Make Friends With Fats…..and Know Which Ones to ‘Unfriend’

Fat has gotten a pretty bad rap.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that fats are bad…..that fats make us fat…..that fat causes heart disease.

Did you know that every cell in your body is made of fat?

Your cells need fat in order to stay healthy.  But all fat is not created equal.  When you feed your cells the wrong kinds of fats, they get weaker.

If you’re eating a low-fat diet, you are pretty much going to be constantly hungry.

Why?  Because fat is fuel.

We need fuel to function.  If you deprive yourself of fat, you will inevitably fall off the diet-wagon.  Likely that will be in the form of a binge on junk food that will leave you feeling full of shame and even worse about yourself….I’m speaking from personal experience ;-)

Furthermore, food that is marketed as low-fat is typically filled with sugar and chemical fillers which are the true culprits of weight gain.

avocado olive oil

Image Credit: latinamericancook.blogspot.com

So let loose and give yourself permission to eat fat!

But…..eat the RIGHT fats!

Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fats are the most commonly accepted fats and include avocados and olive oil. Monounsaturated fats aid in sugar metabolism and keep you feeling full longer.

Avocados contains the amino acid L-carnitine which the body requires for fat metabolism.  And they’re freaking delicious!

Olive oil oxidizes when used in high heat and loses it’s benefits, so it’s best to use it in cold preparations like salad dressings or for low-heat cooking.  Try to avoid using olive oil for roasting or other high-heat cooking.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats like butter, animal fats and coconut oil have been blamed for increasing risk of heart disease.  This is a false and outdated myth.  A recent analysis of 21 different studies of 350,000 test participants over an average of 14 years concluded that there is absolutely no link between saturated fat intake and an increased incidence of heart disease.

Saturated fats are an extremely efficient form of fuel for us humans.  In other words, we have a very easy time turning them into energy.

In fact, the very kind of fat that makes up your cell walls is….saturated fat!  You just can’t nourish your cells with margarine and trans fats in place of these super healthy saturated fats.  Margarine and hydrogenated oils are highly processed.  Your body doesn’t recognize them, can’t utilize them and must work harder to eliminate them.

Let that sink in… and Get used to Looking at Saturated Fats in a whole new way.

Butter

It really is true that everything is better with butter!  Imagine a world where you didn’t have to monitor your butter intake, but

Raw Butter made at home.  Delish!

Raw Butter made at home. Delish!

could instead enjoy it guilt-free!  Here are just a few of the many benefits of butter:

  • Contains antioxidants that protect against free radical damage
  • Contains conjugated linolenic acid which is an anti-cancer agent and aids in building muscle
  • Rich in vital trace minerals manganese, chromium, zinc, copper, selenium and iodine.
  • Contains lecithin which supports cholesterol metabolism
  • Contains Arachidonic Acid which promotes brain function and is a vital part of cell membranes.

Just be sure to buy organic butter from grass-fed cows and if you can get it raw, that’s even better.  I get raw milk and sometimes make my own butter.

Coconut Oil

If you are sensitive to dairy or are a vegan, you can try ghee or load up on coconut oil and still get the benefits of saturated fat.  Coconut oil is amaaaaazing!  Here are just a few of the many benefits of coconut oil:

  • Supports heart health and does NOT have a negative effect on cholesterol
  • Contains lauric acid which strengthens immune system
  • Easily digested and converted into energy which speeds up metabolism and aids in weight losss
  • Supports thyroid gland
  • Promotes healthy skin
  • Regulates blood sugar

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

Next up are the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that we hear so much about, but they tend to create a lot of confusion.

These are polyunsaturated fats.  Let’s look at our dietary sources of these oils.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in plant sources like walnut, chia and flax as well as abundantly in fatty fish and seafood like cod, salmon and krill.

Omega-6 fatty acids are found most appreciably in American diets in highly processed oils like soybean, corn, canola, safflower, sunflower and cottonseed.  You will find these in your salad dressings, cookies, crackers, snacks, etc.  They are probably in more of your packaged food then you realize.

