BY: Kat Burki
JUNE 13, 2021
We had a phase back in the early 80’s where eggs were bad, fats were bad, and we man-made reengineered fats we ate, into trans fatty acids. Consuming anything man-made, where we reengineer nature, is never a good thing. These fats, which were produced through hydrogenation (margarine, vegetable oils, low-fat dressings etc.), by trans-arrangement of carbon atoms – they are actually linked to free radicals, cancers, and atherosclerosis. The sad part is, people were consuming these foods, trying to be healthier. Around this time there was also diet food, and other diet drinks which utilized artificial sweeteners, such as saccharin, to keep calories down, which are now linked to a host of disease states. Eek, and all of this in the name of health!
So, back to fats - Nutrition 101, the three main nutrients the body uses to function are Carbohydrates, Proteins and FATS. Seventy percent of our brain is fat. It lines our cells, nerves, muscles and helps neurons speak to one another. It is essential. Fat does not cause fat. Excess calorie consumption from any source (carbohydrate, protein or fat) is stored as fat, for a rainy day. Those rainy days hark back to when we were hunting and gathering, and there was nothing to be found to hunt or gather. Fats that we eat are vital.
Fats in the diet keep us satiated and regulate blood sugar swings. They help with mood and brain health, and functioning. Fats actually help us absorb vitamin A, D and E. These vitamins are fat-soluble, which means they can only be absorbed with fats. Some of the healthiest cultures studied in the world, derive a good portion of their daily caloric intake from healthy fats. This includes avocados, cheese, dark chocolate, eggs (both egg whites and yolk – the yolk is where all the nutrition is!), fatty fish that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil, coconuts, coconut milk and full fat yogurt – that’s right, full fat yogurt is much better for you than low fat yogurt.
Fat consumed with a healthy diet, will keep your body operating at full capacity. Skip the low or nonfat version when shopping next, and enjoy a little cheese, or dark chocolate for dessert. By the way, unpasteurized, or gooey cheeses are linked to good gut microbiomes, and dark chocolate is a potent source of polyphenols, which is also wonderful for the gut – so all is a win win.