THE COMPLETE FAT GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS

Wait! Doesn’t fat make you fat?

Haha! I get that question ALL the time when I tell people what I eat. Typically, that question comes from ‘hear-say’ people, or those whom haven’t done their own research. Now, I have no judgement whatsoever towards those people who ask me! I actually LOVE that question because it gives me an opportunity to educate them! Once you understand what fat is, deciphering good fats from bad fats, and what the healthy food sources are of fat… You will be able to answer that question.

Speaking of education, I myself am always reading new articles or books to try and stay up to date on the latest information that’s available. My latest book I read was The Better Baby Book, and I highly recommend it to everyone seeking a healthier lifestyle! While reading it, I got the great idea to write this blog post on all about fats! The book also has much more information on a whole lifestyle diet, not just fats. Not to mention it’s an easy read.

Okay, so here’s the deal with fats… Fat is actually one of the main building blocks of your body. The body’s brain, cell walls, and hormones are all composed mostly of fat. Fat gives you a feeling of satiety and energy as well as maintains your weight at optimal levels.

FAT CLASSIFICATION:

Saturated fat: good fat, is very stable in air and heat and won’t turn rancid very easily.

  • Ex: Butter from grass-fed cows, coconut oil, egg yolks and meat from healthy grass-fed animals.

Unsaturated fats: easily become rancid when exposed to oxygen or heat, oxidize easily.

Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs): bad fat, extremely unstable, typically are liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled.

  • Ex: Canola and corn oil.

Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs): good fat, typically are liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled.

  • Ex: Olive oil, olives, avocados, and nuts.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: good fat, central to cell function and heart health. Decrease rates of heart attack, depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s disease. Possibly shown to slow the growth of some types of cancer.

Hydrogenation: is the industrial process of chemically turning any oil into one that is heat stable but damaged. It is the process that makes trans-fats.

  • Ex: Partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

Trans fat: bad fat, it is dangerous because the body mistakes it for real fat and uses it to construct and maintain cell walls. However, trans fat is more rigid than natural fat. Cell walls made of Trans fat are no longer flexible and porous enough for the cell to function properly. A host of new malformed cells are born, and the previously exiting cells are injured.

  • Ex: Margarine.

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA): good fat, reduces cancer tumor growth, increases lean body mass, and promotes healthy cardiovascular function.

  • Ex: found in grass-fed butter and red meats.

oilfat

FACTS ABOUT FAT (pg. 68):

  • The best fats are saturated and monounsaturated.
  • Coconut oil is high in healthy saturated fats. These healthy fats optimize cholesterol levels, help our immune systems to fight intruders, contribute to healthy brain and hormone formation, and are an excellent source of energy.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, which are plentiful in wild caught salmon and the yolks of eggs from free-range hens, soothe the body by reducing inflammation, protecting us from exposure to too much omega-6, improving blood circulation, optimizing blood pressure, and healing scar tissue.
  • Chemically processed omega-6 fatty acids are found in soy, canola, corn, and vegetable oils. Natural forms are found in nuts, vegetables, and grains. We need a small amount of omega-6, but this is overly abundant in the standard Western diet, which is rich in unhealthy oils and grains. In addition, omega-6 oxidizes easily, which makes eating it especially unhealthy when it’s cooked.
  • Fats that are oxidized, hydrogenated (trans fat), or contaminated by mycotoxins—including many of the fats used in processed food, margarine, and so-called butter spreads and substitutes—can cause heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

COOKING OILS: 

  1. Unhealthy “bad” oils (especially when heated for cooking)
    1. Canola, corn, cottonseed, peanut, safflower, soybean, sunflower, and vegetable.
      1. Why?
        1. Many are often made from crops that are commonly contaminated with mycotoxins (toxins produced by molds). Any oil containing corn or peanuts is at the highest risk for contamination. (pg. 46)
        2. Many of these oils are genetically modified organisms (GMOs); that is, they are made from genetically modified crops, with canola, corn, and soy being the most likely. (pg. 46)
        3. The types of fats in these oils promote inflammation and disease inside the body. They also oxidize easily and so do even more damage when they’ve been used for cooking. (pg. 46)
        4. Many of the fats are synthetically hydrogenated, especially when they’re included in packaged baked goods like crackers or cookies. (pg. 46)
      2. Two types of bad fat
        1. Omega-6 polyunsaturated fat– found in all unhealthy oils.
          1. Oxidizes very easily.
          2. Too much can cause inflammation and disease.
        2. Trans fat– contained in any hydrogenated oil.
        3.  Avoid
          1. Products in the grocery store with these oils listed as an ingredient, especially if they’re hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated.
          2. Margarine.
          3. Restaurant food that contains bad oils.
  1. Healthy “good” oils
    1. Butter, coconut oil, palm oil, lard or bacon fat from pastured pigs, tallow from grass-fed cows, and olive oil (even though olive oil is considered healthy, it is not recommended to cook with).
    2. Some natural trans fats, like, CLA – it is found in butter from grass-fed cattle.

