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The F-Word

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If you live on planet Earth, you’ve probably heard the buzz around the  F-word—and yes I’m talking about fat. There has been a lot of research in the past few years that contradicts what we’ve always known, or at least thought we knew. This has led to mass confusion and left many of us asking—is fat actually as bad as we think? The short answer is no, but let’s get down and dirty and talk about the 5 main points you need to know about this nutrient.

1)      We’ve always needed some fat in our diet, most of us know this. We’ve usually been encouraged to consume healthy fats that come from sources like olive oil and avocadoes. This hasn’t changed – we should still consume these healthy fats as the bulk of our fat intake.

2)      Trans fats, especially man made trans fats, are still a big no-no. There are no ifs, ands, or buts when it comes to this. These still take a major shot at our cholesterol and should be limited or avoided as much as possible.

3)      Even though this is old news it has taken a long time to catch on. Straight and to the point: Cholesterol in food has little or no effect on the cholesterol in your body. So go ahead, eat your egg yolk.

4)      Saturated fat is where the story has taken a significant shift. Turns out, it matters where the saturated fat is coming from, what it is replaced with in your diet, and how much of it we consume. In fact, significant research findings show that certain foods like whole milk may actually be more beneficial in reducing blood sugar spikes and triggering satiety than consuming low-fat dairy products. This doesn’t mean we should all up our butter intake, but it does mean we can be less frightened about a splash of cream in our coffee once in awhile.

5)      Fat still carries more than double the amount of calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein. This means if you eat 5g of carbohydrates, you’ll get 20 calories. If you eat 5g of fat you will get 45 calories. This is helpful to keep in mind when looking at your overall diet and choosing to incorporate whole foods that contain fat. For example, if you choose to switch from low fat cheese to full fat cheese, watching the portion size or what you pair it with will help balance things out.

David Katz said it best; we forget to ask “when we tell someone not to eat something, what do they end up replacing it with?” Unfortunately, the ‘replacements’ are often fragmented foods, processed foods, artificial sweeteners and supplement powders. In my opinion (in most cases) we are better off consuming the fat (but remember—in moderation, and it is still very important that vegetables/fruits, whole grains, lean & plant proteins fall at the top of your list).

In Good Health,

RK

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