Fat has been the demon of the diet world for decades. It’s bad for your health and waistline, so the only way to lose weight and get healthy is to cut fat out of your diet and eat more low-fat foods, right?
Unfortunately, this common wisdom misses an important fact: Fat is necessary. Fat keeps our skin healthy, protects our nerve tissue, delivers fat-soluble vitamins to our body and provides us with energy, as well as keeping us feeling full longer.
So, what’s the lowdown on low-fat foods, and where do they fit in to a healthy, whole-foods diet?
The Common Misconception
High fat consumption has been the source of unhealthy eating and obesity as far back as the 1950s, but we’ve come a long way since them. Back then, saturated fat was determined to be the major contributing factor in heart disease, so people everywhere ditched the butter, eggs, beef and bacon in favor of naturally low-fat foods.
This wouldn’t have been the worst thing, if low-fat foods hadn’t hit the market. Unfortunately, fat gives our food flavor and texture, so taking the fat out of naturally high-fat foods meant something else had to replace it, which happened to be sugar.
Refined sugar is found in nearly everything processed, which can eventually lead us to increased rates of diabetes, obesity and other chronic conditions. Sugar is digested quickly and leads to extreme blood sugar swings that also cause overeating, which is counterproductive to weight loss and portion control.
Good Fats vs. Bad Fats
Though fat is healthy, necessary and certainly better than refined sugar, not all fats are created equal. While small amounts of saturated fats are safe, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega-3 fats are vital to a healthy body and should be consumed regularly. These fats are found in animal products, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils that haven’t undergone hydrogenated, such as olives and avocados.
Trans fats are the problem, however. Trans fats undergo a process that alters the structure of vegetable oils to replace solid fats. They are usually labeled as “hydrogenated” and should be avoided as much as possible, since they can contribute to inflammation, heart disease and an array of other health conditions. These have also taken the place of naturally occurring fats in animal products, which means that trans fats are found in nearly all processed foods.
Learn More at Paleo Angel
Though we’ve been taught to avoid fat if we want to lose weight and be healthy, replacing fat with refined sugar and dangerous trans fats only creates more health issues. Good fats, such as monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega-3 fats are not only necessary for your health, but they also give your food texture and flavor.
So, the key is avoiding processed foods, which is easy on the paleo diet. This ancestral diet focuses on whole, unprocessed foods and healthy fats from natural sources, like grass-fed beef and nuts, which give you the energy you need without the unpleasant effects of a processed diet. Visit us to learn more about the paleo diet and shop our collection of portable, delicious paleo power balls today!