Fat is a truly remarkable compound. One that has been misunderstood for years, thanks to the aggressive yet inappropriate push in our culture to move away from its consumption. Over a series of articles, I plan on helping you understand what it is, why you need it, and how to get it… in a healthy way.
We could write volumes on what fat is, and that would be really cool to get you through all of that, though by the time we did, we would all be glossy eyes, and likely would have forgotten what we started with. But, it is important to get to a certain level of understanding. First off, you will see the term fat, oil, or lipid used when referencing fat. Therefore, when I tell you that your cells are surrounded by a phospho-lipid-bi-layer, what I am saying, is that you have a dual layer of fat, surrounding your cells, with phosphates mixed in. This layer is actually true of almost all living things.
Reason – impermeable to water soluble molecules. So fat is the reason you don’t wash away in the shower. Kind of cool. For this reason, fat is also a highly needed molecule in the body. You are using grams of fat on a regular basis to build and replace tissues, to make hormones and other specific compounds. Therefore, pushing the “low fat” hypothesis, is a bad idea before we event get started; and, all science is supporting this statement.
Dividing up the fats. There are different ways to look at fat, from unsaturated to saturated, from omega classification (omega 3, 6, 9), and from their specific named molecules in the body such as cholesterol. These fats crossover in distinction, so we’ll get a little deeper into that understanding as well. For now, lets move deeper into the why, and then the how. And we’ll stop at what is really a cursory understanding for now. And we can take it deeper as we go.
We touched on the why already, simply understanding what you are building on a daily basis should give you cause to stop and consider how important fat is. But lets look at it from a creation standpoint. Consider… why would a fat molecule have 9 calories per gram, when a protein or carbohydrate molecule is at only 4 calories per gram. With that increased level of potential energy, it sure seems like a great molecule to burn for energy.
On adventure races where I am left to fuel for 10-30 hours straight, carrying most if not all of that fuel for the entire time. Hypothetically, if I needed 200 calories per hour, and was out for 30 hours, that would be 6000 calories. If I carried it all in carbohydrate, we are looking at 1,500 grams that i need to carry to accomplish that. 3 1/4 lbs of food. If I chose to use nothing but fat, I am at only 1 3/4 lbs of food. My point, fat is an efficient source of energy from the perspective of mass. It is also an efficient source of energy, if you haven’t screwed up your hormones to badly… which is why you hear the leptin discussion so often out of us. More on that in a future part of the series.
Lastly for today, the how to get it. Nuts and seeds, lean meats that are organic and grass fed, free range, wild caught, etc. More in their natural state basically. Though organic distinction is not always available, but if you are able to get it, you should with meats first. Nuts not so much. But this is where you should be pushing for fat. Coconut oil (saturated, don’t worry), almonds and other tree nuts. Avocados, and olives. You want to push for more Omega 3, which comes from grass fed beef and dairy in the form of ALA, and in the more coveted forms of EPA and DHA in fish. Cold water fish are best.
For now, this is where we stop. Review and be sure you understand this. And we’ll drive forward from here! All for health! Be well and Be blessed! – Dr. E
LEARN ABOUT THIS AND MORE AT OUR NEXT RECIPE NIGHT – MAY 8th – THURSDAY NIGHT AT 7:00PM – Eat and Learn, $12 for Patients, $10 for Guests, or have a patient bring a guest for $20 total (save $2).