Contrary to popular belief, Good Fats won’t make us “fat”.
In fact, it is now acknowledged that natural fats are vital to heart health and even weight loss.
Where did the misinformation originate from? Well, in the 1950s a physiologist by the name of Ancel Keys, Ph.D., discovered a correlation between diets high in saturated fats and higher cholesterol levels. Soon after, the low fat diet was born.
In 2000 however, further research introduced the concept of good and bad fats. More recent analysis has concluded that saturated fats increase both types of cholesterol.
You see, just as there are good and bad fats, there is also good and harmful cholesterol.
LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is referred to as “bad” cholesterol because it deposits its cholesterol on the walls of arteries. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) on the other hand, brings cholesterol from the blood and blood vessels back to the liver for processing.
A recent study published in a journal by American College of Physicians confirmed that saturated fat actually does NOT appear to increase heart disease risk. This has since overturned the 60 or so years of accepted medical thought about saturated fats.
What IS to still be avoided are trans fats which ARE a risk to heart health.
Examples of foods high in trans fats that should be avoided are:
- Cakes, pies and cookies (especially with frosting)
- Breakfast sandwiches
- Margarine (stick or tub)
- Microwave popcorn
- Cream-filled candies
- Fried fast foods
- Frozen pizza
Contrarily, here are prime sources of HEALTHY fats:
- Most plant based liquid oils
- Coconut Milk
Recommended foods high in fat and omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, chia, and flax seeds. These help the brain to function properly and improve skin health.
How much of these healthy fats should we be consuming?
Dr. Axe, a natural medicine practitioner and clinical nutritionist says, “If you’re active, about 40% of your calories should come from carbohydrates, another 30% from protein and the other 30% from fat in general.”
Of course this is a general estimate that may not apply to EVERY person, however it can serve as a guideline for experimentation to see how it serves you and your body.
Another way to consider the portions are to include 4 – 5 servings of fat in our diets every day.
How healthy aka good fats help Nutrient Absorption
Dietary fats are an important nutritional component not only because your body needs them for building healthy cells and producing hormones, but fat is also required for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Such vitamins include A, D, E, and K.
In order for your body to actually absorb all of these fat-soluble vitamins (and other fat-soluble nutrients) you need to eat them with some fat.
A simple way to boost absorption of these vitamins is to drizzle some olive oil over your salad, or eat your veggies with some tahini.
Flax seeds are truly a great source of good fats as they also help nourish our good bacteria that in turn can aid with phytonutrient absorption.
In addition, dressings or toppings with healthy fats from nuts or seeds can help maximize phytonutrient absorption when we eat a salad.
We hope this helps clear the air about fats and support how they can be your friend, not foe, when chosen wisely.