For many years now FAT has been considered a bad word and an enemy to the human body. We have frantically avoided fats and purposefully chemically altered foods to have less fat. A walk down the grocery aisle will confirm our obsession with low-fat foods. We’re bombarded with supposedly guilt-free options: baked potato chips, fat-free ice cream, low-fat candies, cookies, and cakes. But while our low-fat options have exploded, so have obesity rates. Clearly, low-fat foods and diets haven’t delivered on their trim, healthy promises.
We were told that fats clog arteries, adds to body weight, and are responsible for an entire battalion of heart and health issues. Now we’re making a full circle and discovering that the real causes of many health issues today are the consumption of trans fats, sugar, and processed foods, and not consuming enough nutrient dense foods.
In the beginning….there was fat and no trans fats. Let me explain. Genesis 1:29 says, And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.” This verse from Genesis shows that Adam and Eve’s initial foods included a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. God knew our bodies needed fats to survive. After The Fall, God gave Adam and Eve animals for food too, but I won’t be elaborating on that topic today.
Some of the good/high quality fats in the Garden of Eden were: walnuts, avocados, flaxseeds, olives, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, grape seeds, almonds, coconuts, pistachios, cashews, etc.
Now nuts and seeds used to have a “bad rap” because they are high in fat. However, it is now known that the type of fat in them is actually beneficial. They contain mainly monounsaturated fat, some polyunsaturated fats, but very little saturated fat. Those that do have saturated fats, contain MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) that are quickly used for energy and not easily stored as fat. In addition, nuts, seed and some legumes are a good source of protein, omega fatty acids, vitamins (especially vitamin E), minerals such magnesium, phosphorus, and iron, along with fiber.
Eating the right kind of fat is the trick here. Our bodies need good quality fats so that it can carry out various functions. What you don’t need is the trans fat found in processed, packaged and refined foods. Look for ‘partially hydrogenated’ or ‘hydrogenated’ in the label and if these words show up, avoid those products like the plague. Trans fats are used in everything from cookies, so called healthy, multigrain biscuits, to doughnuts, French fries, cakes, etc. If a high fat product says “fat free” or “low in fat”, it likely contains trans fat or something that has been chemically modified. To make the product taste good, something has to be added when the fat is removed.
Good fats in your diet do several things.
Fat supports brain function. Our brains need fat for fuel. Ever felt tired and brain-fogged in the middle of the day? Your low fat diet could be to blame.
Fat is essential for building up your immunity. Fat helps the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).
For athletes, fat helps to reduce exercise induced inflammation. Yes, too much of any form of exercise creates free radicals that can cause havoc within your system.
Fat also helps your liver function properly, and can help improve blood cholesterol levels.
So remember, God designed our bodies to consume fat. 20 to 35% of your daily calories should come from fat. The answer isn’t cutting out the fat—it’s learning to make healthy choices and to replace bad fats with good ones that promote health and well-being.