If you think eating fat makes your fat, you are probably on par with most Americans. After all, that IS what the government “experts” have been telling us is healthy. I am here to tell you, quite simply, why fat is an excellent fuel source for your body. I don’t know if you have noticed, but our obesity rates have only continued to rise, since the FDA advised we all go on a Low -Fat Diets. We did that. It isn’t working. Duh.
When you decrease fats in the diet, you naturally increase carbohydrates, and possibly protein. Fat protein and carbohydrates (macronutrients) are what comprise the calorie content of every food, in varying ratios (and alcohol, but that’s not a food). Therefore, by process of elimination, when you remove one of these three calorie sources, the other two will have to increase.
Below, is a very brief sum up of this HUGE topic, and I would really encourage you to CHECK OUT THIS ARTICLE for a little more detail. The more you understand about it, the easier it becomes to grasp the concept of “why,” and when you know why you’re doing something, making changes to support the “why” are much easier!
1. Carbohydrates these days, are usually found in a processed forms like cereal, bread, muffins, crackers, granola bars, bagels, flat breads, etc. Boxes and bags will tout “Healthy Whole Grains” and “Heart Healthy,” with the consumer being none the wiser. The sad and inconvenient truth is, ALL grains (just like sugar) will spike your blood sugar. Why should you care? Because when you have sugar present in your blood, your body goes into “fat storage mode.” It would much rather burn available sugar, than burn fat. Dietary fat is the only macronutrient that doesn’t affect your blood sugar.
Best analogy I can come up with:
Carbohydrates (especially from processed foods) are like the kindling when you build a fire. They burn right away, very quickly, and then the fire goes out. Fat is like the log you would put on the fire, to keep it burning long and slow.”
If you think about what type of fuel (carb or fat) your body prefers to burn during most of the day, it’s easy to see why eating more fat is advantageous. At rest and low intensity exercise, the body prefers to burn fat for fuel. When your heart rate increases with more intense exercise, it switches to burning more carbs for fuel. Now think, what percentage of the day are you at rest or low exercise output? For the majority of people, the answer is most of the day, if not all. Why wouldn’t you be feeding your body the fuel it prefers to burn, at low output? Why would we be giving a high intensity fuel source for a low intensity day?
2. You need fats to absorb many of the essential vitamins and proteins, found in your food. Some of these nutrients are only absorbable when fat is present. You can eat all the vitamins you want from your super awesome salad, but you better put some olive oil, nuts or avocado on it, if you want to reap the benefits!
3. Fats keep you satiated. It delays the stomachs’ emptying rate, so your nutrients are released slower over time. It keeps your blood sugar more stable, and starves off cravings for sugar and carbs.
4. Fats are needed for healthy brain function, hormone production and regulation, and cell generation and function.
I am absolutely advocating eating more fat, but this recommendation comes in the context of also eating less refined carbohydrates. I would not recommend keeping your refined carb consumption as is, and just adding fats to your diet (this is assuming you’re eating a Standard American Diet that includes upward of 50-60% of calories from processed carbs and sugar). If you want to shift your macronutrient ratios in your daily diet, try cutting out some of the processed grain and sugar products, and adding in more starchy vegetables and fats. For example, if you eat cereal for breakfast, switch it out for a smoothie made with berries and coconut milk, or an egg based breakfast with some veggies (like this one).
Hope this was enough to convince you all to eat some fat, if you don’t already!
Stay tuned for which fats you should be choosing. It may surprise you 🙂