The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Let’s Talk about Fat.
Lately it seems that most health and fitness bloggers are either telling their readers to consume a lot of fat or advising their readers to avoid fat completely. Yikes. And to make matters worse, when it comes to eating, 90 percent of Americans consume the wrong kind of fat anyways.
Allow me to tell you here and now: it is SO important to understand the impact of different types of fats on the body. And just to set the record straight, you absolutely need to consume healthy fats in most of your meals. The better and higher quality the fat, the better your body will function. Did you know that the average person holds anywhere from 15-30% of fat in their bodies? Fat is one of the body’s most basic building blocks; it is used every time the body needs to build cell walls. In fact, there are more that 100 trillion cells in your body. Yup, that’s right- 100 TRILLION. And you guessed it; every single one of them needs high-quality fat to be constructed and to properly function.
Now that you know how big a role fat plays in your body, it’s time to figure out which fats your body needs and why the kind of fat matters for cell production or organ function. Just think about it like this: imagine you’re starting a new project- you’re going to build a home or maybe you’re going to build a car. Would you build the frame of the house or car with strong, reliable and high-quality material? Or, would you just use the cheapest crap you could find? If you choose to go the cheap route and don’t use high-quality material- and maybe you’re like me and you’ve run into this issue with your home (oops)- problems almost always come up. We end up having to strip things back down and ultimately fix the problem from the inside, out. If we had just chosen the high-quality material in the first place, we wouldn’t be working twice as hard now to fix a preventable problem. And sure, maybe the problems start small; a leak here or crack there, but small problems add up. Worse still, small problems can also be signs that there is even greater damage than we thought.
I like to think of the human body in the same way.
If you want to fuel your body with the cheap and easy stuff (like most Americans), then opt for the typical prepackaged, fast food. When this is the fuel that you give your body, this is what your body is forced to put to work to build cell walls. When cell walls are built using foods with shitty-to-no nutrition, they end up being shitty quality. That means the cell walls will be stiff and hard, with no flexibility at all. When cell walls aren’t flexible, they are more vulnerable to inflammation, which causes sickness and disease and the functions of the cells become much, much slower.
To change the cells in our bodies from rigid to flexible, AKA completely rebuild our body’s structure; requires us to change our diet. This means incorporating those good, high-quality fats and limiting consumption of the bad fats. And this whole process can take up to a year. The hardest part isn’t finding the information (you have it now!), but being patient and consistent with a new way of eating.
Here are a few pointers to help you choose better quality fats, ones that will help rebuild your cell walls in the right way:
1. Increase your omega 3 fats. You can source this fat through cold-water fish, organic (not optional- always go organic!!) canola oil, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seed, flax oil Brazil nuts, and/or sea vegetables.
2. Avoid trans fat and shitty processed fats completely, such as: safflower, soybean, sunflower, corn, and cottonseed oils; hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils; margarine and shortening.
3. Source your fats from this power group: coconut butter; organic, virgin, cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil; organic, extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil; MCT oil; organic flax seed oil; organic, expeller-pressed refined avocado oil; walnut, pumpkin seed, pistachio and hemp oils
Let’s keep in mind, there is a reason that most Americans are eating bad fats- they are usually the cheapest, fastest option. Healthy fats (or foods that use healthy fats) can be very expensive, hard to find, or take some time to prepare. For these reasons (not because people actually want to be unhealthy) is why consuming healthy fat is low on most people’s list of priorities. My hope is that with more widespread knowledge about healthy fats, people will start to make small but mightier choices for their bodies. And in due time, food industries will follow and realize what the consumer actually wants. It might-be a far-fetched dream, and no-doubt one that will take years, but my hope is that by sharing this knowledge we can make healthier changes for ourselves and eventually, for our society as a whole.
By: Nancy Anderson
Editor: Clara Canul