Fat is not the Enemy

To start, eating an adequate supply of healthy dietary fats is vitally important to your overall health. Fats are one of the main components in all of the cell membranes throughout your entire body. If you eat enough healthy natural fats, your cellular processes will proceed normally. On the other hand, if you eat man-made, heavily processed, chemically altered fats (damaged fats) that are found in most processed foods, your cellular function will be impaired as these damaged fats become part of your cell membranes, the body will have to work harder to operate correctly, and degenerative diseases can develop. In addition, healthy dietary fats are essential for optimal hormone production and balance within the body and are therefore essential for the muscle building and fat burning processes. Did you know that eating a diet that is too low in fat will reduce your testosterone levels? You know what the results of that are: less muscle and more fat on your frame. Females, don’t be afraid…your testosterone is not going to go through the roof by eating more fat. It helps to keep everything in balance for both men and women, as long as you eat the right fats (more on the right fats in a minute). Other important functions that dietary fats play in a healthy body are aiding vitamin and mineral utilization, enzyme regulation, energy, etc.



I cringe every time I hear so called "health experts" recommend restriction of dietary fat, claiming that a low-fat diet is the key to good health, weight loss, and prevention of degenerative diseases. Restriction of any one macronutrient (protein, carbs, or fat) in your diet works against what your body needs and can only lead to problems. All three basic macronutrients serve important functions for a lean, healthy, and disease-free body. As Dr. Mary Enig, Ph.D, and one of the leading fats and lipids researchers in the world notes in several of her books and articles, there is very little true scientific evidence supporting the assertion that a high fat diet is bad for us. For example, if these so called "health experts" that admonish fat are correct, and a low-fat diet is the solution to good health, then why did traditional Pacific Islanders who typically obtained 2/3 to 3/4 of their total daily calories from fat (mostly from coconut fat), remain virtually free from heart disease, obesity, and other modern degenerative diseases (that is, until Western dietary influences invaded)? Also, why did traditional Eskimo populations, consuming up to 75% of their total caloric intake from fat (mostly from whale blubber, seal fat, organ meats, and cold water fish), display superior health and longevity without heart disease or obesity? Why did members of the Masai tribe in Africa remain free from degenerative diseases and maintain low body fat percentages on diets consisting of large quantities of raw whole milk, blood, and meat? What about the Samburu tribe of Africa, which eats an average of 5 times the quantity of dietary fat (mostly from raw whole milk and meat) as overweight, disease-ridden Indian, yet Samburu members are lean, healthy, and free of degenerative diseases? What about traditional Mediterranean diets, which are known to be very high in fat (sometimes up to 70% fat), and are also well known to be very healthy?

These examples of high fat diets and the associated excellent health of traditional populations around the world go on and on, yet it seems that many doctors, nutritionists, and government agencies still ignore these facts and continue to promote a diet that restricts fat intake. It’s not that their intentions are bad, it’s just that everyone has been brainwashed by poor science over the years, when in fact, there really is no hard evidence that natural unprocessed fats are bad for us.

Well, the problem that has led to this misconception is that the good fats (the natural, unprocessed, health promoting fats) have gotten mistakenly lumped together in nutritional advice with the deadly processed fats and oils that make up a large percentage of almost all processed food that is sold at your local grocery store, restaurant, deli, fast food joint, etc. These deadly processed fats are literally everywhere and almost impossible to avoid unless you know what to look for and make smart choices in what you feed your body with. Take note that I’m not recommending following a super high fat diet. Active individuals that exercise on a regular basis certainly also need adequate supplies of healthy carbohydrates for energy and muscle glycogen replenishment, as well as good sources of protein for muscle repair. The above examples of the high fat diets of traditional populations and their corresponding excellent health were simply to prove the point that you don’t need to be afraid of dietary fats as long as you make healthy natural choices and stay within your daily caloric range to maintain or lose weight (depending on your goals). Following is a list of some of the healthiest fatty foods (some will surprise you!) as well as some of the deadliest fatty foods to try to avoid at all costs:

The Healthy Fatty Food Choices:

1-Coconut fat (and other tropical oils):

Coconut fat is approximately 92% saturated fat, yet surprisingly to most people, is considered a very healthy natural fat. The health benefits of coconut fat lie in its composition of approximately 65% medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Specifically, about 50% of coconut fat is a MCT called lauric acid, which has very potent anti-microbial properties helping to enhance the immune system. Also, MCTs are more easily utilized for immediate energy instead of being stored as body fat. Coconut oil is also an excellent cooking oil for stir-frying, baking, etc. since saturated fats are much more stable and do not oxidize like polyunsaturated oils when exposed to heat and light, which creates damaging free radicals. The best sources of healthy coconut fat are organic coconut milk, virgin coconut oil, or fresh coconut. Palm oil (non-hydrogenated) is another healthy tropical oil that is highly saturated. Keep in mind that most mainstream health and fitness professionals have been brainwashed to believe that tropical oils are unhealthy. So you will see other health professionals all over the place writing statements such as “avoid saturated fats at all costs” and similar. Come on now. Think about it. A large portion of our natural food supply on this planet is composed of saturated fats, substances that we humans are meant to eat and thrive on. It is only when we humans take natural food and put it through all kinds of chemical and physical processing (that it was never meant to undergo naturally), that it becomes unhealthy. If you’re interested in a detailed article regarding why saturated fats can actually be good for you, and how you’ve been brainwashed with decades worth of propaganda against saturated fats, here is one of the best I’ve found written by Dr. Mary Enig, PhD.

2-Extra virgin olive oil:

Olive oil is approximately 71% monounsaturated, 16% saturated, and 13% polyunsaturated. Choose “extra virgin” olive oil, which comes from the first pressing of the olives and has higher quantities of antioxidants. Unlike most other oils on supermarket shelves, extra virgin olive oil is not extracted with the use of harmful industrial solvents and is one of your healthiest choices for liquid oils. Try making your own salad dressing by mixing a small amount of olive oil with vinegar. This is healthier than most store bought salad dressings, which are usually made with highly processed and refined (chemically damaged) soybean oil extracted with industrial solvents.

3-Dark, bittersweet chocolate (>70% cocoa content):

The cocoa bean is a very concentrated source of antioxidants and responsible for part of the health benefit of dark chocolate. The fat portion of the cocoa bean (cocoa butter) is a healthy natural fat, composed of approximately 59% saturated fat (mostly healthy stearic acid), 38% monounsaturated fat, and 3% polyunsaturated fat. I’ll limit the description of healthy chocolate to ONLY dark bittersweet chocolate with >70% cocoa content. Most milk chocolates are only about 30% cocoa, and even most dark chocolates are only about 50% cocoa, leaving the remainder of those products composed of high amounts of sugar, milk fat, corn sweeteners, etc. Look for a quality dark chocolate that lists its cocoa content between 70%-80%. A dark chocolate with cocoa content in this range will contain mostly cocoa and very little sugar, but still have a mildly sweet taste with a smooth and creamy texture. Keep in mind that although dark chocolate can be a healthy treat, it is still calorie dense, so keeping it to just a square or two is a good idea.