Fats: Reality Check

The word FAT elicits some pretty nasty emotions.  We see fat on a nutrition label and instantly become nauseated by the product were holding.  Fat has been demonized by our food industry and cast out as a nutritional pariah for many years.  “Experts” harp on the danger that high fat diets present and lead people towards some fad diet plan that can leave us in a worse position then before.  There is so much confusion surrounding fat and the way it impacts our bodies that is much easier to simply believe the hype and try to cut it out of our lives.  I am here to tell you that fat is not evil.  It does not aim to bloat your body or steal your gains.  It is not attempting to kill you or murder your dreams.  Fat is a very pivotal part of the fitness pie (pardon the pun) that should be utilized to create the healthy body you envision.Healthy-Fats

Lets look at some of the fats that are out there.

Trans Fats:

Like anything, there are good fats and bad fats.  Trans fats fall into the bad category and should be avoided at all costs.  These come from fried foods, processed goodies, and chemically manipulated treats.  These thicken your arteries, cause rapid weight gain, and contribute to many of our diet based diseases.  Avoid those deep fried donuts at every opportunity.

Saturated Fats:

Saturated fat has gotten a bad rap because of its supposed link to heart disease and high blood cholesterol.  Much of the truth has been obscured throughout the years by improper studies or bad information.  Saturated fats actually help to increase HDL Cholesterol (the good stuff).  This helps the body remove cholesterol from the blood and transport it to the liver for processing.  Sat fats also can increase the size of LDL Cholesterol (the bad stuff), which makes it harder for the LDL to breach the arterial wall and cause damage.  As an added bonus, most foods containing saturated fats taste amazing! Most of our saturated fat comes from foods like beef, butter, cheese, land animal fat, eggs, coconuts and cream.  The Health Industry has long stated that these foods should be minimized or avoided but this practice can leave you devoid of ample sources of essential nutrients for over all health.

Omega 6 Fats:

These fats are a form of Unsaturated fat that can help keep you satiated and decrease your risk of heart related illnesses.  However, these fats should be consumed on a limited basis.  This fat falls under the cliche of too much of a good thing can be bad for you.  Omega 6 fats are pro-inflammatory fats.  Inflammation is necessary for our survival but too much inflammation in the body can have dire consequences.  Diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and metabolic syndrome have been linked to excess inflammation.  A good practice is to be aware of your Omega 6 intake and minimize the amount you ingest on any given day.  You should keep an eye on your consumption of items like peanut butter or oil, grape seed oil, hemp oil, soybeen oil, fast food, seeds, mayonnaise, and high fat salad dressings. Remember, these are not inherently bad foods.  A lot of them can aid you in your nutrient search.  Just be mindful of how much of this category you are consuming and you will be fine!

Omega 3 Fats:

This is another Unsaturated fat that has gotten a lot of press and good vibes for years now.  These fats are anti-inflammatory and can reduce your risk of all the previously named diseases associated with the heart, mind, and bones.  They can impact brain health and development, help with joint health, and can aid in depression treatment.  Most natural Omega 3s come from fatty fish: herring, salmon, mackerel, halibut, trout, and tuna.  You can also get these fats from some nuts and seeds, like walnuts or flaxseed, as well as different oils, like canola oil or flaxseed oil.  If some of these foods are hard to come by, not available to you, or you just would like more Omega 3s in your life, invest in an Omega 3/Fish oil supplement.  These can greatly bolster your nutrition and help you along your health improvement journey.

The goal of nutrition is to find the mix of foods. supplements, and nutrients that provides the optimal benefit for a person to achieve his or her physical vision and to allow him or her to live an abundant and healthy life.  The balance of fats is pivotal for us to attain the healthy body of our dreams.  All we can do is try our best to minimize destructive behaviors and the consumption of unhealthy foods and maximize positive decisions and increase the use of beneficial nutrients.  Start by simply substituting some healthy fat sources in place of your normal junk.  Try to keep the reasons for your selections in the front of your brain so you are always mindful of your choices and how they will affect your body.  Build on each decision.  After awhile, it will be second nature to choose almonds over nuggets!

Here’s a fat super food list that will help you make the most of your meals!

Avocados 

Almonds

Salmon

Mackerel 

Macadamia Nuts

Olive Oil

Coconut Oil

Pumpkin/Flax Seeds

Eggs

Canola Oil

Almond Butter

Walnuts

 

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