1. a natural oily or greasy substance occurring in animal bodies, especially when deposited as a layer under the skin or around certain organs.

This word…..it’s scary, creates fear, self criticism, and judgment.  It’s a bad word for some of us, but doesn't need to be. I'd like to introduce the idea of good fat in hopes that you can feel OK about eating FAT and feeling great about it.

Fats that I identify as “bad” are:

  • heavy dairy (cream, butter)
  • lard
  • unrefined oils (soybean oil used in deep fat fryers, non organic animal protein, and packaged processed foods)

However, we need good fat in our diet in order for other foods to perform their best in our bodies. To avoid fat entirely would be a disservice.  We also need to have a layer of fat to keep the body temperature at 98.6 degrees.  However, too much body fat can cause other complications like heart disease, diabetes, and joint pain, amongst other very serious complications.  Genetics plays a big role in body type, and I think that we should all embrace what God has given us and find a way to optimize it.  By finding out what foods and diets work best for us as individuals and then incorporating exercise, we can lead healthy lifestyles.  Additionally, relationships that contribute to the stream of life instead of withdrawing from it, are an important factor when trying to create balance and achieve health.

Here is a breakdown the different sources of fats, where to find the good kind, and what to avoid.

Monounsaturated fats: 
This is a type of fat found in a variety of foods and oils. Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that MUFAs may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.

Polyunsaturated Fats:
This is a type of fat found mostly in plant-based foods and oils. Evidence shows that eating foods rich in polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. PUFAs may also help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Saturated fat: 
This is a type of fat that comes mainly from animal sources of food, such as red meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products. Saturated fat raises total blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Saturated fat may also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.There are a variety of ways to reduce fat during the cooking process – baked, steamed, boiled, and broiled foods are great alternatives to fried and sauteéed items

Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
One type of polyunsaturated fat is made up of mainly omega-3 fatty acids and may be especially beneficial to your heart. Omega-3, found in some types of fatty fish, appears to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. It may also protect against irregular heartbeats and help lower blood pressure levels. There are plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. However, the body doesn't't convert it and use it as well as omega-3 from fish.

Trans fat or trans-unsaturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids: 
A type of unsaturated fats that are uncommon in nature but became commonly produced industrially from vegetable fats for use in margarine, snack food, packaged baked goods and frying fast food starting in the 1950s.[1][2][3] Trans fat has been shown to consistently be associated, in an intake-dependent way, with risk of coronary heart disease, the worldwide leading cause of death.  Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats are not essential, and they do not promote good health.[12] The consumption of trans fats increases one's risk of coronary heart disease[13] by raising levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of "good" HDL cholesterol.[14] Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils are more harmful than naturally occurring oils.[15]

In sum, we need fat.  Good fat primarily, and bad fat is best to avoid, but one should not feel defeated if you happen to consume some every once in awhile.  If you have to question whether it’s good or bad for you, then it’s probably bad!  Look for food that is natural, raised in a humane way, or live (vegetables, fruit, etc).  

Recipe Time: Smoked Eggplant Spread

Chase ElderComment