Fat are not the bad guy...
Does this mean that our standard of medical care is poor?
No, not at all. In many aspects, their analysis and beliefs that fats are bad is justified. This is because most of the diseases that doctors see on a daily basis do have an association with high fat diets.
But just as how living has a 100% association with dying, so too is the case for wrongfully charging fats as guilty. But then again - let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Fat is not fat just for the sake of it.
500 years into the past we would see no fear towards eating fat, but with advancements in technology and food packaging, things began to change.
One of these changes was the modification of natural fat, or its synthesis altogether, into something that does not occur in nature. This gave birth to the generation of partially hydrogenated oils - better known as Trans fats.
Trans fats are a manufacturer’s dream; they're cheap, very stable, and allows marketing ploys based on the assertion of “low carbohydrate”.
But as with everything else in life, when you trade in one thing, something else always takes its place.
Save yourself from diabetes? Say hello to heart disease. That is where all fats started getting the negative rep from. Even though the negative health effects are as a result of Trans fats consumption.
Why Should I Get More Fat into my Diet?
A lack of fat can lead to many negative effects, ranging from dry skin (excess water loss from cell) to body temperature fluctuations. Without fat the body will also struggle to produce enough hormones to keep your body working at its best.
Also, our brain is about 60% fat, so imagine what restricting your fat intake will do to your mental state!
That’s only the tip of the iceberg. Let’s examine why consuming enough good fats is critical to both your health well-being.
#1 - Fat can increase physical performance
But carbs are far from ideal for sustained energy production over many minutes to hours. When you need something that fits the bill in such a case, fats are a much more efficient macronutrient . This is especially true when you don't need all your energy at one time (such as sprinting!).
In the end, all types of fats convert into ketone bodies by the liver. Coconut oil and its unique Medium Chain Triglyceride content (MCT) are far superior for this process (in simple terms - their chains of fats are much shorter - so they break down more easily!). This ensures for a rapid production of ketone bodies, which is a great energy source the body can use. For all sorts of uses, coconut oil has a huge range of benefits too.
Even while on a high fat diet, the body is still able to produce small amounts of glucose via the process of gluconeogenesis. So whether you're on a high fat diet, or eating plenty of carbs - your body still has access to glucose!
#2 - Good Fats Improve Your Cholesterol Profile
Cholesterol is often just called "cholesterol". Many people don't know that it's not the total cholesterol that matters, but the rela-tionship between HDL and LDL. High levels LDL (low density lipoprotein) or "bad" cholesterol can raise your risk of heart disease and stroke. High levels of HDL (high desity lipoprotein) or "good" cholesterol can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke .
Ideally, you want your LDL to be low, and HDL to be high, which can be achieved by consumption of both types of fat, but more of the saturated varieties. PUFAs can also reduce HDL levels, which is not ideal, so be careful not to overdo it.
#3 - Appetite Regulation
- Leptin, "the hormone of energy expenditure" helps regulate hunger. When you've got more fat in the body, leptin reduces your appetite.
- Ghrelin, "the hunger hormone" works in contrast to leptin. If your stomach is empty, ghrelin is likely to be produced, making you feel hungry. Fat can help regulate both, making it easier to control your calories.
Carbohydrates also have an effect on these hormones, though fat is a superior option as it doesn't cause surges in insulin.
#4 - Testosterone Synthesis
Studies have analysed the effects of diet on testosterone comparing vegan males with men that ate lots of meat. The men who ate lots of meat (including bigger doses of saturated fats) had much greater testosterone levels .
However, there were two major caveats to this study. One, the subjects on the higher fat diet consumed on average 20% more calories than the vegan group. Two, the correlations between testosterone and fat intake are most relevant to people who use weights.
This shouldn’t be a problem for most of us. Especially, as eating excessive amounts of fat and not working out hard is a sure-fire recipe for weight gain, and screwing up your metabolism.
#5 - Omega-3 Fats Can Indirectly Help Improve Androgen Profiles
Omega-3 fats are extremely beneficial thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties. They also have awesome effects on cognitive, joint and heart health.
