Go ahead - eat some fat

Fat has been a controversial topic and avoided for the last four decades.  The early 1980’s saw a surge in heart disease and other chronic diseases that are a direct result of our health behaviors.  Researchers, medical doctors and the food industry agreed, eating too much fat is a culprit.  The response was to create nutrition recommendations and pyramids that decrease the amount of fat the average American above the age of 2 consumes.

However, the last four decades have shown, the idea to limit fat was a huge failure.  Americans began decreasing foods with fat, such as red meat, eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds only to replace it with flour, sugar and other fast, convenient foods.  Science has shown that the chemicals and pesticides in foods such as muffins and wheat breads slow down our digestion and clog our arteries more than diets high in fat from red meat and dairy. 

While the topic is still controversial and many nutritionists won’t let go of the “avoid fat” bandwagon, there are things to do that can improve your health and decrease your risk of developing chronic diseases. 

  • Eat a balanced diet.  Eliminating one type of food group, unless for allergy or moral reasons, is not ideal.  Stay away from fad diets that claim one food group or food is the culprit and eat them all in moderation.
  • Eat real foods.  Instead of eating foods made in a factory or with labels that remind you of chemistry class, eat foods in their whole, natural form.  Doing so will likely increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables and grains in their natural form which don’t challenge your insulin and digestive system. 
  • Cook your own food.  If you cook a hamburger or steak, it is likely far healthier than ordering one at a restaurant or eating on the go.  When you cook your food, you know what goes into it and are less likely to eat foods that make you feel sluggish or you know are not healthy.

Finally, regardless of the research and public opinion of fats, be thoughtful about what types of fats you are eating.  Swap your vegetable oil for coconut oil while cooking, add an avocado to your sandwich or salad and snack on nuts and seeds to keep you satiated in between meals.