Fat: The Good, Bad and the Ugly

Fat.  A 3-letter word that usually sends people running.  I don’t want it, I don’t need it, how do I get rid of it?!?!  Understanding the good, bad and the ugly of fat will help you have a better respect for the 3-letter word as well as make better food choices.

Why do we need fat? 

We need fat for our cell membranes, bones, hormones, vitamin absorption (A, D, E and K), regulating body temperature, energy, infant brain development, female reproductive system, heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, immune system, essential fatty acids and detoxification for just a few.

Our gallbladder needs fat too.  That is the job of the gallbladder; to store bile until right after food has been consumed.  The bile in the gallbladder is then released to help with the digestion and fat absorption.  If it does not get used as in a low-fat diet, this bile sits in there day after day, week after week, month after month and so on; that is when we run can run into problems as this bile has now become thick, gelatinous to potentially turning into stones if it never gets to purge it’s bile.  Nourishing Wellness can help with getting your gallbladder to function as it was meant to function with the proper support and diet.

To further support this topic; here is an article “High Fat Diet is Best” by Dr. Perlmutter.  https://www.drperlmutter.com/powerful-new-study-confirms-high-fat-diet-is-best/#more-5995

My favorite all-time article is from Time magazine; June 23rd, 2014.  Which talks about the scientists being wrong when they labeled “fat” the enemy.

I can personally testify that when I started incorporating more “good” fat into my diet after being no to low-fat for many years, that the brain fog had dramatically improved as well as my sleep, appetite and gut issues for a few!

What are the different types of fat?

There are saturated fats and unsaturated fats plain and simple, the question is which saturated fats are good and which are not and the same with the unsaturated fats.

Good Saturated & Unsaturated Fats

Saturated fats are hard at room temperature, more stable than unsaturated fats and go rancid less easily.  Ideally, you want your fat sources from organic, unrefined, grass-fed and pasture-raised sources.

The good fats are butter, ghee, lard*, tallow, schmaltz, lamb fat, duck fat*, full fat dairy, eggs and seafood.  Plant sources such as coconut oil* and palm oil.  These are all good for hot uses.  *Sold at Nourishing Wellness

Unsaturated fats are unstable at room temperature, sensitive to interaction with oxygen, light and heat and go rancid quickly if not stored in a refrigerator or a dark container.

Good unsaturated fats come from plant sources such as olive oil, avocado, sesame oil, nut oils (walnut, pecan, macadamia), flaxseed oil (minimal), nuts and seeds (including nut & seed butters).  Unsaturated fats are easily damaged/oxidized when heat is applied to them, we do not want to consume damaged fats, therefore these oils are ideal for cold uses.

Bad Saturated & Unsaturated Fats

This is where all fats have been lumped into, but when we learn about the differences; the benefits of the good, and the downside of the bad fats we can make healthier choices with our food.

The bad saturated fats that many are familiar with are the trans fats which are also known as the polyunsaturated fats.  Man-made fats such as “buttery spreads”, including oil blends like Earth Balance, Benecol and I can’t Believe It’s Not Butter to name a few.  Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils as well.  We want to ditch these!

The “bad” unsaturated fats are highly processed and are unstable at room temperature, sensitive to interaction with oxygen, light and heat and go rancid quickly if not stored in a refrigerator or a dark container.  Consuming oxidized oils is never healthy.

These fats come from plant sources such as canola oil, corn oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, corn and cottonseed oil, grapeseed and sunflower oils and rice bran oil.  We also want to ditch and avoid these as well.

I have seen pictures of the refineries where the unsaturated oils come from and I thought they were fuel oil refineries!  It is unbelievable the amount of processing that these types of oils go through!  This is not food!

What can bad fats do to us? 

Bad fats can interfere with healthy, normal bodily function, hormone production, encourage inflammation, raise the bad cholesterol and lower the good, reduce levels of Omega 3 in tissues, inhibit insulin receptors, depress the immune system and prostaglandin production causing imbalances and on and on.

The Ugly Side of Fat

We can’t talk about the ugly side of fat without talking about the visual appearance on our bodies.  This is where we think if we eat fat it will contribute to the physical fat observed on our bodies.  This is the struggle between healthy and our appearance.  I know I had to get to my pain point of wanting to be healthy and feel better and let go of what that may physically look like on my body.  Being exhausted, brain-drained and barely functioning was less appealing than worrying about maintaining my physical appearance.  The sweet side, it didn’t turn out the way I had been programmed to think.  Once I figured it all out, which is what I help my clients with, I can very easily maintain my physical weight with way less torture on my body and I can eat; eat fat joyfully and healthfully!

– Sara

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