At one time, the word fat invoked a feeling of negativity, a bad word, a macronutrient we should be afraid of. While science is of great importance, it should be viewed with skepticism. The low/no fat era taught us this.
As a nutrition educator for 20+ years, I have watched the research on macronutrients. In the 1960s, the low fat era became increasingly popular. In 2008, the research stated saturated fat did not contribute to disease and, in fact, it was sugar that was the contributing factor. I watched and participated in a group that decided low/no sugar and a higher fat diet was the best solution. As many suffered from some health-related issues eliminating most carbohydrate from the diet with fat and protein as the primary macronutrients, many of us are now advising a balanced, traditional diet.
What does a traditional diet mean? It is one that your ancestors of the last 200-300 years might consume. More to come on this subject but in the meantime, fat is an important macronutrient. Without some fat in the diet, we don’t properly absorb the fat-soluble nutrients, A, D, E and K. Essential fatty acids cannot be made by the body and must be provided by some dietary fat. These fats signal inflammatory response when needed, keep the hair, skin and nails healthy, fat is even protective to heart health.
If you’re fearful of dietary cholesterol, understand that if you don’t take it in, the body will make it because it’s a substance that is reactionary to the needs of the human organism. It is a protective substance that is available when the body needs it.
There is good fat and there is bad fat in the diet. This is the most important take away from the importance of fat in the diet.
The good fats include those that are most stable when subjected to light, heat and oxygen. They include the saturated animal fats, tallow and lard as well as the fat from fruit, olive and coconut oil.
The fats that do not contribute to good health include soybean, corn, canola, cottonseed, sunflower and safflower. These oils are subject to oxidation creating oxidative damage in the body. They have been shown in research to contribute to an inflammatory state as well, immune suppressive, thereby encouraging diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
The processed foods contain the highest amounts of these oils so reducing these from the diet will prove beneficial.
When choosing oils for home food preparation, lard, butter, ghee, olive and coconut oils are your best choices. They have a long history of stability and when used properly, contribute to good health. If you would like some cooking tips and recipes, feel free to email me at Misty@mistyhumphrey.com
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