Thanks to the humungous boom of low fat food products during the 90s, food in its natural (full fat) form has become something that is feared by the majority of the population. Dieters, desperate to lose weight, all too often turn to low fat, ‘lite’ and skim options of popular items such as milk, cheese, salad dressings and even chocolate.
Over the last 10 to 20 years, the advice from scientists, nutritionists and even government bodies was to reduce fat intake in favour of carbs, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and some nuts and seeds. What this advice has done has caused people to shun those foods with a naturally high fat content in favour of products that are altered, most often in a lab, to remove the fat and replace it with artificial sweeteners. We are now eating more artificial foods than ever before, filling our bodies with chemicals, sugars (real and artificial) and trans-fats. These foods are not nutrient dense – they are fake – and they do nothing for your health or your body.
My fat diet
I follow a diet that is extremely high in fat. A typical day for me includes:
- 2 tablespoons of almond butter, along with almond milk in my smoothie at breakfast (nuts are very high in monounsaturated fat and are extremely calorie dense)
- Half an avocado with my lunch (also high in monounsaturated fats and calorie dense) along with olive oil dressing for a salad
- A snack of sunflower seeds, or olives in the afternoon
- Fatty fish, such as salmon for dinner with vegetables cooked in olive oil
- Dessert, which may encompass sugar-free chocolate made with coconut milk (high in saturated fats) and raw cacao; or more nuts, in the form of halved fresh medjool dates stuffed with nut butter.
Back when I ate meat, I would eat the chicken skin, chop fat or crackling. I don’t believe in calorie counting, but all of these foods in one day would add up to an incredible amount of calories and fat. Am I overweight as a result of eating all of these nutrient-dense foods? Not at all. In fact, by following this pattern of eating, I am the most lean I have been in my life.
Why eat fat?
Here are the top reasons why you should embrace more fat in your life:
Fat keeps you full
Fat triggers feelings of satiety (or fullness), which causes you to eat less overall. Eating the right fats (think monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), aids in the absorption of healthy vitamins. Carbs and sugars, on the other hand, are extremely easy to over-eat. Think of the last time you ate bread – I bet you could have scarfed down a whole loaf before you were properly full. Fat keeps your motor running longer and slower than other food, keeping you full for hours on end.
Fat slows the absorption of sugars
As sugars are largely absorbed in the intestine, the amount of sugar in the blood rises less rapidly and peaks at a lower level.
Fat is essential for heart health
It is also needed for blood pressure regulation, hair and skin health, hormone production and endurance exercise. Several key vitamins – such as A, D and E – are fat soluble and are absorbed best when consumed with fat.
Fat is the body’s preferred and most reliable form of energy
At 9 calories per gram, fat is the densest source of energy. This is the exact reason why humans tend to store it on our bodies as energy for later, for leaner times when food isn’t available. Carbs are relevant, however only when you are undertaking high intensity and repeated bouts of energy.
Fat is full of nutrients
Certain fats, such as egg yolks, olive oil and grass-fed butter are some of the most nutritious foods around. Without fat in meals, the body cannot absorb all the nutrients that are present in other foods (leafy greens, for example), since most require fat for full absorption.
Before you shun fats in favour of other “low fat” options, consider the above. When you reduce carbohydrates and high sugar foods in your diet and replace them with fats, I guarantee you will notice a difference in your body weight and composition. This isn’t a free-for-all to eat donuts and junk food though. Get your fats from healthy, whole foods – avocado, olive oil, olives, nuts, seeds and organic meats – and you will reap the benefits.