I have worked for years in the weight loss industry where fats were the enemy. They were severely portion controlled and mostly avoided. Cooking sprays and fat substitutions like fat free broths and low-cal low-fat processed foods were encouraged. Foods that were high in fat were the big offenders in making us… well… fat. But in fact the whole fat-free trend is doing more harm than good. Here’s why:
Certain vitamins like A, D, E and K are fat solubles meaning they need fats to carry them into your body. Turmeric which is tooted as a superfood with amazing health benefits cannot be absorbed without fat, see my post 5 Terrific Ways To Use Turmeric.
Fat makes you feel satisfied and full. When your meals include good quality fats you will feel satisfied at the end of the meal. When your meals are depleted of fat you will still be looking for something at the end of the meal, never feeling fully satisfied. That is why healthy fats help your body reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Healthy fats and oils are very important for brain function and help regulate our mood, they make us feel happier! A fat-free diet can lead to depression, problems in concentration and inability to focus.
Because fat is marked as the villain, many food products go fat-free or low-fat and compensate by adding too much salt, sugar, additives, flavoring and other artificial taste enhancers which are extremely harmful for our health. Those products also mess up our satiety sensors and cause us to overeat and gain weight.
THE QUALITY OF FATS IS WHAT’S IMPORTANT!
Poor quality oils and fats cause digestive problems, nutrient deficiencies, cravings, obesity and can be toxic to our body.
Avoid the following sources of fat:
Trans-Fats – margarine, vegetable shortening, products with hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated fats listed on the ingredient label.
Refined Oils – these oils have been heated, treated and contain toxic preservatives to keep them from going rancid.
Good sources of healthy fats:
~ Organic and free-range eggs, the yolk is a source of good quality fat.
~ Organic and grass fed butter and ghee are good fats to cook with.
~ Unrefined, extra virgin olive oil, great to drizzle on salads and cooked food. You can lightly saute with olive oil and use it for baking but don’t heat it over 400 degrees or use it in high heat cooking.
~ Unrefined sesame oil, great for drizzling on cooked food and light sautéing.
~ Unrefined coconut oil, great for baking and cooking, can be used for high heat cooking.
~ Avocados, a great source of healthy fats, use as spreads, in salads and in smoothies and desserts.
~ Raw tahini, delicious and creamy and contains more calcium than milk and many other important nutrients. Great in dressings, spreads and desserts. Check out my tahini sauce recipe!
~ Raw nuts and seeds are a good source of healthy fats and can be used in a variety of ways.
When your body is healthy and balanced, when you are eating mostly whole foods, you will know when, how much and how often to eat fats and other foods. There are times that your body will crave more fats, like in winter. There are times when your body will crave less fats. Learning to listen to your body is a process that you will learn as you embark on a healthy journey. I will be happy to guide you there so don’t hesitate to contact me to schedule a time to talk by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your portion needs will also depend on your age, level of activity, hormonal issues, health issues and past dietary experiences.
With healthy oils and fats, a little goes a long way. Add one or two tablespoons of oil when you cook a dish, drizzle a couple of teaspoons of oils on your food at the table, have 1/2 an avocado with your salad, sprinkle a tablespoon of nuts or seeds on your food. Don’t obsess about portions but notice how you feel after a meal and adjust accordingly. Let your body guide you.
I would love to hear from you in the comments below, let me know if you have any questions or feed-back.