There are only three macronutrients and the last one to cover is fat.
Consuming sufficient amounts of fat in the right forms and proper proportions have been shown to offer significant health benefits.
Health benefits include:
-strengthen the immune system
-enhance brain and nervous system functions such as mood, intelligence and behavior
-greatly reduce cardiovascular disease
-increase energy and performance
-give you healthy skin, hair, and nails
-regulate body weight
-improve organ and gland function
Fat is essential for survival. We need 15% - 35% of our total calories to come from fat.
For blood pressure reduction, 25% of total daily intake was found to be best. If you want specifics, start with about 10 grams per meal and snacks.
Fat is also critical for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K, as well as optimal hormone function.
“But, wait, I thought fat was bad for me!”
This train of thought is due mostly to the debacle called the “Low-Fat Diet Craze” that caused most Americans to run scared from all dietary sources of fat.
The fat was replaced with sugar and other chemicals to make foods taste good. This did not bode well for our health or our waistlines.
The time period of the low-fat diet craze is when the rate of obesity in this country really started to skyrocket.
In fact, some medical sources now refer to the low-fat diet fad as “the great American experiment in obesity.”
‘Consuming dietary fats does not mean that you will get fat; in fact, fats and oils are essential to optimal health. Your body needs fats to build cells and manufacture key hormones.
Just as with all foods, however, you must consume high-quality fats and oils for your body to effectively use them—remember, You are what you eat.’ Paul Chek, Eat Move and Be Healthy
Where do fats come from?
Healthy fats are found in foods such as meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, and oily fish, like salmon. Purchase the highest quality you can if your budget allows.
Other good fat sources include olive oil, coconut oil and avocado (i.e. olive oil as part of salad dressing; coconut oil for cooking, baking and more; and avocado in smoothies or on your sandwich or salad).
Remember you only need to eat a little of these to get all the benefits from fat.
When you add healthy fats/oils to your diet, you may also notice an improvement in your skin texture, including a reduction or elimination of dry skin patches.
Unhealthy fats abound in fast foods, processed foods, chips, crackers, cookies and many snack foods.
Most processed foods contain hydrogenated oils, which are highly processed oils that we want to avoid.
These cause inflammation in the body and inflammation is the leading cause of chronic diseases- high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol to name a few.
Just like adding protein to your meal will help keep you full longer, adding some healthy fat will do the same.
Carbohydrates in the form of unrefined carbs and unlimited non-starchy vegetables will keep you full and blood sugar balanced too.
Ideally, you want to have some protein, unrefined carbs, vegetables, and a little healthy fat at each meal to have a healthy, balanced diet.
Now, the goal here is to not eliminate everything at once and start a whole brand new diet.
Making small changes over time will make a huge difference and it makes the changes easier to stick to.
Think about your last couple of meals and try to identify the fat sources. Usually, they are a little harder to find but SO important! Don’t skip the fat! Have you been skipping fat? Or told to buy and eat ‘low-fat’?