthy production methods are: Spectrum, Nutiva and Ellyndale. If you are unsure about a brand I suggest reading the label and doing internet research to see how the oil ends up in the bottle.
Rather than go into the science behind good and bad fats (see my suggested reading list below if you want to know more), I want to provide you with a list of the best fat-containing foods to include in your diet. You can print this out and take it grocery shopping. This list is based on data from “Eat Fat, Get Thin” by renowned functional medicine doctor Dr. Mark Hyman, Director of Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic:
A note on oil storage. Oils are sensitive to oxygen and light. Buy them in smaller quantities (the amount you will use in 3-4 months) and store them in a cabinet or dark place with the lid or cap firmly in place. Do not store over the stove.
author: Kim McFadden
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Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be medical advice nor is it meant to replace your own physician’s advice. Looking for a certified functional medical practitioner? go to https://www.ifm.org/
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