For a long time, Fat was my enemy. Not only because we could hear everywhere that “fat makes you fat”, but also because it was stated as common knowledge that “fat gives you bad cholesterol and increases heart disease risk”, that it is the worse thing to eat, etc etc… Unfortunately, my body suffered a lot because of that. My hormones were completely imbalanced, my immune system was very weak, my mood was constantly going from ups to lows….. So today I decided to share with you what I know now, hoping that you will understand that good fats are good and necessary, and that you won’t get fat or sick because you eat them. So here we go:
1. What are the bad fats?
The fats to avoid are the so-called trans-fatty acids. They are the results of shortening or hardening of vegetable oils (like margarine), and are mostly found in processed foods, fried foods, pastries, crackers….
They have been proven to increase heart diseases, increase clogging of arteries, increase the risk of type 2 diabetes… So why are the food industrials still using them? Because it is cheaper, because they extend storage life, but also because they improve flavour and texture….
Anything labelled as shortening, hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated belongs to this category.
More commonly, you should avoid canola oil, soy/corn/safflower oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, commercial vegetable and seed oils.
2. Essential Fatty Acids – EFAs
They are called “essential” because our body can not produce them by itself. Therefore we HAVE TO get them from our food. EFAs provide Energy, building blocks for cell membranes, they help to produce vital hormones…
There are 2 main groups: Omega 3 and Omega 6 (both Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids).
What is important to take care of is the ratio Omega 3 to Omega 6, which ideally should be 1:1 (1:4 tolerated). Unfortunately today, because of the modern diet, the average ratio reaches in average the 1:20.
This wrong ratio causes many problems, and is the cause of chronic inflammation of the body. WE need inflammation to fight infections or trauma, but when it becomes chronic, it is bad.
Processed foods are richer in Omega 6, and this is why people today get too many of them compared to Omega 3.
How to naturally increase your Omega 3 intake? Just add these foods to your meals:
- Walnuts, Organic leafy greens, flax/hemp or chia seeds.
- Animal sources: fish, shellfish, krill, cod liver oil
- And a very rich, effective and plant-based source: Spirulina. This algae is a super-concentrated superfood, rich in many nutrients, proteins, essential fatty acids. This is a no-brainer to me.
Omega 3s intake has been proven to help the body function better, by: developing stronger bones, increasing anti-inflammatory properties, helping reducing symptoms for auto-immune diseases, improving mood regulation, fighting depression, reducing symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis, reducing risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, …
3. Saturated Fats
These are supposedly the villain: butter, eggs, animal fats, coconut oil ..... But they are not. They are good and we need them to live.
They represent 50% of our cell membranes. They are essential to have strong, healthy bones. And they are responsible for only 26% of artery clogs. THE REST (74%) are due to unsaturated fats!
Let’s go back to history to understand what happened:
From 1910 to 1970, our consumption of traditional animal fats declined from 83% to 62%. Our Butter consumption declined from 18 pounds per person to 4 pounds per person (per year), BUT our consumption of vegetable oils and refined oils increased by approx. 400% AND our sugar consumption increased by 60%! That's because in 1912, hydrogenation of fats started and was introduced in our daily foods. But what we realize is that before 1920, clogged arteries were very rare. And then, during the following 40 years, heart disease increased dramatically, to a point where by the mid 50s, it was the leading cause of death.
So regarding the variation of consumption of saturated fats, it becomes obvious that this increase in heart disease is not due to them….
Saturated fats play a critical role in the body: our immune system can not function without them, some are anti-viral, some help fight candida overgrowth, they have been proven to have a real anti-inflammatory effect.... The myth that they are the cause of heart disease is due to misunderstanding and miscommunication of studies. But I will leave this subject for another post :-)
I hope this gave you a better understanding of how good fats are essential and how our body needs them to be able to function properly. Cutting them out of your diet won’t do any good. We just need to go back to the basics and learn to listen to our body’s needs. Connect to your body and this will seem obvious. Always choose pure clean sources: organic, grass-fed meat and wild-caught fish. Get away from all processed or transformed foods. As you will start feeling the difference, you will never want to go back to your bad habits ever again.
In Love and Happiness,