However, omega-3 fish oils in the form of EPA and DHA are not particularly favorable to androgen levels on their own. But there remains a novel mechanism by which these fats may help.
This is in the form of lowering SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin). This is a protein that binds to and inactivates total testos-terone, resulting in less free testosterone levels in the body.
Though results are so far preliminary, fish oil has the potential of reducing the amount of this protein found in the blood. It's also able to inactivate SHBG. This can lead to increased muscle protein synthesis, recovery, strength and sexual drive.
If you want to make sure you get enough Omega 3s in your diet, think about the benefits of having more pescatarian meals throughout the week.
What to Eat
Those close to the source. So, while bacon may technically be a good fatty meat, it becomes very bad when smoked and preserved with tons of carcinogenic nitrates.
Eating natural isn’t as hard today as it was 20 years ago. This is thanks to the large number of farmer’s markets popping up around the place. You can also find growth hormone and pesticide free food from organic supermarkets. Make sure to look for these!
These fats are good at lowering elevated LDL levels. This reduces artery-related risk factors and reduces many inflammatory processes. Great examples of these include:
- Omega-3 fats, commonly found in deep water fish and algae. Also found in tuna, salmon and mackerel.
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Olive oil
Monounsaturated fatty acids have an important role in forming cell membranes. This keeps them flexible to changes. They tend to get rancid quickly upon exposure to air, and are thus less stable than saturated fats.
They also help to reduce LDL levels, and may possibly increase HDL (good news!). Good sources include:
- Macadamia nuts
These fats are more stable than poly or monounsaturated fats, and can be semi-solid or even solid depending on temperature.
Most land-based animal protein contains a high proportion of saturated fat. Fish on the other hand, tends to have much more of the polyunsaturated variety. Good sources of saturated fat include:
- Coconut Oil - a very versatile oil which can be used for cooking, or to promote a state of ketosis when following a low carb diet.
- Grass Fed Butter- butter is one of the best fats for cooking, especially if it was made from grass fed cows. This is because producers usually enrich the products they make with Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is a polyunsaturated fat that promotes testosterone synthesis and body fat reduction  .
- Cheese (if you want to know the best cheeses for muscle growth, here's the top 3)
The Hormonal Impact of Getting Enough Fat
The fact that these hormones are synthesized from cholesterol makes it more important for us to get enough fat. This is because cholesterol synthesis slows down when we don't eat enough fat. This can have damaging effects on how we feel, how our body operates and our physique.
However, the body is capable of absorbing cholesterol from animal fat. This is why saturated fats are considered superior for increasing hormone levels.
The body is able to slow down the livers production of cholesterol when we consume food with a naturally high cholesterol content. This helps the body maintain equilibrium. In other words, eating a diet with higher levels of cholesterol doesn't mean you'll be clogging up your arteries!
For best results, try to get between 20-30% of your daily calories from a mix of good fats, and more if following a specific dietary style.
What do to now?
The one universal truth is to avoid trans fats at all costs. Trans fats were originally polyunsaturated. However, businesses have changed their chemical structure artificially to make them easier to preserve and cut costs. These are artificial fats, and do not deliver any positive benefits on health (so avoid them wherever possible!) .
Be sure to consume a bit of fat comprising each of these groups, to keep hormone synthesis turned up high. You'll also promote anti-inflammatory benefits, and help ensure the overall health of your body.
Why not add a couple of healthy fat options to your shopping list? You can start small by eating more seeds or coconut oil to start reaping the benefits.
Have you still got friends who avoid fat at all costs?
Then why not share this article to help them see fat isn't all bad! :)
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 LDL and HDL Cholesterol: "Bad" and "Good" Cholesterol - https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/ldl_hdl.htm
 Polyunsaturated fatty acids result in greater cholesterol lowering and less triacylglycerol elevation than do monounsaturated fatty acids in a dose-response comparison in a multiracial study group - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7625348
 Chapter 15 Fats and Satiety - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK53550/
 Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise - http://www.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/jappl.19188.8.131.52
 Effect of conjugated linoleic acid on testosterone levels in vitro and in vivo after an acute bout of resistance exercise - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22614148
 Efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid for reducing fat mass: a meta-analysis in humans - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17490954