FOOD SOURCES:

  1. Eggs fat-guide-eggs
    1. Contains healthy vitamins and minerals.
    2. High in B vitamins, choline, and rich in iron.
    3. Free-range eggs: richer in a variety of nutrients.
      1. Higher in folate and vitamin 12. (pg. 73)
      2. Have 30% more vitamin E than commercial eggs. (pg. 73)
      3. Contain 66% more vitamin A, twice the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, and seven times more beta-carotene. (pg. 73)
    4. Prepare eggs by washing in hot water. Do not use if shell is cracked. Recommended to eat yolks soft cooked or raw, but not hard cooked due to oxidation.
  1. Coconutfat-guide-coconut
    1. The fats in coconut are mostly medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
      1. MCT Oil– is considered an antibiotic, viricide, fungicide, and parasiticide. MCT promotes healthy cholesterol levels and helps to prevent heart disease. Boosts energy.
      2. Coconut Oil– contains three types of fats: ½ lauric acid, ¼ caprylic acid and ¼ capric acid. Good for hair, skin, and nails. Promotes alertness and weight control, and boosts fat metabolism.
    2. How to buy
      1. Fresh organic young coconuts in the produce section (the white-husked ones, not the brown ones).
      2. Organic dried shredded coconut (no added sugars).
      3. Choose either organic cold-processed (strong coconut flavor) or expeller-pressed (very little flavor) coconut oils.
  1. Olives and Olive Oilfat-guide-olives-oil
    1. Olive Oil– is a great source of powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents called polyphenols. Improves cardiovascular health and optimizes cholesterol levels. Reduces the risk of colon cancer and slows cognitive decline.
      1. Choose organic extra-virgin olive oil, because it contains more polyphenols so it’s most optimal.
      2. Store in dark cool place. Otherwise, it’s likely to turn rancid.
      3. Avoid cooking with olive oil because this oil contains 10% polyunsaturated fat which when heated will have a pervasive oxidative effect, turning this healthy oil into a free-radical- generating oil.
      4. Best used on salads for dressings, or drizzle on top of hot foods (after the food has been cooked).
    2. Olives– Choose green or black, and make sure they’re packed in real olive oil.
  1. Meat and Butter from Grass-Fed Animalsfat-guide-meat-butter
    1. Increases in energy and mental clarity, easy muscle formation, and fat loss.
      1. Grain-fed beef animals “bad”: contain 7-8 g. of fat per 3 oz. serving. This is the oxidized polyunsaturated omega-6 type of fat, along with unhealthy hormones and mold toxins.
      2. Grass-fed beef animals “good”: contain 2.5 g. of fat per 3 oz. serving. This type of fat is almost entirely saturated and monounsaturated.
        1. Benefits of grass-fed animals:
          1. 2-4 times more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed. (pg. 83)
          2. 3-5 times more CLA than grain-fed. (pg. 83)
          3. 2-4 times more vitamin A and E than grain-fed. (pg. 83)
          4. Contains only 3% polyunsaturated fat. (pg. 85)
      3. Cooking recommendations:
        1. Cook meat to no more than medium.
        2. Temperature of grill or oven should be a 250 to 300 degrees F and cook the meat slowly so it’s not charred on the outside and still pink inside.
        3. Cook to internal temperatures of 115 to 118 degrees F.
      4. Optimal meat options
        1. Number 1 choices: Grass-fed beef of lamb.
        2. Number 2 choices: Pork (pigs), duck, goose
          1. The fat from these choices contain 13% polyunsaturated fat, and become carcinogenic. (pg. 85)
          2. Impossible to avoid oxidized polyunsaturated fats because they have to be cooked more thoroughly.
          3. When choosing pig (bacon) make sure to find out what they were fed. Domestic pigs are best whom were fed vegetables, roots, and protein feeds.
          4. Number 3 choices: Chicken and turkey
            1. The fat from these choices contain about 20% polyunsaturated fat. (pg. 85)
          5.  Butter
            1. Buy butter from Ireland or New Zealand. I love Kerrygold.
  1. Dairyfat-guide-dairy
    1. Anything made from cows, goats, and sheep, except butter. Including: milk, cheese (including cottage cheese and cream cheese), yogurt, sour cream, half and half, light cream, heavy cream, buttermilk, and ice cream. “Conventional” dairy is any dairy product that has not come from grass- fed, organically raised animals.
