FAT… even the word itself seems to have a negative implication. For a long time, it seems as if fat has become demonized by the health conscious. Although, most fats do not deserve the bad reputation they have been labelled with, this is not written permission to eat bacon every morning. There are certainly some fats that are better for your health than others.
This being said, fats are not something to be afraid of, rather, fats are a key component to our diets. Fats, like protein and carbohydrates, are essential to the proper functioning of the body. They are essential for keeping your body warm, full of energy, and aid with the absorption of nutrients. Without fat, fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, E, and K are unable to be absorbed into the body. Foods rich in fat are also helpful in allowing you to stay full and satiated long after a meal.
Despite a sizable amount of new information being presented each year regarding the types of fats and their effects on the body, there is often still a stigmatization towards saturated fats. The belief that saturated fats are responsible for heart disease and clogging arteries is an outdated concept. Saturated fats are those found predominantly in animal and vegetable sources – full-fat dairy products, meat, and coconut oil are all examples of foods that are high in saturated fats. Like any food group, overindulgence in saturated fats will lead to health problems. The same goes for any dietary imbalance including those from carbohydrates and protein sources.
There are many different theories when it comes to the consumption of dairy products. Some people believe that drinking whole fat milk will cause you to gain weight, and no-fat yoghurt is the best way to go when watching your waistline. I personally believe the opposite is true. Full-fat dairy is incredibly nutritious and satiating, which will prevent overeating throughout the day. Additionally, when you consume full-fat dairy as opposed to low-fat dairy, the extra fat allows for the sugar in the dairy to be absorbed over a longer period of time – causing blood sugar to rise more slowly over time. According to recent research, eating full-fat dairy will lower your chances of developing diabetes by nearly 25%.. (Diabetologia, 2014)
When we remove the fat this is intended to be present in dairy, we lose the mechanism required to assist with nutrient absorption. Calcium, the main reason we are encouraged to drink milk, cannot be properly absorbed into bone without fat. And when we remove fat from food we take away flavour, so processed foods like low fat yogurt almost always have added refined sugars which is not the way to go.
I love getting a variety of fat sources throughout my day. I don’t stray away from full-fat eggs or dairy. Most often I choose to cook with coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil, and throughout the day I snack on seeds and nuts. I believe that it is through consuming these fat sources that I am able to maintain high energy levels throughout the day and get through my punishing workouts!
Travel is an element of my busy career. In order to survive a hectic schedule and avoid airport food, I keep nuts and seeds with me to stave off hunger, particularly if I am going to be without food longer than usual.
Recently I was appearing at the World Fitness Expo, where I am required to be in many different places, seemingly all at once. I packed a cooler with clean foods including nuts, seeds, full fat yogurt and kefir and fresh fruit. I slipped several small packages of nuts and dried fruit into my bag so that I could have a small snack to sustain me between appearances.
Fat is not to be feared. Fat is to be celebrated and eaten with pleasure. Fat does not make you fat. Fat keeps you lean.
Warmly and with best wishes for wellness,