Certain fatty acids are essential to proper health. Avoiding fat does not promote a healthy body; it actually makes a person unhealthy. Avoiding processed fat and getting fat the way it occurs in nature is a way to live healthier. Some good fats include those from organic fresh fruits like avocado, free range naturally fed poultry, grass fed live stock, and wild fish.
Essential fatty acids like linoleic and linolenic acid can only be found in fat. The human body does not synthesize these on its own. The human body needs these fatty acids for important things like long term energy storage and the structure of cell membranes. You can find these fatty acids in flaxseed, fish, soy products and grass fed beef. Eating monounsaturated fat will help lower overall cholesterol by elevating the levels of the protective high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Cholesterol cannot dissolve in the blood. It needs to be transported to the liver by HDL cholesterol where it can be removed from the body. You can find monounsaturated fatty acids in avocado, chocolate (not Hershey’s, real chocolate like ones you see at health food stores that don’t advertise on TV), olive oil and much more.
Fat signals the hormone leptin that tells our brains we are full (satisfied). When we consume good fatty acids our fat tissues produce the hormone leptin. This hormone tells the brain to give us a full feeling and for the body to start burning fat for energy. Foods that are low in fat are usually high in carbohydrates. This keeps us unsatisfied and we eat more. The carbohydrates trigger the pancreas to produce insulin which tells our body to push the glucose into fat stores.
Trans fats (trans fatty acid) are manmade processed fats that should be avoided at all costs. Trans fat raises low -density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and lowers HDL cholesterol. LDL is bad for our health and HDL promotes good health. Eating trans fat offers no nutritional benefits at all. Some health complications related to trans fat are: coronary heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, obesity, liver dysfunction, infertility in women and depression. JUST DONT EAT IT, MAN!
As you can see fat in our diet is not the problem. I believe getting good fats along with the bad ones is better for our health than not getting fat at all. Obesity has grown to be one of the nation’s leading causes of death. This does not mean being thin makes you immune to some of the negative results from both eating bad fats and not eating good fats. Someone who can eat a lot of unhealthy fatty foods and stay thin with minimal exercise may suffer from a type of metabolic disease. And no matter how thin any one is they are still susceptible to plaque buildup in their arteries. The best way to ensure proper health is to understand everything that you put into your body. I often mention that I do not practice everything I know all of the time. The benefit of knowing more about nutrition is I am aware of the times that I am not practicing good nutritional habits.