Fat. Just say the word and notice the emotions it evokes. The word can have very negative connotations in modern society. Fats have a bad reputation, both for making people fat and for being bad for their health. Foods labeled as “low fat” or “no fat” are promoted as being healthy. There are however, healthy fats.
In spite of this bad rap, most people still love fats. After all, fried foods, whipped cream, sour cream, and butter taste good and food manufactures know that fatty (and sweet) foods are things people crave. The phrase, “living off the fat of the land,” illustrates the enduring love for fatty foods.
There’s a good reason we crave fats. The right kind of fats are necessary for good health. Every cell membrane is made of lipids (fatty molecules) and the brain is 50% fat by dry weight. So the nervous system doesn’t work properly without them. Fats keep the skin soft. During winter, fat helps insulate against the cold. Many tissues, including the brain and heart work better when they burn fats (in the form of ketones) for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
The Role Healthy Fats Play
Fats are also needed for the production of many chemical messengers, including steroidal hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, aldosterone, and progesterone. They are used to create specialized messengers, eicosonoids, that allow cells to communicate with each other. Prostaglandins are the best known of these messengers, which mediate inflammation, regulate immune responses, and control cell proliferation.
So, why do fats get such a bump rap? Well, it primarily has to do with the quality of fats people consume. Just like refined carbohydrates cause health problems because they are missing the nutrients your body needs to process them, refined fats are lacking what you need to be healthy. So, in this issue of Sunshine Sharing, we’re going to help you understand fats better so you can pick the kind of fatty foods that will contribute to your health, not detract from it.
In this issue, you will learn what types of fat are considered bad for your health and their differences. Hydrogenation, fried foods, and why you need to choose wisely on animal fats. It’s time to build health and learn which fats (olive, coconut oil) can be included in your diet.
If you are aging like me and interested in maintaining health as you age, our Healthy Habits Healthy Living Program has helped hundreds of people improve their energy and create a healthier lifestyle. This Program is light and fun, and contains tips and recipes to guide you.