Fat Myths

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Dietary fat has truly been demonized over the years leading to numerous myths and misunderstandings. Some of these myths include:

  •  All fats are bad for you
  • A fat-free diet is an important part of any weight loss program
  • Cardiovascular Disease is linked to consumption of dietary fats, especially cholesterol
  • Partially hydrogenated fats keep food fresh longer and are, therefore, healthful
  • Saturated fats are unhealthy
  • Eating fat makes you fat

Many of these myths began creeping into our mindset in the 19990’s when the media told us that a low fat or fat free diet was healthiest. As we all tried to adopt this new way of eating, many of us reached for packed items, began overeating, reaching for sugar, and were left feeling unsatisfied with our meals. Ironically and simultaneously, our obesity epidemic exploded and our health as a society dramatically declined. How could this be?

In order to understand part of what happened, it is helpful to understand the role of fat. This includes:

  • Absorption and transportation of fat soluble vitamins – Vitamin D, K, A, E
  • Essential part of cell membrane that allows nutrients to enter and exit the cell
  • Protection for internal organs
  • Necessary for proper nerve and brain function
  • Precursor to all hormones and essential for fertility
  • Carries flavor in food and provides satiety
  • Regulates temperature
  • Source of energy

When we remove fat from our foods, it needs to be replaced by something to provide flavor. This replacement is nearly always sugar, which contributes to a cascade of effects that lead to obesity including, inflammation, propensity to overeat, increased hunger, empty calories, cravings, decreased stored vitamins and minerals, as well as so much more. It is only logical that this replacement would lead to obesity and disease. If we do not consume healthy fats, we are unable to absorb nutrients, overeat as we feel less satisfied, experience reduced cognitive and nervous system function, and more. Instead it is important to focus on consuming healthy fats that can include:

  • Lard
  • Butter
  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive oil and whole olives
  • Avocado
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Meat
  • Fish

I encourage everyone to try adding more healthy fats to their diet and meals. Experiment and try a variety of different fats. It is a wonderful learning experience and great way to see how you feel physically, emotionally, and psychologically. You might even find something new to enjoy.