Now I embrace the fat.
In those days, there was a new food introduced nearly daily that was called “low fat” on “non-fat”. Everyone had fat phobia. Fat content was just about all anybody talked about relating to nutrition. This is when the term “fattening” was coined. I’ve never liked this term because it is so vague. Just about anything can be “fattening” if too much is eaten.
Historically, foods that contain more than 5% of their calories from fat are considered “fattening” because they are “high” in fat such as, bacon, avocado, nuts and many other foods that surpass that imaginary 5% boundary. The problem with this definition is that it ignores other food that contribute to body fat storage.
How About Today’s Definition of Fattening?
What does “fattening” actually mean today? Fortunately we are a bit more realistic and inclusive of all caloric properties in foods today. Calories are not all equal. Can a particular food make you fat? Sure, it’s possible. If you eat too much of something that contains calories, you will store the excess energy as fat. Ergo, “fattening”. Or we could say a food like cookies are fattening because they are easy to eat too much of. This is largely due to their addictive, overeating trifecta – fat, sugar, and salt. Eating too
much of anything is – too much. And if that something contains a lot of calories, you can eat too much too quick. Try doing that with vegetables. You will fill up with bulk long before you ingest too many calories. So, you could define foods that contain fat, sugar, and salt as being fattening, but once again, this only if you eat too much in too short of a period of time.
I’d like to state, for the record, that any food can be eaten in appropriate amounts. This includes doughnuts. Though I do not recommend eating such things, it can be done in moderation. It will be hard to eat these trifecta foods in moderation, but it is possible (for some people). Therefore, I through the term “fattening” out. Let’s focus on the nutrient fat instead.
What is fat?
Quite simply, fat is a necessary nutrient that supplies the body with energy and other vital nutrients. It assists with many body functions. It is necessary for, not only good health, but for life, to ingest adequate amounts of fat daily. The down side is, fat is high in calories which makes it easy to eat more calories than you need. Fat contains 9 Calories per gram, where carbohydrates and protein only have 4. This does not mean that fat is fattening. This simply means that 100 Calories of fat takes up less space than 100 Calories of carbohydrates or protein.
How much is too much?
Eating and drinking more than you need is too much. How much fat does a person need to eat? About 20% – 30% of their calories should come from fat in each meal, snack and day. This is best if it is spread evenly each time you eat (e.g., about 30% of your calories should come from fat each time a person eats.) [I’ve been using this ratio for myself and clients since 1997 when I learned about Dr. Sears’ The Zone.] The body needs fat. It needs it in storage (in small amounts) and it needs in in food – daily.
Good and Bad Fats
We’ve all heard of good fats and bad fat. This is important. The easiest way I can explain the difference between the two is good fats come from plants and fish and bad fats come from animals and humans. The latter refers to hydrogenated oils which are made by humans and machines and chemicals. Stay away from hydrogenated oils. They are bad. Just don’t eat them. This is why I don’t eat store-bought baked goods. Only home made, and preferably only from my wife who I know “healths” them up quite a bit.
Without going into the scientific details about why the good is good and the bad is bad – which can be easily learned on the internet – I’ll tell you my thoughts on the subject of eating more fats (than my generation was raised eating).
Growing up in with fat phobia in the ’70s and ’80s I have really changed my attitude toward fat. I stay away from transfats and and minimize saturated animal fats, but I eat much more vegetable, nuts, seeds, and fish fats, and this includes coconut. In fact, coconut is my new favorite food. I use it in all my added fat needs such as cooking, baking, and my favorite is coconut cream in my coffee. In fact, I have noticed a huge difference in my physical performance since I’ve been doing this. For example, I can eat a relatively small breakfast that includes coconut cream (1 to 2 tablespoons), eggs and a pile of green, leafy vegetables. This gives me a tremendous amount of energy and I don’t feel hungry again for several hours. I used to be hungry for second breakfast – after eating toast, or fruit or cereal – 1 to 2 hours after eating. Now, I have a more stable and higher energy level and don’t get hungry for 4 to 5 hours after eating a fat and protein breakfast.
Coconut has been shown to decrease yeasts, fungus, bacteria and viruses and improve energy use and increasing metabolism. It also improves the way the body handles insulin and increases thyroid function. Plus, it tastes good.
The Body’s Energy System
As mentioned above, I eat fats every time I eat. Some of my favorite sources are peanut butter and any kind of nut and seed, Dr Will Bars, eggs, cold-water fish and of course, coconut fat. Plus, the body’s energy systems becomes efficient at burning the kind of fuel that is most frequently consumed. This means, if you eat carbs, primarily, then you will become efficient at burning carbs. If you eat more fats, your body will adapt to this and be more efficient at extracting usable energy from fats. The up side to this is you will be more efficient at burning stored fats once the free flowing fats in your blood stream are used up. Once again, 30% of calories from each meal or snack should come from fats.
If you are still have a fat phobia, I highly recommend giving my method a try. (Good) fats are good for you, and you need to consume them. Skip the deep fried foods – always. Minimize the mammal fats, and be sure to eat (or drink) up to 30% of your calories from these healthy fats every time you eat. You will feel more satisfied, you will feel satisfied longer, and you will be less likely to snack on crap. I think that is worth it. Chances are, you will lose stored fat from your body in the process.
Enjoy your new freedom. Embrace the fat.
- Dr. Oz on coconut fat
- Harvard Family Health Guide – Good vs Bad Fats
- “Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It”, by Gary Taubes
You Might Also Like
Thanks for reading.