It’s very important to consume an appropriate balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

The reason is that omega-6 fatty acids can contribute to inflammation and omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation.

Image Credit: wakeforestchiropractic.com

Image Credit: wakeforestchiropractic.com

The ideal ration is 1:1.  The problem is we are getting waaaaaaay too much omega-6 oils in our salad dressings and crackers and cookies and processed foods and it’s throwing off our ratio so that it’s more like upwards of 20:1 (omega-6 to omega-3), resulting in increased incidence of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and autoimmune disease.

Anytime you have more omega-6s then you have omega-3s, the omega-6s fill up all your omega-3 receptors in the brain, blocking your ability to use the omega-3s and preventing them from doing their job of reducing inflammation.

You can’t milk a seed

Another thing about those omega-6 vegetable oils: soybean, corn, canola, safflower, sunflower and cottonseed….they are super crazy processed!

Have you ever thought about how they take oh, say, a sunflower seed and get oil out of it?  It’s quite different than milking a cow!

I’ll try to simplify it for you…

The seeds are first ground, cleaned and heated to temperatures above 200 degrees F.  Exposing them to such high temperatures destroys the nutrition of the seeds and makes the oil susceptible to rancidity.

Next, they have to use a solvent extraction process to coax the oil out of the seed.  The solvent most often used is hexane, a neurotoxin.

The oil is heated more and bleached to completely get rid of any color or bitterness.  The resulting product has been so chemically altered that it smells pretty raunchy, so then they have to deodorize it at temperatures around 400 degrees F.

And voila!  You have a completely dead oil that will last on your shelf for years and nutritionally, bears little resemblance to the seed from whence it came.

Do you see now why it’s a good idea to avoid processed vegetable oils like soybean, canola, corn, safflower, sunflower and cottonseed?  If not, here’s a recap.  These oils:

  • Provide zero nutritional value
  • Weaken your cells by replacing the saturated fat they need to do their jobs
  • Unless labeled organic, are GMO
  • Crowd out all the omega-3 oils so your body can’t use them.
  • Are highly chemically processed.

PHEW! That was a lot of information!  Let’s put it all together.

Saturated fats and Monounsaturated fats actually protect you from heart disease, stabilize your blood sugar, build muscle mass, curb your appetite, and give you a steady supply of energy between meals.

Polyunsaturated fats must be eaten in the right ratio.  So that means, moderate intake of healthy omega-6 fatty acids and increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

Image credit: new.health.com

Image credit: new.health.com

Take Action:

  • Eat more coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, butter (yes, butter!), nuts and seeds.
  • Eliminate processed soybean, canola, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower and corn oils.
  • Eat whole seeds like pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower in moderation as a healthier source of omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Eat nuts/seeds like walnuts, chia, flax and hemp as a source of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Take a fish oil supplement (Cod Liver and Krill Oils are the best sources).

Quick, Right Now!

Head into your kitchen and check out some of the products in your refrigerator and pantry.  Read the labels.  How many can you find that contain one of the “bad” oils?  How can you begin to replace them with alternatives that have “good oils”?  Comment below and tell me what you find!

Hint:  Some products are very hard to find with good oils.  For example, almost all salad dressings are made with soybean or canola oils.  Same with mayonnaise.  So try these recipes for homemade ranch dressing and homemade mayonnaise.

 

I buy Dr. Bronner’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil:

 

 

DrBronnersCoconutOil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post is linked to Sunday School at Butter Believer.

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One Response to Make Friends With Fats…..and Know Which Ones to ‘Unfriend’

  1. [...] is much less advertised as a cause of skin cancer is our omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.  In general, we consume far more omega-6 vegetable oils (from sources like canola, corn, [...]

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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor.  I am a scientist and householder.  Please do not replace advice from a doctor or medical professional with information found on this site.