Let’s kick-off this week by setting the record straight: fat doesn’t make us fat! Fat is one of the most wrongly maligned nutrients and is crucial for numerous functions in the body. In 1980 the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) urged Americans to eat less fat and eat more grains, in efforts to curb the increasing obesity rate and make us healthier. The “nonfat” epidemic caused the food industry to quickly remove and replace healthy fats with other (equally delicious) substances like sugar, which is indeed fat-free. While we can save the sugar conversation for another day, let’s take a deeper look at how healthy fats can actually help us reach our weight loss goals by restoring optimal function.
Fat is needed to build cell walls and hormones, while serving as a protective lining for our organs. It helps us absorb fat soluble vitamins, increases satiety and is a long slow burning source of energy that makes food taste amazing! Something we should pay attention to when it comes to all macronutrients, especially fat, is quality.
Toxins bioaccumulate (build up) in fat tissue, so it’s important to get our fats from clean sources, free of toxins. Man-made “Franken-fats” such as margarine, industrial seed oils (canola, soybean, corn oil), trans fats and hydrogenated oils should be avoided, as they cause excess inflammation and interfere with beneficial fats in the body.
A good balance of clean fats will ensure that our bodies are able to keep up with the strain that we put them through daily, especially at the gym. Optimal fat sources can be found in 100% grass-fed animals, wild caught fish, organic tropical oils such as coconut and palm, cold-pressed olive oil, raw nuts and seeds, and full-fat, grass-fed dairy. These fats help decrease our recovery time by managing inflammation, and provide us with a sustainable source of energy to fuel our bodies all day long. With diminished inflammation and a continuously fueled metabolism, those extra pounds just might find that they no longer need to “stick” around and protect the body, as there is much less to be protecting it from!
For more information on the types of fats and how to appropriately incorporate them into your diet, tune into this week’s Facebook video, or come visit me in my office hours! (Sign up sheets are posted at the front desk at each TILT location!)