All macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates and proteins) are equally important for the body! Many modern diets advocate a significant reduction and in some cases completely obliterate one of the macronutrients. How many times have we heard – low carb diet, low fat diet? Instead of focusing on diets that rob us of essential nutrients we need to be concerned about getting high quality nutrients in our body in healthy moderation.
Today I’m going to be talking about good and bad fats, and the importance of good fats in helping us achieve a healthy body composition.
We need fat!
In fact, EVERY cell in the body (there are trillions of cells in the body) is made of a double layered fat membrane (see diagram below – fat membrane is labelled as Lipids(bilayer) the orange circles). The quality of our cellular fat membrane greatly influences how well our body functions and is responsible for the following:
- Regulates what comes in and out of cells.
- Houses receptor (such as insulin receptors that manage our blood sugars) which allow for communication into the cell and between cells.
- Regulates movement of water in and out of the cell.
Fats play other important roles in the body:
- 60% of our brain is fat contributing to our cognitive/mental & emotional function.
- Preferred energy source by heart cells responsible for cardiovascular health.
- Essential to the growth and development of children.
- Boosts immune system and fights viruses.
We need to focus on eating Good Fat in our diets!
Avoiding fat is not the solution; we have to Avoid Toxic/Bad Fat and Eat More Healthy/Good Fat! The ancient idea of reducing fat to lose weight has become obsolete. In fact, research now shows that eating healthy fats actually help you burn stored fat on our body!
Manufactures of processed food will try to sell you their poisonous food by advertising the reduced or no fat products, but have you ever stopped and asked yourself what food manufactures do to foods were fat has been removed? The fats have to be replaced with something and often that something is more processed, artificial fillers to enhance the taste of the product and make up for the tasty fats that have been removed. In addition, processed food manufactures will modify healthy unsaturated vegetable oils into more solid, saturated substances to give packaged foods taste, texture and to maintain their shelf life. These modified toxic fats are better known as Trans Fats.
Trans Fats health affect on the body:
- increases LDL (bad cholesterol)
- decreases HDL (good cholesterol)
- interfere with fat metabolism
- block metabolism, create weight gain
- increase risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes
Trans Fats should be AVOIDED – Read your labels and avoid:
- Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (It is commonly found in processed foods, fried foods, potato chips & margarine.)
Saturated Fats should be limited in the diet and come from:
- animal products (meat, dairy, lard).
- cottonseed oil, palm kernel oil
Saturated Fats are solid at room temperature and higher doses contribute to:
- heart disease
- inflammation and diabetes
- have been linked to breast and prostate cancers
Coconut Oil (mostly containing lauric acid) on the other hand is a healthy source of saturated fats.
Effect of BAD Fat on Weight
Dietary fat talks to our genes. Molecules from fat cells bind to receptors on the nucleus of our cells which turn on or off genes. Bad fats such as trans fats and saturated fats turn off fat burning genes which makes it harder to lose weight. In addition bad fats desensitize our insulin receptors making it difficult to control our blood sugars, and as mentioned above have a profound impact on our cardiovascular health.
Give me the GOOD Fat!
Good fats communicate good signals to our body and promote good health! Good fats especially omega 3 fatty acids turn on fat burning genes and improve insulin sensitivity which are important components of healthy weight loss. Good fats also support a healthy cardiovascular system, reduce inflammation, support development in children and much more! Eating good fats daily in moderation will help to reduce our risk of chronic disease and support the healthy function of all cells in the body!
|Type of fat||Source||Health Benefits|
Reduces blood pressure
Required in small doses
Borage & Sesame oil
Some Omega 6 tends to be modified & should be limited in the diet, such as:
Hair & Skin health
99% of us are currently deficient
Wild Fish – salmon, herring, sardines, anchovies
Flaxseeds and Flaxseed oil
Nuts & Seeds – walnuts, pumpkin, hemp
Prevents cardiovascular disease
Controls blood sugar levels
Reduces cholesterol & increases HDL
Brain protection & increases function
Promotes skin health
EAT 4-6 servings of healthy fat a day! Focus on eating more Omega 3 fatty acids because you’re likely deficient in it. Supplementing a high concentrated Omega 3 fatty acid is beneficial especially with our limited sources of wild fish. Consult you naturopath for the best supplements available!
Average serving size of fats:
- 1 tsp of healthy oil (extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil, grapeseed oil)
- ¼ of an avocado
- 10 olives
- 1 tsp of mayonnaise (from canola oil or grapeseed oil)