Feeling confused about fats? Most people are. There’s lots of controversy (and misinformation) about this topic. So let’s start with what we can all agree on…
Fats are not inherently bad. We need fat as an essential building block for our cells, our hormones, and our brain. But the types of fats we eat can determine the health of all those things. Most everyone agrees that these types of fats are ‘good’:
- Monounsaturated fats (like in olive oil and avocados)
- Omega-3 fats (like in fish, walnuts, and flax)
Here’s where people start to disagree.
The US Dietary Guidelines say that vegetable oils are also ‘good.’ While that’s true when they’re in their natural state (like in sunflower seeds), it’s not necessarily true once they’re processed (like refined canola oil or soybean oil).
The US guidelines also recommend a limit on saturated fats. While there’s some evidence that saturated fats contribute to heart disease, that’s an oversimplification. Some saturated fats (like medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil) have beneficial effects on heart health. Other saturated fats are necessary for gut barrier function (like short-chain fatty acids in butter).
Taking all of these issues into account, here’s what I recommend when it comes to fats:
- Eat fatty fish as much as 3 times a week for omega-3 fats
- Eat nuts and seeds every day (especially flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts)
- Eat avocados
- Eat organic and grass-fed beef
- Eat organic and grass-fed dairy (including butter)
- Eat olive oil
- Eat coconut oil
- Minimize refined vegetable oils
These recommendations keep us close to nature and eating fats in their most naturally occurring forms. They provide a variety of monounsaturated, saturated, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Plus, fats make our food taste delicious, keep us feeling full, and help us maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
Need help sorting out which healthy fats you should be eating and which you should be avoiding? Let’s talk about it. Click over to my website to book a Let’s Get Acquainted session.