Top 5 Reasons to Add Fat to Your Diet!
Over the past few years many nutrition questions have been thrown in my direction regarding what macronutrients people should eat. My clients come in to Precision with a wide range of goals, so the answer isn’t the same for all of them. Most of my clients are here for body comp changes. To burn fat and build muscle. I also have a handful of endurance athletes and a few people with spine issues. The answer is, there is no cookie cutter answer here for all of my clients, and everybody gets different nutrition advice based around what their long term goals are. I start by having my people keep an accurate food log over a typical week. I tell them to be completely honest with it and don’t worry about what I will think at the end of the week. Don’t over think it, I just want to see a typical week for you. The majority of people are very carb heavy. Which is fine for my endurance athletes, but for simplicities sake let’s talk about the people who want to burn fat and build muscle. A diet heavy in carbs and low in protein and fat isn’t going to get them to their long term goal of being jacked and lean. I always tell them to eat more protein, which is always well received, but when I tell them they need to increase their fat intake they look at me like I just dissed their mother. Over the past few decades fat has gotten a bad rap, and those fat calories have been replaced with highly refined sugars and carbohydrates. So here we go, the top five reasons for eating more fat. And just so we are clear, we are talking about fats found in meat, eggs, nuts, olive oil, avocados, fish, coconut oil, nut butters, and even butter. Not the fats added to products that come in a box with a bar code.
Reason 1) Fat can help improve heart health:
It has been widely accepted by the public that eating fat will cause heart disease and that if you eat it your arteries will get bogged down with plaque and you will die and early death. Not true. Foods rich in fat can actually improve cardiovascular function and markers of heart disease! For example fat found in fish, olive oil, and nuts can protect your heart and raise HDL levels. There are many factors to take into account regarding why people may have elevated cholesterol levels, but overconsumption of sugar and carbohydrates are often to blame.
Reason 2) Eating fat can help you LOSE WEIGHT:
Fat is a very satiating and can keep you fuller longer. It can help control cravings between meals and can help cut down on snacking tendencies and keep you from feeling ravenous at mealtimes. Garnishing your proteins with avocados and dressing your salads with olive oil and nuts, or throwing a scoop of almond butter or coconut oil in your protein shakes will keep you from going to the pantry for those snacks between healthy meals. Fat’s can also help to stabilize blood sugar levels and decrease blood sugar spikes.
Reason 3) Animal fat contains cholesterol:
Yes, you read that correctly. Cholesterol that is found in animal fat is a vital nutrient that your body needs to function correctly. It is a structural component of cells and makes up the myelin sheaths surrounding nerves. It adds integrity and protection and ensures proper signaling from one nerve to another. Cholesterol and fats also play a huge role in the production of hormones. Certain hormones, including testosterone, are created thru a biological pathway that uses cholesterol as a precursor. When fat and cholesterol aren’t available for hormone production levels can drop. Cholesterol is vitally important for brain function and also plays a role in many biological pathways throughout your body.
Reason 4) Fats can improve immune function:
Fats found in coconut oil and butter contain a compound called lauric acid. This has been shown to be beneficial for having anti-microbial and anti-viral properties throughout the body. Lauric acid can help kill dangerous pathogens and prevent infections throughout the body by disrupting the cell membranes of bacteria and viruses. Cooking with coconut oil will give your immune system a great boost.
Reason 5) They Taste Good!
Foods that are rich in fat taste great. So don’t be afraid of them! Just be sure to practice moderation and incorporate them into a well balanced eating plan.
So there you go, a brief overview of why you should eat more fat. Here are a few fats you will want to avoid if you are feeling a bit confused. Avoid vegetable oils and margarines. These can actually have inflammatory responses in the body and can lead to disease. Check food labels for “hydrogenated oils.” These are transfats and can have detrimental effects on heart health and overall wellness. Replace vegetable oils with coconut oil for cooking. Only get fats from a whole food source. If it had a mother or grows in the ground it’s fair game.