(Here is a great cooking fat, beef tallow. I use the Epic brand, mainly because I like the jar design…)
This subject could be a book instead of a blog, but I just want to get the basics out there as a foundation to future posts.
FAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT.
Dietary fat, fat as a macronutrient, that fat you eat, is not directly equivalent to excess fat on your body. This has been the most construed concept in America. This is obvious with the large abundance of low-fat and non-fat items available, and the millions of dollars thrown into marketing low-fat foods and linking their products to weight loss.
FAT IS A FUEL.
To make a long story short, you have to eat fat for your cells and organs to function the way that they were intended to. Dietary fat is neccessary to build every cell membrane, provide slow-burning fuel for the mitochondria (powerhouse of every cell), and for the production of hormones. Here is a list of the roles of fat:
- Source of energy
- Required for absorption of fat-soluable vitamins A, D, E, & K
- Required for adequate use of protiens
- Serves as a protective lining for our organs
- Plays a role in slowing down the absorption of the food we eat for proper energy regulaion
- Building blocks of every single cell membrane
- Releases the hormone that tells your brain that you are full
- The preferred energy source of the heart and the brain
- Necessary for the immune system to regulate inflammation
- Needed for cell integrity (to not be too fluid or too rigid)
- Makes our food taste good
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU EAT FAT.
A few things happen to the fat you eat, once it reaches your small intestine to be used by the body.
- Transported to the cells where they can be immediately used as an energy source
- Used to regulate inflammation and cell communication (by producing prostaglandins)
- Liver converts it into ketones, which is the slow-burning fuel needed by the heart, brain, and large muscles
- Then, after all of those things are taken care of, any excess is sent to be stored for later use.
Where as when you consume carbohydrates (which provides glucose), the energy it provides is a quick energy, in short bursts. We do not need as many carbohydrates as we are told, since our body can produce all of the glucose it needs by conversions in the body from fat and protein (making it non-essential for survival). Since glucose is a quick-burning fuel, we need to constantly eat and eat to have energy.
Glucose also triggers the release of insulin. In a diet where we are told to not eat fat, it is then replaced with carbohydrates. Constantly consuming carbs causes a constant release of insulin. Insulin takes the glucose to the liver for storage, then to the muscles for storage, and then the rest is converted to triglycerides and cholesterol for storage as body fat and also accumulates in the blood.
Think of carbohydrates as the kindling. It immediately burns up, and you have to keep throwing more on so it does not burn out. Fat is the logs. Once you get the fire to fuel from a slow-burning log, you will have heat for hours.
In a nutshell, it is the excess of carbohydrates (primarily empty carbs like flour and sugar), converted to glucose, constantly triggering insulin production, that causes the storage of ‘fat’ on the body.
There is so much more to explain here, and I hope to in future posts. But just for a second, pretend that dietary fat and body fat did not have the same name. Is it that fact that fat is called fat that makes us think that it makes us fat if we eat it? Just think about it. If they told us 50 years ago that fat was bad for us, so we stopped eating it and made everything low-fat, then why is obesity at an all-time high? Why do children have Type II Diabetes? Don’t you think that the trend should be going down if they were right?
I will try to explain it all better and in more detail later. But I want this to be an invitation to rethink what you think know about how you are to eat. I recommend the book The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz if you want to start looking more into it for yourself.
Anyway, don’t give up on your steak and eggs, whole fat yogurt, or avocados.