Fats… juicy, delicious fats. For the past few decades, most people if not all, have demonised Fats, deeming it as the enemy when it comes to health.
“There’s too much fat”
“It’s fat free, so it must be healthy”
“All that saturated fat will clog up my arteries”
“Look at how many grams of fats are on that!”
“Take out the yolk… it’s all fat”
The issue is that not all fats are created equal. Just like you and me. If you’re eating fats from Earth-Grown, Raw, Wholesome foods, then you can’t really go wrong. I mean don’t go eating avocados and nuts all day (unless you’re stranded in a jungle or desert with nothing else to eat) but we need Dietary, Nutritious fats. This includes Saturated Fats. Let me tell you why.
There is a major difference between empty, processed fats vs nutritious, wholesome fats.
Think about it for a second. Do you think our bodies were made to eat processed foods? Not really. If we got rid of all the machines, factories, businesses, food processors, and any unnatural, man-made ingredients in the world, what do you think it would come down to? Just like cavemen back in the day, we would have to survive on what’s left on this Earth. Whatever can be harvested from Mother Nature. I know it sounds corny and hippie-like, but it’s true. And I am confident that as a species, we would be much healthier if that were to happen. But it never will. So, we have to compromise. This is the reason why there are so many diets out there, such as the Paleo or Primal that emphasise eating like Cavemen. Or Vegan diets that focus on eating Earth-Grown Plant-based foods.
However, as I have said previously, I don’t believe in going to any extreme to be healthy and fit. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t born believing this. Like you, I believed that Fats were the enemy and I had to cut it out of my diet to be fit and healthy. I used to eat brown rice, chicken breast and broccoli 5 times a day. I felt like absolutely crap. I think I looked pretty good but I struggled mentally and physically to keep up with trying to balance hard training, work and school. I always wondered why.
Now I have learnt: It’s all about balance. A well-balanced wholesome lifestyle & diet, in my unbiased opinion, trumps all fads, trends and extreme diets. Cut out the bullsh*t and eat real food in a balanced manner – yes similar to cavemen. Period. This includes Saturated Fats from Raw Coconut Oil, Grass-fed Butter, Raw Organic Milk, Grass-fed Beef, Nuts, Avocados and many many more. Still, there are hundreds and thousands of articles stating that Saturated fats are the devil and that it’s a direct cause of increase in cardiovascular disease. But in fact, it’s man-made saturated fats, trans fats, processed sugars that are causing all those illnesses. Like I said, not all fats are created equal.
The Importance of Fats and Cell Function for recovery and functionality
Fats are highly responsible for, but are not limited to: maintaining energy levels, mental focus and clarity, our ability to lose body fat, inflammation and our overall hormonal balance and function.
Your body’s cells requires fats. Cells in your organs, cells in your muscles, cells in your brain, cells in your skin. Fats form part of the cell membrane structure in order for it to function efficiently. Just imagine, if your cells don’t function properly, how will you? Remember that your brain is made of 60% of fat as well.
So, when cells are damaged from exercising, partying, long hours of work and so on – fats help the cells repair and also grow. This might explain why fats are essential for getting over nasty hangovers and are super important for recovery after training
Fat Loss & Hormonal Balance
Believe it or not, your body needs cholesterol. Not the man-made stuff. The raw stuff. Your body needs cholesterol to produce hormones. Hormones are responsible for basically everything. From your energy levels, your mood, your metabolism, your immune system and even your brain function. An imbalance of hormones can inhibit the body’s ability to lose fat. Cholesterol is the building block from which the reproduction hormones are made. Testosterone and Estrogen for example require cholesterol in order for it to produce. A lack of fat in the body can cause a production in the stress hormone cortisol, which can cause brain fog, decrease mood levels and can increase fat gain.
There have been multiple studies suggesting that males who consume less fats, namely saturated fats and monounsaturated fats produce less testosterone and therefore, decrease their ability to lose fat and build muscle mass. On the other hand, studies have shown that females rely more heavily on fats than carbs as energy, suggesting that females actually are required to eat more fat than men in order to maintain a healthy level of estrogen and metabolism.
Further, raw cow’s milk and a human mother’s breast milk is actually full of cholesterol. This kind of cholesterol is essential for growth and ensures functionality of the brain. This just shows you how important cholesterol is to a new-born’s hormone production, therefore overall growth.
Grass-fed Meat Products
Similar to how “not all fats are created equal”, same goes for animal products. Butter, because of its richness in fats, have been demonised for decades – maybe even centuries. But recently, there have been a major increase in the demand for grass-fed, free-range products – especially in the biohacking community. Not only are they actually tastier, but it’s a lot healthier than your average animal products like regular butter.
For example, chickens that are free-range who are usually fed grass and nutritious grains lay eggs that have 7 times beta-carotene which the human body converts into vitamin A, 2 times more Omega-3 fatty acids and 3 times more vitamin E than eggs from chickens that are caged.
Similarly, grass-fed animal products are significantly more healthier than grain fed, factory farmed animal products, as it contains most MCT (medium chain triglycerides) which are also found in coconut oil, responsible for improving energy levels, maintaining a healthy metabolism and enhances the immune system.
Medium chain fatty acids are basically sent straight to the liver from the digestive tract where the body uses the fats for immediate energy, therefore stimulating the body to burn more calories and fat. The human body digests and metabolizes medium chain fatty acids into energy more efficiently, whereas for long chain fatty acids, fats are stored for future use, which can cause weight gain.
Grass-fed animal products are also super rich in vitamins and cholesterol that reduces the risk of heart disease. Grass also contains micronutrients and beta-carotene in which the animals consume (as found by Dr Rhonda Patrick). Keep in mind, what the animals eat, you also eat. This is why grass-fed animal products are much dearer than non-grass fed animal products.
The different types of fats and where you can get each fat from. Some examples but are not limited to:
- Saturated fats: Raw Milk, Coconut Oil, Eggs, Grass Fed Meat Sources such as meats or butter, Animal Fats, Poultry Skin, Cheese and so on
- Monounsaturated Fats: Olive Oil, Eggs, Avocado, Seeds, Almonds, Cashews, Macadamia
- Polyunsaturated Fats: Fish, Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds, Fish Oil
- Trans Fats: Processed meats, factory made cookies, chicken nuggets (sorry to burst your bubble)
Overall, don’t punish yourself by eating salads all day to lose weight. If you live a healthy balanced lifestyle, you will lose weight effortlessly. I still encourage having your weekly cheat meals, and to obviously enjoy yourself. At the end of the day, it’s about enjoying your life. Don’t disregard fats just because some news article said so. See how your body reacts to it. When I learnt the importance of fats, it has completely changed my approach on food and has changed my life for the better.
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