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Bite-Sized Breakdown: "Ten Awesome Fat Facts!"

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Fat is NOT the dietary "demon" it was once believed to be. Truth be told, in general, there is no such thing as "evil" foods. I've personally never met a diabolical cupcake or a diet-sabotaging premeditating peanut.

Dietary fat plays an important role in our overall health and is absolutely necessary to allow us to be our very best.

In this week's "Bite-Sized Breakdown", we will be giving you the skinny on dietary fat and ten awesome potential benefits.

What is dietary fat?

Dietary fat is a macronutrient that provides the body with energy and is essential for our overall health; by also providing support for many of the body's functions. Fatty acids will fall into two different camps: essential fatty acids (alpha-linoleic acid: an Omega 3 fatty acid and linoleic acid: an Omega 6 fatty acid) and non-essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids must be consumed through our diets, because our bodies cannot synthesize them on their own. Non-essential fatty acids, can be made by our bodies, but proper dietary consumption may provide additional benefits.

BEST CHOICES:

Monounsaturated fatty acids: Found in most plant and animal foods.

  • Including: Olive Oil, Macadamia nuts, Almonds, Pecans, Hazelnuts, Avocados, Pork, Beef

Polyunsaturated fatty acids: Founds in most plant and animal foods, consisting of both Omega 6 fats and Omega 3 fats. Since the typical American diet is heavily skewed toward Omega 6 fats (which are inflammatory by nature), let's focus on the Omega 3 fats (anti-inflammatory by nature).

Quality sources of Omega 3 fatty acids:

  • Including: Salmons, Sardines, Herring, Mackerel, Anchovies, Chia Seeds, Flaxseeds, Walnuts

UP FOR DEBATE:

Saturated fat: This fat source comes mainly from animals. This fat is highly debated on whether it's a healthy or unhealthy choice. So with that in mind, we will consider it a more neutral fat choice. Whether it's a "good" or "bad" choice, will depend on your overall intake, dietary approach, food choice, etc. It also appears, that when combined with refined carbohydrates and sugar it becomes more heavily tilted toward an unhealthy fat.

  • Including: Lamb, Beef (most meats), Whole-milk Dairy, Coconut Oil, Cheese

AVOID:

Trans fat: This fat source should be avoided, as it can increase unhealthy LDL cholesterol and decrease healthy HDL cholesterol. This can eventually lead to a potential increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Now that we've taken a look at the types of fat, let's get into some of the fantastic ways that dietary fats can improve our lives.

TEN AWESOME FAT FACTS!

  1. Provides energy for the body. There are approximately 9 calories per gram of fat, making it nearly twice as calorically dense (keep this in mind if weight-loss is your goal) as both protein and carbohydrates.
  2. Essential for certain vitamin and micronutrient absorption (Vitamin A, D, E, K).
  3. Fat is both great for taste and satiation (feeling of being full). This can potentially lead to improved diet adherence and craving control.
  4. Improvement in skin appearance. Fatty acids are responsible for the health of the cell membrane, acting not only as a barrier to harmful things, but as a carrier for essential vitamins and micronutrients.
  5. Optimization of our hormonal system that controls many healthy functions in our brain, muscles, sex hormones, etc.
  6. Improved Insulin regulation and sensitivity. (potentially very beneficial for Type II diabetics, obesity, sustained energy, etc.)
  7. Improved cognitive function and focus. "Get your mind right...YO!" Healthy unsaturated fats can potentially lower rates of both dementia due to Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment.
  8. Disease prevention and treatment. Certain cancers, epileptic seizures (especially in children), cognitive dysfunction (Alzheimer's, dementia) have all shown a potential improvement when following a higher fat diet.
  9. Potential improvement in joint health, by reducing overall inflammation in the body.
  10. Both Mono and Poly unsaturated fats, can potentially lower blood pressure, lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, lower bad cholesterol levels and help prevent atherosclerosis.

Fat is not the enemy my friends. In fact, it may become one of your biggest health allies, when consumed in the proper quantity (varies by individual needs and goals) from the best sources.

Bite-Sized Breakdown:

Fat has gotten a bad wrap over the years. The origin of this wrap sheet, can probably be traced back to Ancel Keys and his heavily skewed 'Seven Countries' study.

Dietary fats have been so demonized over the years, I picture them sitting around in a circle, conducting their weekly affirmation support group meeting. I imagine it going something like this (said in their best 'Wreck it Ralph' voice)... "I'm bad and that's good. I will never be good and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be than me."

On the surface though, intuitively it seems to make sense. We want to lose fat right? So, why would we ever consume what we are trying to get rid of? However, as in life, it's not quite that simple.

Not only does fat NOT make you fat (that comes in the form of excess calories, in comparison to your goals), it has a host of health benefits that you may miss out on, if you choose to go the low fat route.

Some of these potential benefits include:

Improved taste and satiation, optimized hormonal function, vitamin and micronutrient absorption, healthy skin, reduction in body's overall inflammation, improved insulin sensitivity, blood glucose regulation, prevention of certain cancers and cognitive dysfunctions, good source of energy, lower blood pressure, lower risk of heart disease, reduction in cravings, and the list goes on.

As you can see, fat should not be avoided (in most cases). However, the quality and sources of the dietary fat we decide to consume should absolutely be take into consideration. When done right and combined with a solid overall approach, dietary fat plays a vitally important role in our health and how we feel.

So, next time you are faced with a high fat meal, don't be scared Homie. Now you know, which fats are with you and which fats are against you.

And knowing, is half the battle.

#BetterEveryDay #PFTfamily #PFTlifestyle

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Wednesday, 19 December 2018

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