Eat Healthy Fats
Let’s talk about healthy fats… “Wait, WHAT? Healthy and fat can’t go together, right?”
Despite decades of misinformation about fat, the truth is finally coming out. Even the CDC has finally started talking about healthy fats. 1
To understand why natural fats can be so healthy, let’s first talk about what they do in the body. Second, let’s address a few common myths. Last, let's talk about how to integrate healthy fats into your diet.
Fats play key roles in multiple body systems. They provide clean, sustainable energy that doesn’t peak and crash like a carb-based diet. They provide the primary matter for brain tissue, composing about 60% of its total mass. They are the lipids of the remarkable phospholipid-bilayer that allows every single one of our trillions of cells to have a functioning boundary between itself and its neighbors. They provide the critical insulation to our electric-wire-like nerves known as myelin. They allow the storage of vitamins A, D, E, and K. They provide substance for cholesterol, which is critical in hormonal regulation. Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most powerful anti-inflammatories around, curbing pain and boosting immunity. And so much more!
An exhaustive list of everything that fat does in the body would be quite long because fats are necessary in virtually all physiological processes. But if fat is so essential to life, why is it vilified?
In fact, the attack on fat is only a recent cultural phenomenon. Throughout human history, fat has been a sought-after commodity. The change occurred after Ancel Keys’ famous Seven Countries Study conducted from 1958 to 1978. What followed was an unprecedented shift in public policy and medical perspective that led to an even more unprecedented shift in human behavior.
To give context, you have to understand that food is one of the primary elements of human culture. What we eat and how we eat it is a profound representation of our natural resources, social habits, and even religious values. Today, the research of Ancel Keys and his contemporaries is hotly debated. We won’t delve into that debate here, only suggest that a rapid departure from traditional food should merit extraordinary, irrefutable evidence. The only fat with this type of damning evidence is trans fat, which, ironically, is still being snuck into tons of “diet” and “healthy” foods as mono- and diglycerides. You can’t make this stuff up.
It gets worse. Once touted as healthy alternatives to traditional fats, the industrial seed oils like canola, corn, cottonseed, soy, safflower, sunflower, and their kin have demonstrably inflammatory effects in the body. So, what to do?
Eat real, healthy fats. The kinds of fats that humans have always eaten — not the processed stuff in boxed foods, nor the designer, “heart-healthy” margarine tubs, nor the chemically altered versions of various cash crops. Avoid the stuff from maltreated feedlot animals. Choose fresh, unrefined oils of organic plants and seeds that are actually oily (think avocados, almonds, olives, and similar). Choose fresh, pasture-raised, 100% grass-fed, wild-caught, organic animals and dairy products.
Healthy fats aren’t just a cleaner, more evenly burning fuel source for your body. They provide critical roles in virtually every physiological system. More relevant than ever are their essential roles in immune function. They help us heal from a myriad of internal and external injuries while simultaneously preventing future sickness, chronic pain, and degeneration of our joints, arteries, and brain tissue.
Now put down your 0% Greek yogurt and your fat-free, high-sugar salad dressing and eat some delicious, pan-seared salmon!
1 "Healthy Eating Tips | DNPAO | CDC." https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/features/national-nutrition-month/index.html. Accessed 30 Apr. 2020.