Fat-tastic Food Group
In general fat gets a bad rap. Fatphobia is the residual effects of the low-fat craze of the 1990s, causing many people to believe that less is more when it comes to fat. This resulted in a wide spread marketing campaign that all things fat was bad and clogged your arteries. As a result, fat-free products flooded the grocery store shelves and people became afraid to eat any form of fat consuming virtual no fat diets!! While you should avoid trans fats and limit saturated it is vital that your body receives a certain amount of “good fats” daily to function properly.
Some of the traditional Fat Myths are:
Fat Myth #1: Low Fat or No Fat is the only way to lose weight!
Fat Myth #2: All fat contributes to the development of heart disease, increases cholesterol, and LDL!
Fat Myth #3: Fat has no effect on my running performance!
Some truth about Dietary Fat…
· 60% of the human brain comprise of fat
· Fat manufactures cell membranes or lining, regulate blood pressure, heart rate, blood vessel constriction, blood clotting, and the nervous system.
· Every Neuron in the body is protected by a layer of fat.
· Helps slow digestion increasing satiety or lengthens the time between meals you get hungry.
· Slows the release of blood sugar which helps control blood sugar.
· Increase the absorption of fat soluble Vitamins A,D,E, & K
· Improves skin, hair, nails and over all attitude
· Extreme low fat diets below 20% of your daily intake increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer!
According to Harvard School of Public Health: Results from large, long Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial shows no effect on heart disease, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, or weight.
The low-fat, high-starch diet that was the focus of dietary advice during the 1990s-is finally dying out. A growing body of evidence has been pointing to its inadequacy for weight loss or prevention of heart disease and several cancers. The final nail in the coffin comes from an eight-year trial that included almost 49,000 women. Results from this large, long Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trail showed no effect on heart disease and some cancers.
However, All Fats are Not Created Equal
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend Americans consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Consume less than 300 mg per day of dietary cholesterol and keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible, especially by limiting foods that contain synthetic sources of trans fats, such as partially hydrogenated oils, and by limiting other solid fats. Reduce the intake of calories from solid fats and added sugars.
You have heard enough about the fats not to consume to scare the daylights out of you but with the recommendation of 25-35% of your daily intake should come from dietary fat you may be wondering which fats are fabulous??
When choosing a fabulous fat stick to a few key words:
Monounsaturated (MUFAs) and Omega-3s.
According to the American Heart Association monounsaturated fats can have a beneficial effect on your health when eaten in moderation and when used to replace saturated fats or trans fats. Monounsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells. Monounsaturated fats are also typically high in vitamin E.
Foods High in Monounsaturated Fat
Black Olive Tapenade
Green or Black Olives
Natural Peanut Butter
Semisweet Chocolate Chip
Sesame or Soybean Oil
Edamame - shelled
Sunflower Seed Butter
Tahini, sesame seed paste
The American Heart Association also recommends daily intake of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of — or who have — cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which can lead to sudden death. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, and lower blood pressure (slightly).
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids (EFA). An EFA is a long chain- polyunsaturated fatty acid that your body cannot produce on its own yet needs for survival. The only way to get EFAs into your system is through daily dietary consumption or supplementation.
EFAs (including Omega-3 and 6) support the healthy function of your body’s critical systems. The cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems all rely on EFAs. EFAs play a crucial role in your health at the cellular level—EFAs help your cells repair and regenerate, receive nutrition and eliminate waste—all key to vitality at any stage of life.
New research suggest that EFAs nourish your nervous system and may help combat depression, low-energy and stress, while improving mental clarity and attention span. A diet rich in EFAs also has a visible effect on the outside. A balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 reduces wrinkles and gives you healthy skin, hair and nails. They also promote better joint health because they help reduce inflammation and keep joints lubricated.
Where will you find these amazing EFAs?
Increasing omega-3 fatty acid consumption through foods is preferable. However, those with coronary artery disease may not get enough omega-3 by diet alone. These people may want to talk to their doctor about supplements. And for those with high triglycerides, even larger doses could help.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (fatty fish) at least two times (two servings) a week. Each serving is 3.5 ounce cooked, or about ¾ cup of flaked fish. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Other dietary sources of EFAs:
- Nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans and most other nuts)
- Seeds (hemp, flax, pumpkin, chia)
- Cold-pressed oils (Extra virgin olive oil, Flaxseed oil, Sesame oil, Grapeseed oil, Avocado oil, Pumpkin oil, Walnut oil, and Cod liver oil)
- All hemp-based products (oil, protein, flour and seed)
Salad dressings are the perfect vehicle for getting more plant-based EFAs into your diet—as long as your base consists of cold-pressed oil.
Try this basic, EFA-rich salad dressing recipe:
2 Tbsp cold pressed oil of choice
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tsp Honey Mustard
Dash of Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tsp Honey Mustard
Dash of Black Pepper
Whisk all ingredients together and serve cold.
Myths About Omega-6
Omega-3s have been a hot topic in the last few years—but what about Omega-6 and the other EFAs? Omega-3s are not the only EFA you need to reap the full benefits of healthy fats in your diet. The other include:
- Omega-5 (found in pomegranate seeds)
- Omega-9 (found in olives, olive oil and nuts)
- Monounsaturated fats (found in cold-pressed olive oil and avocados)
- Polyunsaturated fats (found in grapeseed oil)
- Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs, found in coconut oil)
- Gamma Linolenic Acid
Omega-6 have been deemed a “bad fat” because studies showed the over consumption lead to heart disease and cancer. From those findings a generalization was made that all Omega-6s are the devil and we should eliminate them from our diets. Why this is not entirely incorrect it is a poor representation of the Omega-6 story. The standard American diet is significantly unbalanced with a large portion of our daily fats coming from Omega-6s and few from Omega-3s. The problem comes from the source of the Omega-6s. American primarily get their fats from heated, denatured sources, like corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean and cotton seed oils, in the form of deep-frying or high temperature cooking.
Clearly, you want to remove those food choices from your diet. But that does not mean you should cut all Omega-6s from your diet. The same argument holds true with carbohydrates- we have to have them to survive and must be educated and consume wholesome verses crappy carbs. Choose wholesome dietary fats from fresh, natural sources and be smart think of your heart before consuming processed crappy fats.