I spent last week discussing the importance of essential fatty acids in your diet like: salmon, flaxseed, and algae. I put emphasis on the quality of these foods and how they come into your diet, as they are responsible for so many major functions in the body.
Today I want to continue this discussion with a focus on fat metabolism and our social understanding/acceptance of fat in the diet. The popularity of this topic could fill Broncos Stadium with blogs, articles, research, books, diets, and FB posts. I'm adding to it, so here we go!
I wanted to reference Nina Tiecholz interview on the history of fat phobia in the US. Keep in mind there are always statements and ideas that are up for debate, and let's remember that every culture, every individual has different specific dietary needs. What I always tell my clients to consider is "Is your current diet working for you?" This is a personal question, one that does not involve what's working for anyone else, but what's working for you! If you are on a Paleo diet AND yet you are overweight and unhappy, then that my friend is not the diet for you. The second question is "are you doing the diet the way it's supposed to be done for maximum results in physiological and physical symptoms?" Most will say they "cheat" or don't follow it really all the time. Well, that's not a very good control group! Your nutrition is an experiment, and a scientific experiment at that. You have to control as many variables as possible in order to assess the validity of your results. My own research and understanding needs to be expressed here for you to ponder as well. I want you to feel confident about your choices in healthy fats, and not scared you will gain weight.
Understanding Fat Metabolism.
Fat is not the enemy, and actually has many necessary functions in our body. Fat is used as energy (fuel), it transports nutrients and fat soluble vitamins to our cells, it synthesizes other lipids (fatty acids & cholesterol), it is stored and used for protection (insulation), protects against shock, maintains our cell membrane structure, and is the precursor for our immune responses to injury. “Good” fats are easily digested and are good sources for fuel in our metabolism. Fat already stored in your cells can be released and utilized in your metabolism if you give your body the option to utilize it first for energy instead of glucose.
Oil Processing & Free Radical Formation.
The commercial oil industry uses a few different methods to get the oil from the seed-to the bottle-to you, including hydrogenation, solvent extraction, degumming, bleaching, and deodorizing. All of them remove the natural substances we need to digest and metabolize oils. These substances include
phospholipids (including lecithin)
phytosterols (which block cholesterol absorption in the intestines)
essential fatty acids (which are destroyed at high heats)
vitamin E and carotene (which protect the oils from damage)
Having all of these things removed to provide the public with a “cleaner”, odorless, longer lasting oil is at the expense of our health. Commercial oils (those used in chips, crackers, sauces, chocolate, and restaurants) have lost all of their redeeming qualities- It’s now just a calorie dense pseudo-food with traces of chemical compounds! Yuck! At Honest Market we only use fats and oils in accordance to their smoke point and quality. We cook with whole grass-fed butter, rice bran oil, or grapeseed oil; and we use Extra Virgin Olive Oil on as the base to our dressings. We believe in providing the most optimal foods for the most optimal nutrition which is why we would never use vegetable oils or hydrogenated fats.
Oxidation causes processed polyunsaturated fats to become rancid which is what causes free radical formation in your tissues and organs; ultimately leading to cancerous tumors and cells.
Organic extra virgin olive oil
Organic extra virgin coconut oil
Rice bran oil
Organic expeller cold-pressed flaxseed oil
Omega-3 fatty acids (Organic fish oil supplement)
Avoid processed polyunsaturated fats.
* Canola Oil is not fresh, while the oil industry states that Canola Oil is high in monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated omega-3’s it fails to state that the processing of this oil denatures the very fat they are promoting. The Canola plant is a genetically modified organism, a plant that does not naturally exist in nature.
Eating Fat, Doesn’t make you Fat!
Research suggests that eating healthy fats is actually conducive to weight loss.
When you eat fats as part of your meal, they actually slow down your food absorption so that you can go longer without feeling hungry. The fatty acid conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), found in grass-fed beef and full-fat dairy products from grass-fed cows (butter, milk, cheese, etc.), is also associated with reduced body fat and weight. Unfortunately, many people are still shunning healthy foods like raw butter and grass-fed beef, which contain saturated fat, because they believe it will cause heart disease. In reality, saturated fats are among the healthiest fats you can consume.
Any whole fat source is good for your body on a daily basis. Whole fat sources include: fish, algae, organic unprocessed nuts & seeds, nut butters, grass-fed organic butter, organic coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, & palm fruit oil. These are “good” sources of fat (saturated or not), these fats will not cause heart disease, and if eaten in moderation will not make you gain weight.
Eating fat won't make you fat. Too many calories can, but most "low-fat" or "fat-free" foods actually have just as many calories as their full-fat versions. So, what is causing you to gain weight in your diet? Here’s are 10 variables to consider changing BEFORE cutting out your avocado, coconut, and full fat beef products.
- Eating "low-fat": Low-fat or fat-free foods replace harmless fats with low-performing carbohydrates that digest quickly, causing a sugar rush and, immediately afterward, rebound hunger.
- Sleeping too little or too much: Dieters who sleep five hours or less put on 2 and a half times more belly fat, while those who sleep more than eight hours pack on only slightly less than that.
- Drinking soda -- even diet soda: Drinking one to two sodas per day increases your chances of being overweight or obese by nearly 33 percent. And diet soda is no better.
- Eating too quickly: It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it's had enough.
- Watching too much TV: A study found that overweight participants who reduced their TV time by just 50 percent burned an additional 119 calories a day on average.
- Eating off larger plates: One study found that when given an option, a whopping 98.6 percent of obese individuals opt for larger plates.
- Taking big bites: Research shows that people who take large bites of food consume 52 percent more calories in one sitting.
- Not drinking enough water: Adequate water intake is essential for all your body's functions, and the more you drink, the better your chances of staying thin
- Eating too late: A recent study found that those who ate after 8 PM took in the most daily calories and had the highest BMIs.
- Drinking fruity beverages: All juice is high sugar, and the ones that use viscous syrups made mostly from high fructose corn syrup and thickening agents are even worse.
Fruit & Nut Granola Bar by Honest Market.
Have a great week!
Sara Kosick, MNT, CSCS