      1. Milk
        1. Pasteurization “cooked”: a process that incorporates heating milk to 150 degrees F for 30 minutes then immediately stored in temperatures lower than 55 degrees F (pg. 56). This process is intended to reduce the risk of contamination. However, it reduces the vitamin content like vitamins C, A, and B complex. It also transforms the lactose sugars found in milk into beta-lactose sugars, meaning there is sharper spikes in blood sugar and insulin and stronger swings in energy levels. The casein protein found in milk is also altered making it difficult on the body to break down and digest.
        2. Homogenization: is a process that chemically alters milk so the cream no longer separates.
        3. Most optimal: raw organic milk products from grass-fed cows.
      2. Cheese
        1. Is high in toxins and contains a lot of cooked casein. Made with yeast, other fungi, or bacteria, or all three. Mycotoxins are found in more than 40% of conventionally produced cheeses.
        2. Most optimal: raw milk cheeses from grass-fed animals.
  1. Fishfat-guide-fish
    1. Fish is rich in healthy protein, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
    2. Most optimal: sardines, anchovies, wild caught sockeye salmon, summer flounder, haddock, Petrale sole, tilapia, and wild freshwater sport fish like trout.
  1. Nutsfat-guide-nuts
    1. Most optimal: almonds, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, and walnuts.
    2. Most ideal for purchase: whole, raw, shelled nuts that have always been refrigerated or frozen (if you can find them).
    3. Nuts should be raw, because roasting them will chemically alter their nutritive value and fat composition and reduce their positive health effects.
    4. Nuts should be refrigerated because they are high in fat and become rancid when exposure to warm air causes the fats to oxidize.
    5. At a minimum buy nuts that are whole and not chopped, because the outer layer can protect the nut from mold.
    6. Almost all nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats, healthy for circulatory system and shown to reduce cardiovascular disease.
      1. Almonds— rich in copper, vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and tryptophan. Reduces stress and control after-meal blood sugar surges, and promote healthy cholesterol levels. Try raw almond butter for a great source.
      2. Brazil Nuts—rich in selenium. Aids in proper thyroid function, but high in mycotoxins.
      3. Cashews—contains copper and magnesium.
      4. Chestnuts—contain less fat and are higher in starches and sugar. Include iron, zinc, copper, and manganese.
      5. Hazelnuts—richest source of vitamin E.
      6. Macadamia nuts—one of the best sources of monounsaturated fats (80%). (pg. 98) Help lower LDL.
      7. Pecans—include thiamine, zinc, and manganese.
      8. Pine nuts—great source of memory boosting omega-9 fatty acids, iron, and magnesium.
      9. Pistachios—richest in copper, manganese, and phosphorus. Contain lots of folate, biotin, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid. Only nut that contains significant amounts of carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin. High in dietary fiber.
      10. Walnuts—contain omega-3 fatty acid, and omega-6. Include many vitamins and minerals as well. Don’t cook with these nuts though.
  1. Avocadosfat-guide-avocado
    1. Rich in vitamins E and K, potassium, folate, and monounsaturated fats.
    2. Good for healthy heart health and lowering cholesterol.
    3. Vitamin K in a central component in blood coagulation, and linked to increased bone mass.
    4. Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure and prevent circulatory complications.
    5. Best use in salads due to its bioavailability factors.
  1. Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Butterfat-guide-chocolate
    1. 70% dark is most optimal.
    2. Contains serotonin and stimulates the production of endorphins.

Now that you understand what fat is, you can decipher good fats from bad fats, and what the healthy fat food sources are… Try incorporating some into your diet! Come back and comment below on what your favorite fat food sources are and how you use them in your diet!

♥Fit Brit

Works Cited

Asprey, Lana, and David Asprey. The Better Baby Book: How to Have a Healthier, Smarter, Happier Baby. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, 2013. Print.

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