Fat as a macronutrient goes in and out of style. Keto, Atkins and other high fat diets are currently in favor. But what does fat do for us?
Dietary fats help to give us energy, assist in hormone production and function, form the membranes of the cells in our bodies, assist our brains and nervous systems and give us fatty acids that our bodies can’t make on their own.
Saturated fats are different than unsaturated fats and, as with carbohydrates, unprocessed or whole food sources are better for the body versus processed sources.
Cholesterol is made of up of fats – BUT the theory that higher fat diets lead to higher cholesterol levels has been debunked.
Intake of excess calories leads to stored fat and increased fat cells in our bodies – this occurs from overeating, NOT from eating a high fat diet.
It is sometimes, however, easier to overeat fats (because, well, they’re delicious) but they are also very highly satiating. Anyone who has ever sat down with a bowl of nuts or a spoon and a jar of peanut butter can probably attest to how easy it is to put away an entire day’s worth of calories in one sitting.
When combined with processed carbs and sugar… high fat foods can very easily lead to excess calorie intake (candy bar, anyone?). A healthy balance of fat macros, however, should be included in most nutritional plans to support essential body functions as mentioned above.
While some people can thrive (and sometimes control their diseases such as epilepsy and diabetes) on a higher fat diet, others may not and can actually harm their bodies by taking in excess fat and calories.
Fat stored in our bodies is known to be inflammatory and metabolically active, this is a known contributing factor of osteoarthritis and a suspected contributor to multiple other disease states.
The best ratio of fats in your diet should be determined in conjunction with your health care provider.
What are some whole food fat sources that you like to eat?
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