First of all the No Fat/Low Fat diet trend is SO 1990’s. At least 20-35% of your daily calories should come from fats, but not just any fats, Healthy Fats. I'm sure you've heard about the Ketogenic diet. If not you should read this book Fat for Fuel by Dr. Joseph Mercola or get some research on his website mercola.com. I will be doing a more in depth post on ketogenic or as he calls it MMT Mitochondrial, metabolic therapy. It focuses on fueling your body with fats and switching from burning glucose to burning fat.
Fat is ESSENTIAL to the human body! Without it, our skin would be dry, fat soluble vitamins wouldn’t be available for our bodies to use. This would prevent us from reaping the nutrient benefits and our brain would not be able to function. We need healthy fats to THRIVE. Healthy fats can aid in the health of your heart and even prevent chronic disease and heart problems. Everything is so backwards when it comes to fats so let’s get the FACTS about FATS straight.
Fat gets a bad rep, so let’s sort out the different types of fats. Fat is broken down into two main categories, unsaturated fats (the good guys!) and saturated fats, not always the best choice. Below are some examples of foods that fall into each category:
PolyUnsaturated Fatty Acids
- Soybean oil*
- Corn oil**
- Safflower oil**
- Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
- Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
- Soy milk*
*Soybean oil is almost always genetically modified, this oil does not come highly recommended. Soy milk and Tofu should be consumed in minimal amounts and as least processed as possible or avoided as well for the same reasons.
**Corn Oil is always genetically modified. Corn oil and Safflower oil have an unhealthy ratio of omega 6 fatty acids to omega 3 fatty acids. A lot of these vegetable oils like corn, sunflower, safflower and soy are heated during processing causing rancidity, then treated with chemicals to mask the rancidity. NO THANKS.
MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acids
- Olive oil
- Canola oil*
- Sunflower oil*
- Peanut oil*
- Sesame oil
- Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
- Peanut butter*
*Canola oil is always genetically modified, avoid, avoid, avoid!
*Peanut butter is almost always genetically modified and peanuts usually have aflatoxin on them, a harmful carcinogen.
*Sunflower oil has an unhealthy balance of omega 6 FA to omega 3 FA. Peanut, Canola, and Sunflower oil have the same problem mentioned above with the chemical processing of the oils and rancidity.
Saturated Fatty Acids
- High-fat cuts of meat (red meats)
- Chicken with the skin
- Whole-fat dairy products
- Ice cream
- Palm Oil*
- Coconut Oil**
*Palm oil is one of the healthier saturated fats, however it should be avoided since 90% of the palm oil obtained is not sustainably sourced and contributes to deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced.
**Coconut oil is full of saturated fats, however this is one of the best oils you can consume or expose your body to. There will be blog posts to come talking about all of the benefits of coconut oil, but to keep it simple: it promotes a strong heart, a healthy brain, and supports weight loss through an optimally functioning metabolism.
THE ABSOLUTE WORST OILS AND TO BE AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS!
Trans Fatty Acids
- Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough
- Packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips)
- Vegetable shortening
- Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish)*
- Candy bars
- Basically anything in a box, bag, or can!
*These are highly inflammatory and usually fried in genetically modified canola oil.
All of the foods listed here usually contain hydrogenated oils which cause inflammation and high blood pressure. Hydrogenated oils are factory manipulated to add the extra hydrogen for a longer shelf life and are only one molecule away from being PLASTIC!
Generally you want your Saturated Fat intake to encompass 10% or less of your daily calorie intake (unless it’s coconut oil!). You want to get your Trans Fat intake down to 0! Trans Fats are heavily processed. These fats are factory manipulated fats in foods used to extend their grocery store shelf life (in turn shortening your own life!).
Your body creates its own fat through excess calorie intake, therefore it’s not always the fats making you fat. Fats are high in calories so a little can go a long way, that’s why we need to know which are the healthy fats to get the maximum benefits. Don’t run away from the full fat foods and local, organic, grass fed dairy products, their consumption in moderation can supply you with healthy nutrients and healthy fats.
These are foods to consume for your optimal daily fat intake!
- Sesame Seeds
- Flaxseed oil
- Hemp seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Fatty Fish
- Sesame oil
- Coconut Oil
Get on the healthy fat train. Cut out the bad trans fats and incorporate these healthy fats to reap the benefits! Your body (especially your brain) will thank you!