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Let’s Clear Up The Confusion About Fat

Let’s Clear Up The Confusion About Fat

Everywhere you turn, there is much confusion and misinformation out there about fat – both the fat in our bodies and the fats we eat.

You were likely exposed to the low-fat craze when it permeated the media and the products in our grocery stores. I can clearly remember going through this phase and seeing the explosion of low-fat baked goods in the grocery store. Many of us now view fat as unhealthy, and something that should be avoided at all costs.

However, what the low-fat advocates don’t talk about is the fact that you need to eat fat to survive and thrive. When I did my PhD studies on essential fatty acids, I realized the importance of dietary fats even more, especially for certain body functions and to prevent disease. After all, dietary fats help to build cell membranes, produce hormones, absorb vitamins effectively, protect our nerves, and support basic brain function. Of course, some fats like trans fat should still be avoided, but there are a host of fats that are full of health-boosting benefits.

Fortunately, in recent years, more and more people have been gaining an appreciation for the pivotal role that fat plays in our health. While it’s encouraging to see our society embracing full-fat foods again, there are a few things you should keep in mind when selecting your fat sources:

Buy small amounts of organic fats in non-plastic containers: While it’s easy to be tempted by the large plastic containers of cheap oils at the grocery store, buying smaller, darkened glass bottles is better for the long term. The oil in large bottles that sit on your shelf for months begins to degrade over time due to the constant exposure to heat, light, and oxygen. Additionally, avoid oils and fats in plastic containers at all costs, since plastic and fat are a toxic mix!

Cook at low heat: When cooking with oil on the stove, keep the heat low so the oil doesn’t start to smoke. Once the oil heats up to its smoke point, free radicals and other toxins begin to form. If your oil starts to smoke, discard it and use fresh oil to minimize your exposure to harmful toxins. You can find a helpful guide to the cooking heats of individual oils at the PCC Natural Market site.

Change it up: it’s important not to get stuck in a fat rut! Change up the sources of fat you use regularly to ensure you’re reaping all the health benefits that different kinds of fats provide. In my kitchen, I have several oils to choose from: coconut oil, ghee, sesame oil, walnut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, and flaxseed oil, to name a few. I try to vary my use throughout the week. I also like to get fat-rich sources from foods like avocados, nuts, wild salmon, flaxseed meal, walnuts, or chia seeds, some of which are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3s.

Fat is no longer something that should be villainized or feared. Instead, enjoy the strong flavors and healthy benefits of a range of healthy fats and oils. Your body will thank you for it!

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