Happy Monday! Last week I posted about reducing/eliminating sugar from your diet for overall better health. As I mentioned, carbohydrates and sugars are just one source of energy that your body utilizes. Today I want to discuss fat and why it is the ideal source for your body.
Let’s start with the punchline: When we consume a high fat/low sugar (carb) diet, our liver begins to produce ketones. Ketones are water-soluble fats that burn more efficiently than carbs. When your body is in fat-burning mode, i.e., ketosis, you also begin to burn stored fat. This, in turn, leads to weight loss and then weight maintenance.
Did you know that your brain is over 60% fat? Our brains actually need fat in order to function properly. Healthy levels of polyunsaturated fats, DHA and saturated fats increase brain function, aid in learning and memory, help balance hormones, and help to alleviate symptoms of bipolar disorder, depression and ADHD. Fats in the brain also battle a wide range of other neurological conditions, including Alzheimers.
Just like our brains need fat to function properly, so do our bodies! Not just for the immediate benefits such as weight loss, but for long term health. High fat diets can:
- Lower your chance of heart diseases.
- Reduce inflammation in the body, including skin conditions such as eczema and acne.
- Improve energy levels.
- Facilitate better sleep.
- Help proper kidney and liver function.
- Improve gut health, including digestion.
Many people confuse a high fat diet with Atkins (also low carb, but high protein). They are not the same. Furthermore, when consuming a high fat diet, it is not a free pass to eat any crap with a high fat/low carb count. Again, what we fuel our bodies with matters. If you put in garbage, you are going to feel like garbage, and after awhile, things aren’t going to run smoothly anymore.
Here are some healthy fat sources to add to your diet. If you are looking to get into ketosis, you want to start out with the following percentages:
- 70-80% daily calories from fat
- 20-25% daily calories from protein
- 5-10% daily calories from carbohydrates.
There are tons of apps on the web that help you keep track of these percentages. I recommend Carb Manager.
Here are sources of healthy fats to add daily to your diet. Please keep in mind that you need to keep your percentages in check! As I mentioned in my sugar post, your body will burn off carbohydrates first, and what it doesn’t burn immediately, it will store as fat. So if you are eating a high fat AND high carb diet and not running dozens of miles a day, you’re going to gain weight. I am encouraging you to switch over to another fuel source, while cutting back drastically on another:
- coconut oil
- coconut cream
- MCT oil
- avocado oil
- olive oil (for dressings, NOT for cooking – it breaks down in high heat levels)
- olives, black and green
- hemp seeds
- pumpkin seeds
- flax seeds
- chia seeds
- sunflower seeds
- macadamia nuts
- cacao butter
- cacao nibs
- cacao powder
- tofu (ALWAYS organic!!)
I usually start my day with a “bulletproof coffee.” I blend 8 oz. of coffee with 1 TBSP coconut oil or MCT oil. Sometimes I will use cacao butter in place, or in addition to the coconut oil. Many people use grass-fed butter, too (butter coffee). I simply prefer and feel better when eating vegan fat sources. I add seeds and olives to my salads, snack on pistachios or a tablespoon of nut butter, cook with avocado oil, and make fat bombs as a quick energy boost.
I began eating this way seven months ago and have not looked back since. As someone who struggled with eating disorders since I was 15, turning to a high fat diet took a huge mental overhaul. But it has been such a blessing! I lost a lot of stress weight I was carrying around after baby no. 7 and a divorce (25 pounds!). I have more energy during the day, and my cravings are non existent.
*I really feel that my readers are responsible, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I am not a doctor and never played one on TV.