Fat has gotten a bad reputation in the past. Society has demonized fat as evil and that eating fat will make you fat. On the contrary, fat, specifically the right kinds of fat, are essential for optimal health. Fat is a macronutrient, a substance required in relatively large amounts in the human diet to help us survive and thrive. Here’s why fat should not be feared and why fat is actually good for you.
5 Health Benefits of Eating Fat
Fat Keeps You Satiated
Healthy fats help keep the body satiated, which means if you eat the right amount of fat at each meal, you will stay fuller longer, so say so long to that unwanted 3pm snack attack!
Fat Gives You Energy
Fat is the human body’s preferred source of energy, so when you begin eating more high quality fats, you are sending a signal to your body to use fat as fuel instead of other sources like carbohydrates and sugars. This is why high fat low carb diets like the Ketogenic Diet (Keto) have recently gained popularity among the health and wellness community.
Fat Absorbs Vitamins
Certain vitamins like Vitamins A, D, E and K are all fat soluble, which means in order for these vitamins to be properly absorbed by the body, fat needs to be present. For example, add a drizzle of olive oil to your spinach and kale salad at lunch or top off your toast with some fresh avocado slices. Looking for an added crunch? Try some walnuts, which are also good for brain health.
Fat Regulates Blood Sugar
Healthy fats keep blood sugar levels stable. Fat is digested slowly within the body, so it provides your system with a steady source of energy and prevents blood sugar dips, which can happen if you eat a carb heavy diet. Think about it. Do you ever get hungry after eating a piece of fruit, like an apple? The body processes the apple as a carbohydrate, so it burns through it rather quickly. However, if you add a source of healthy fat to that apple, like a handful of nuts such as Brazil nuts or cashews, you will stay satiated longer while essentially keeping your blood sugar levels stable. It’s a win win!
Fat Fights Inflammation
Essential fatty acids, specifically Omega-3 Fatty Acids, are anti-inflammatory. These essential fatty acids are essential to our body’s systems, but can only be obtained through food sources that are high in quality fat, which means in order to get them you have to eat them.
Healthy Fats You Should Eat
Now that you know the health benefits of eating fat, let’s go over what types of healthy fat you should you be consuming.
- Olive Oil
- Pork Lard
- Seeds such as chia seeds and flax seeds
*Although these healthy fats are all good for you and your health, some of them are calorie dense, so be sure to enjoy them in moderation.
Fats to Avoid
The quality of fats you consume matters, so enjoy the high quality fats, like those listed above, and avoid low quality fats such as:
- Trans fats. These types of fats contain the worst fats, which have been known to increase LDL levels (the “bad” kind of cholesterol) and lower the HDL (the “good” kind of cholesterol).
- Saturated fats like those found in processed foods, baked goods and fried foods. Think donuts, cookies, cakes and crackers.
- Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats. These contain high levels of trans fatty acids, which have been linked to heart disease.
In order to avoid these, read your food labels. If you don’t recognize the ingredients or can’t pronounce them, you probably shouldn’t be eating them!
How You Can Incorporate More Healthy Fats
If you currently eat a low fat diet and do not consume many sources of healthy fats, here are some ways you can include more healthy fats into your daily diet.
- Use healthy sources of fat for cooking and roasting vegetables. Roasted brussel sprouts topped with bacon fat anyone? (Yum!)
- Add half of an avocado to your breakfast or lunch.
- Top your favorite salad with olive oil or give it an extra crunch with walnuts or chia seeds.
- Keep sources of healthy fats like unsweetened shredded coconut or nuts in your desk drawer, gym bag or in your car console for a quick, yet healthy, snack on the go.
- Make a filet of wild caught salmon for dinner or grill your favorite cut of grass-fed beef with a side of your favorite roasted vegetables.
Gone are the days where we fear fat, so live it up, but in moderation of course! Go on and add that dab of butter to your baked sweet potato, have that avocado on your grass-fed burger and remember fat is no longer the enemy, but rather an essential part of a healthy diet.
Meet The Author:
Ashley Martens is a Health and Wellness Writer based in Chicago, IL. With a background in digital marketing coupled with her knowledge of general nutrition and a lifelong passion for all things health, wellness, fitness and nutrition, Ashley offers a healthy alternative to traditional writing. You can learn more about Ashley and her writing over at her blog, Three to Five a Day.