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A quick word about fats.


Many dieters are confused about the role of fat in their diet. We’ve been told a different story about fats from ‘experts’ over the years, and that has led to many misconceptions about this macronutrient. Conventional diets that are heavy on carbohydrates like grains and cereals tell you that you should get most of your energy from carbs. Over the last 30 odd years we’ve been bombarded with information telling us that eating fat will make us fat and that carbs are needed as fuel for our bodies. Quite the opposite is, in fact, true.

A quick recap from a previous post…….

Fat and protein were the dominant macronutrients over the majority of our two-and-a-half million years as evolving humans. We have thrived quite effectively on a very low-carb diet. Human metabolism is pre-programmed by evolution to be primarily fat based. Fat, not glucose (from carbs) is the preferred fuel for our body. When you consider that the body’s ability to store glucose is very limited (the liver can store about 100 grams of glycogen, less than one days worth and the muscles can hold an additional 350-500 grams, about enough for a 90 minute run) meanwhile we have a virtually unlimited capacity for storing fat. So you can understand that it would’ve been much harder, if not impossible to survive as a species if glucose were the preferred fuel.

Eating fat actually helps your body to release fat to be used as energy. You can easily re-program your body to access it’s fat stores for energy and not rely on carbs by simply cutting down on carbs. The first few days to a week of a low-carb diet can be very tough, you may crave carbs and feel low on energy. This is because your body has been used to relying on a constant feed of sugar for energy and it isn’t efficient at accessing its fat stores for energy. But once your body makes the shift to using fat for energy many people find they no longer crave sweet food, they have more energy and they sleep better.

So, which fats should you eat? Here’s the low down on the good and the bad…..

The Good Fats…
For cooking coconut oil is the best. It has a high burn temperature and is extremely healthy. Also good for cooking are butter and ghee (clarified butter) Olive oil is more stable at high temperatures than extra virgin olive oil so use that for cooking if you want. For drizzling over salads you can use extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, flaxseed oil and nut oils. Sesame seed oil drizzled over a stir-fry is yummy.

Other sources of good fats are avocados, nuts and seeds, nut butters especially almond butter, oily fish and animal fats in meat. You could also take a supplement of Omega-3 capsules.

The Bad Fats…
What are the bad fats? It pretty much comes down to anything high in Omega-6 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fats and anything man made. Avoid margarine, man made oils (hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils) canola, corn, vegetable, grape seed, and sunflower oil. This isn’t an exhaustive list of fats to avoid but includes the big ones.

The key is to get enough fat in your diet by including it in every meal. You should feel satisfied and full of energy and then your body wont keep telling you to fill it with sugary foods.

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