Why do we all fear fat?
A week or so ago, I saw a newscast that was sharing how exciting it was that ‘scientists’ have figure out how to make avocados low fat, have increased shelf life, and ripen faster.
My question, why would we need low fat avocados? (I also have other questions like… what are we doing to the avocados in a lab somewhere to make this all possible? and what are the long-term effects of this genetic modification? but I will hold those thoughts for another blog)
Healthy fat, the type we get from coconut oil, ghee, butter, nuts, milk, cheese, seeds and the aforementioned avocados is not only healthy for you, it is essential for our bodies to thrive.
Take hormones for example – they help us sleep soundly, regulate our stress, respond to danger, stimulate our libido, increase muscle mass and so much more….
The ingredients required to make every one of these hormones is healthy fat and protein.
Often when I review diet diaries with patients, they have a wide selection of ‘on-the-go’, ‘quick’ and ‘comfort’ foods that comprise their diet. Its easy to get carbs on the go – breads, fruits, cereal, granola bars. It’s even easier to become a Carb-aholics or carb-aterians – these foods provide comfort and quick energy.
The big problem is that a diet so focused on one food category results in our bodies being starved for fat.
But Fat is Bad, Right? WRONG!
At least once a day, someone shares with me the assumption that fat in their diet is making them fat. Sure if your diet is full of lard and saturated fat it may contribute to weight gain, but healthy fat does the exact opposite.
Let’s breakdown how food is used in
Carbohydrates breakdown to molecules of sugar/glucose for use in the body. Our bodies use them for short term energy requirements and stores them as fat. Carbs are good for short-term energy but if you don’t use them they get stored in our body as fat tissue.
Protein breaks down into amino acids. Protein provides our body medium to long-term energy. In addition to breaking down slower and providing us with longer term energy, proteins are responsible for to repair and replace everything from our hair to our neurotransmitters, hormones, muscles, skin, etc. The ingredients from protein breakdown are essential for DNA, the backbone of the body.
As people age, protein is more difficult to breakdown in the body because helpers like stomach acid are less abundant as we age. We see older adults shy away from eating a lot of protein, but in doing so, we commonly see muscle wasting on their bodies. Their body to continue functioning still needs sources of protein to repair, replace, and run. Muscle tissue broken down provides these components. This phenomenon is not isn’t limited to older adults – it can happen to anyone that is protein deficient.
That leaves us with fat – most people think of fat as the layer of tissue that stands between you and your desired size of jeans, but would you be surprise to know that the largest single deposit of fat in our body’s is our BRAINS. Healthy fats comprise the materials that surround every cell in our body, our hormones, our neurotransmitters, the sheath that lines our nerve fibers and so much more.
We see fat in action in pregnant ‘soon to be’ moms. Every knows a mom (maybe it was themselves) who had terrible baby brain. The forgetfullness that makes them think they are losing their mind. In fact, they sort of are losing their mind. The fat their baby needs to create its cells, brain and body is coming from mom. So when mom is experiencing ‘baby brain’ it is because its baby is boring its mom’s brain to develop its own.
So What Does It All Mean?
Fat is important for our body development, maintenance and function. But we also know that diets focused on incorporating more fat in the diet have been shown to help people lose weight, reduce seizures in epileptics, improve endurance in athletes, improve memory, balance hormones and the list goes on…
So do we need a low fat avocado — definitely not. Instead we need to gain new perspective on fat – why we need it, what it can do for us and how are body feels when we eat it.
My recommendation is to incorporate some fat into every meal and snack. You may notice less fluctuation in energy and hunger, less brain fog and that you feel more in control.
Ideas for healthy fat options include:
Avocados – the full fat variety – can be incorporated into smoothies, topping your eggs, eaten as delicious guacamole, made into avocado chocolate pudding…the options are limitless
Nuts – they can be eaten alone or as a trail mix – walnuts, almonds, pistachios, etc.
Nut Butter – nut butter is a great way to integrate both protein and fat into a snack such as accompanying and apple or carrot sticks. There are a wide variety of types including sunflower butter – which isn’t made from nuts but instead seeds for allergy friendly snacks.
Olives and Olive Oil – this rich treat can be drizzled raw on top of veggies, salad or even just taken on a spoon to increase the healthy fat in your day.
Fish – all types of fish have healthy fat, some more then others – fish such as anchovies and salmon are rich in healthy fat, but really any creature from the sea has soon excellent fat to help fuel your body.
Eggs! – Eggs are good for you, especially the golden yolks – filled with phosphatidyl choline one of the most essential brain fog eliminating components! Have your eggs and boost your brain.
BulletProof Coffee – this fat rich starter to your day can get your body humming in the morning. Click here for the official bulletproof coffee recipe.
Other thoughts – add coconut oil to your smoothie, dip your lunch time veggies in hummus, pop some trail mix into your backpack, sneak a little cheese, butter or dairy into your day…
The Author, Christina Carew, is a naturopathic doctor who practices functional and strategic medicine in Toronto and King City/ Vaughan. As a medical investigator, she is in the business of changing people’s lives. Dr. Christina focuses on finding the biomedical reasons for symptoms that are often unique to each patient and helps her patients remove the obstacles that stand in the way of living a healthy vibrant life. Want to know if her approach is right for you – sign up for a free 20-minute consult at http://www.healingme.ca/book-appointment-naturopathic-doctor/
Note: This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed health care worker