How A High Fat Diet Can Make You Healthier, Smarter & Leaner
When did this happen? It was less than a decade ago that the dietary industry vilified fat and promoted healthy carbs to keep us healthy, fit and trim.
Not only did we believe that fat made us fat, but fat was also, apparently, responsible for heart disease, obesity, and everything else in between.
Turns out we were wrong.
In fact, it turns out that reducing or even trying to eliminate fat from our diets turned us into overweight, anxious, depressed, inflamed and deeply unhealthy individuals.
When we jumped onto the low-fat bandwagon, we had to compensate with something else. So we went with carbohydrates. We focused largely on grains, such as wheat, rice, corn, oats, millet and amaranth.
The problem with this model of nutrition is that most people consume refined carbohydrates. Those would be white flour, white rice, white potatoes, and corn. These carbohydrates convert very quickly to sugar in the body. In fact, there is really no biochemical difference between eating a slice of white bread and consuming a chocolate bar. The body doesn’t discriminate. It simply breaks down the molecules and our pancreas releases insulin in order to move the glucose (the end result of sugar in the body) to our cells.
The problem arises when we’re consuming lots of refined carbs (think any commercial breakfast cereal in the morning, followed by coffee with sugar, followed by a sandwich for lunch, followed by a muffin in the afternoon, followed by pasta for dinner) our bodies begin to overproduce insulin in order to keep up with the constant intake of sugar.
This is where the body goes haywire.
When our cells hit their capacity for glucose, it has to go somewhere. That somewhere is our liver. The liver is the workhorse of our bodies. It not only doles out all of the nutrients to all of the cells in our body, but it removes the toxins that we take in everyday.
When we have an overload of glucose in our cells, the liver will take up the excess. The problem here is that our bodies were not designed to have an excess of glucose. Glucose that is not being readily used (as in running 10 km after eating a sandwich) turns to…wait for it…FAT.
‘Fatty liver’ was once only a disease of alcoholism. Diabetics also, commonly, have fatty liver. The stress on the liver caused by excess alcohol or glucose causes the liver to get fat and impedes its job of nutrient dissemination and detoxification. To make this really clear, this means that our cells are not getting the nutrients that they require and the toxins in our bloodstream continue to circulate. In other words, we become malnourished and toxic. A common term in the nutrition world is overfed and undernourished.
We also believed that glucose was the preferred source of fuel for our brains. But we were wrong.
It turns out that our long-held belief of what constitutes a healthy diet (despite the fact that we’ve never been more fat or sick) was way off.
It also turns out that fat maybe the key to a healthy, slim body, happy brain and vibrant being.
A diet high in good sources of fat and low in refined carbohydrate completely changes the metabolism and the biochemistry of the body. First, it gives us a substantial amount of energy. And it turns out that energy burned as fat is much more efficient than energy burned as glucose (sugar).
Second, good fat is also anti-inflammatory. Omega 3 fats, found in oily fish and cod liver oil, is known to reduce inflammation, feed the brain and even reduce symptoms of ADHD in children.
I marvel at how often I’m in the grocery store and see people filling their carts with low fat products. Ironically, these same people are usually overweight. Perhaps if they lowered their carb intake and increased their fat intake, they would look and feel completely great.
With adequate levels of fat, our skin glows, our joints move properly, our bellies work well and we feel happy.
Here are the best sources of fat:
- Olive oil (used for low heat or toppings for salads, veggies and dressings)
- Coconut oil
- Butter or ghee
- Saturated fat, from animal sources
- Dairy fat (think greek yogurt)
- Nuts and seeds
These are the best fats for the body and brain because they haven’t been tampered with or denatured. The more we screw around with our food, the less our bodies recognize what we’re eating and how to utilize those nutrients.
Here are the poorest sources of fat:
- Trans fats (just say NO to these bad boys!)
- Vegetable oils
- Seed and nut oils
These oils go through lengthy processing and denaturing in order to get them (and keep them) in liquid form and our bodies really don’t know what to do with them.
When you endeavor to lower your carb intake and eat more fat, you’ll feel like a new person. Your energy will last longer, your skin will look better, you’ll lose excess weight (especially belly fat) and you’ll reduce inflammation in your body.
So slap some butter on your veggies tonight…bake some salmon in the oven…and have a bowl of full-fat greek yogurt with berries for dessert. And then say, YUM!!!!
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