Fat is an essential nutrient that has been the primary fuel source throughout human evolution. Before the advent of agriculture around 10,000 years ago humans got their food from hunting, fishing and gathering and as much as 58% of our hunter-gatherer ancestors’ dietary calories came from fat! In fact, the diversity of protein and fats from animal products was what powered our brain’s expansion, without it we would have never had the ability to have an intelligent debate on FAT in the first place.
Sadly, media has led us to believe that we should avoid fat, especially saturated fat by portraying it as our enemy contributing to elevated cholesterol levels, clogged up arteries, heart-attack incidents, obesity and other serious health problems. To add insult to injury, the official line was to replace animal fats with industrial, high-omega-6 vegetable oils and partially hydrogenated trans fats, which have since been linked to causing cancer and other serious diseases. This whole mess-up started with the ill-formed common sense notion that saturated fat is solid at room temperature, therefore it will clog up arteries just as it clogs up pipes in the sink. The basic biology tells us something different. Contrary to our belief, saturated fat doesn't travel freely in our blood stream. Instead it travels safely inside lipoproteins and thus doesn’t clog up our arteries. By ignoring this basic biological fact and listening to our ‘common sense’ rather than solid studies, we have invented industrial toxic vegetable oils instead.
Fortunately, nowadays we can find more and more research linking vegetable oils to a high level of oxidation present in the body. Leading expert Dr. Cate Shanahan, calls vegetable oils ‘liquid death’ and warns that if consumed on a regular basis, they can cause cellulite, decrease endothelial functions in arteries, facilitate rapid aging, bring on gene mutation as well as brain problems. In fact, the oxidative stress caused by vegetable oils is the underlying factor of nearly every chronic disease known to man. For these reasons, if one wants to have energy and health , it is essential to take out all the vegetable oils from his or her diet.
On a positive note, in line with our ancestors’ dietary habits, recent studies have shown that natural saturated fat sources are not only delicious, but also essential to our health. Healthy dietary fats help with absorption of important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and play a key role in regulating our hormones and metabolism. Also, saturated fats being highly stable, are resistant to heat damage during cooking. Fats from pasture-raised animals (lard, tallow, butter, ghee) coconut oil, red palm oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, and olive oil are very good for us after all. PUFA (Polyunsaturated) oils such as canola, corn, soybean, peanut and sunflower, on the other hand, are less stable and more prone to oxidative damage, and thus should be avoided at all cost.
The signs below are some of the side effects of eating too little healthy fat or too much of the wrong type of fat.
No energy! If you have decided to decrease your carb consumption in order to lose weight or for other health reasons, don’t forget to replenish your body’s natural fuel by increasing your fat intake.
Hangry ! Fat being calorie-dense food will leave you satisfied for longer by optimising your appetite hormones and eliminating blood glucose fluctuations.
Insufficient HDL! Eating more saturated and monounsaturated fats can increase your HDL (High-density lipoprotein) and cleanse your bloodstream of harmful small, dense LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) particles.
Dry skin! Sebum is the body’s natural moisturiser so by increasing your fat consumption you can increase your skin’s moisture levels.
Next time you have your veggies, don’t forget to coat them in good fats. Stock up on pasture-raised meat and fatty fish. Have eggs and avocados for breakfast and don’t forget to eat your YOLK! Instead of your cappuccino or latte in the morning try bulletproof coffee (organic black coffee with grass-fed butter and MCT oil) for an immediate energy and brain boost.
Enjoy nutrient-dense fats guilt free!
Izabela Primal Health Coach
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