Fat has been given a raw deal over the past few decades, paving the way for a bad reputation that it doesn’t deserve! We now know that healthy fats are an essential part of any diet. Here’s why…
- Great Source of Energy
Fat gives us 9 calories per gram, double that of carbohydrate and protein. This makes it an efficient vessel for delivering energy to cells – for a natural and healthy energy boost that isn’t reliant on stimulants! Fat doesn't spike insulin so gives the body a stable and prolonged energy supply, it is far superior to glucose in this regard.
- Essential Fatty Acids
Dietary fat gives us a whopping dose of essential fatty acids, particularly Omega-3, which has been shown to promote heart, eye and brain health. As they are essential, these fatty acids can’t be synthesised in the body and so must be provided from dietary sources.
- Supports Cell Growth
Fat is needed from the diet to support tissue and cell growth, particularly fatty acids which are used to build cell membranes. Because fat is high in energy, it is a great source of fuel which cells use to grow and repair.
- Promote Good Cholesterol
Cholesterol is vital to health, it's where our hormones are made and the only way to support good Cholesterol is through adequate dietary fat. This goes against a common misconception that Cholesterol should be lowered, but in fact a recent study showed that those with higher Cholesterol levels were actually at a lower risk of heart disease!
- Saturated Fat is Good For You
Saturated Fat is particularly good for cooking with as it is very stable at high temperatures and doesn't go rancid - butter also tastes delicious! Saturated Fat has been proven to raise our HDL (good cholesterol) levels and is a fuel source that is easy for our body to digest, transport and use. Google "Bulletproof Coffee" - it will change your mind on sat fat for good!
- Helps to Absorb Vitamins
Vitamins A, D, E and K are all fat-soluble – meaning that they’re absorbed by and stored in fats. So, by eating foods high in fat alongside those which are rich in vitamins, you have a double whammy of efficient nutritional optimisation!
- Promotes Brain Health
Many of us are unaware that our brains are actually predominantly made up of fats, in fact the human brain is nearly 60% fat. Essential fatty acids, particularly docosahexaeonic acid (DHA to you and me!) supports normal development of the brain but is also vital in the diet to keep the brain functioning.
- It Can Help to Curb Cravings
Cutting fat from your diet means lowering your energy intake, which may promote a calorie deficit but also contribute to cravings for foods high in sugar – to bridge that gap in calories. Cutting out fat is not a wise move for dieters, who in doing so will miss out on vital nutrients discussed above as well as increasing the likelihood of craving and bingeing on non-nutritive foods such as sugar.
- Keeps Us Healthy
Beyond the scare-mongering stories in recent decades which gave all fat a bad reputation, we now know that most fats (natural fats from real and unprocessed foods, such as meat) are in fact essential for overall health and wellbeing. Studies have shown that dietary fat helps to promote heart, eye and brain health as well as reducing the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.
- Tastes Amazing!
We have our ancestors and the process of evolution to thank for fats amazing taste! Because it is so high in calories, we have adapted to favour its taste and seek it out to provide a source of energy – which originates from centuries gone where food was scarce. The good news in the modern day is that we still get as much pleasure and satiety from eating foods high in fat for this reason – which includes healthy fats!
So, there you have it, ten great reasons to make it your mission to include more fat in your diet! Fat isn’t the enemy and when eaten wisely it can in fact be your best foodie friend!