There is a lot of misinformation out there about healthy fats. “Fat makes you fat” is the most commonly accepted notion, but where did this actually come from? Natural and healthy fats such as butter, coconut oil, cream, egg yolks, lard, etc., have been used for thousands of years with no “fattening” effect. The low-fat craze of the early 1990’s had a huge brainwashing effect on the perception of healthy foods. When you choose fat-free foods, you naturally choose higher sugar/higher carb and lower protein foods, because protein in its natural state comes with a healthy dose of fat! You also then eat more of these foods because low-fat equals low satiety, meaning you must eat more to get full than those who eat fat liberally.
Another major plus of eating healthy fats is something called fat-soluble vitamins. They are abundantly found in healthy animal fats, and actually require fat for absorption. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble vitamins that help keep your body in tip-top shape. Vitamin A specifically is actually very important for your metabolism and thyroid health, so make sure you include foods like liver, butter, and egg yolks in your daily diet.
So what do healthy fats (the right kind) do for you? They can actually help keep you slim!
- Healthy fat is a source of energy in the body (think of your body as a fire, fat are the logs, carbs are kindling)
- Healthy fats are required for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K (which Americans are SURPRISINGLY deficient)
- Healthy fats are used to construct tissue to both line and protect your internal organs
- Healthy fats are essential for a healthy liver, bile function, and the inflammatory healing process
- Healthy fats contribute to food tasting good
- Healthy fats lubricate the digestive system, and helps with removing toxins from the body
Choosing healthy fats: Eat saturated fat instead of unsaturated fat!
Unsaturated fats are also known as PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) and are found in largely in oils- including vegetable, corn, canola, peanut, flax, soy and fish oils. The cheapness of these oils makes them an essential ingredient for most processed foods (especially sauces, mayonnaise, candy). These fats are often highly processed, unstable, and oxidize very quickly in the body! They are also a huge burden to the liver and can block or slow hormone synthesis. According to Dr. Ray Peat, “Unsaturated fats cause aging, clotting, inflammation, cancer, & weight gain.” Not the kind of food you want in your diet!
Choose saturated fats like butter, coconut oil, and lard as the main fats in your kitchen. Olive oil can be a good choice in moderation, but it is not very heat stable, so it’s best to use after cooking.
-Ditch the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and just say no to fake food!
-Use coconut oil to cook and bake with. Refined coconut oil is nearly flavorless, and is stable for cooking at higher temperatures, where as virgin coconut oil is best for popcorn or desserts you are okay with having a coconutty flavor.
-Use butter for lower heat cooking and baking
-Use olive oil on foods AFTER cooking (olive oil goes rancid when heated)
What are your favorite fats? Please share in the comments!
Still not convinced? Further reading:
The Oiling of America by the Weston Price Foundation
Smokin’ hot or unsafe? Is cooking with grapeseed oil a good idea? by Eat Naked
Healthiest Cooking Oils by Healy Eats Real
Peat, Raymond. From PMS to Menopause: Female Hormones in Context. Eugene, OR, 1997.