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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fat: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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This post is just going to summarize the different kinds of fat there are and the general affect they have on your body. For a more in depth look at fats visit Robb Wolf's blog, read his book, go to Mark's Daily Apple, or look at information from any other Paleo expert on fats. I can tell you now, I am not a Paleo expert so if I get any of this information wrong, I'm sorry in advanced.

The general assumption in this day and age is that fat makes you fat. More specifically, saturated fat makes you fat. I'm debunking this myth here and now. But before I get into that, I'll explain more about the other fats.

Monounsaturated Fat:

Monounsaturated fats are what they're prefix suggests: single bonded molecules. Robb Wolf will tell you that the monounsaturated fat we are concerned with is only one type of it. Oleic acid.  The sources of monounsaturated fats are pretty benign. They're liquid at room temperature and solid when chilled. Examples of monounsaturated fat are avocados, nuts, olive, and some grass-fed meat. This is a very important part of the Paleo diet. It's what makes you look good. You know, clear skin, shiny hair, nice nails, etc.

Polyunsaturated Fat:

As the name suggests, polyunsaturated fats are multiple bonded molecules. There are two types of polyunsaturated fat a) omega-3s and b) omega-6s. The problem with today's culture is that we have way too much omega-6 in our diets. Ancestral ratios of omega-3 to omega-6 were 1:1 or 1:1.5. Modern ratios are typically 1:10. It is essential, but too much of it causes inflammation in the body. Balance is key here. Where are we getting the excessive omega-6s? Corn, safflower, sunflower, and other vegetable/processed oils. The one thing that most Paleo experts stress a bunch is too keep your omega-3s and omega-6s balanced.

But what are sources of omega-3s, you ask? Grass-fed meat is a big source and so is wild caught fish. Salmon is an awesome way to get omega-3s along with any kind of tuna. Flax seed and chia seeds are two of the best plant-based sources but animal sources are better because they are a more direct form of omega-3.

Saturated Fat:

Take a deep breath, then repeat after me: saturated fat is good. It's what your brain needs to function. Without it, your body shuts down. Even our primal ancestors knew this and they ate lots of saturated fat. Think lard, tallow, beef, whole or 2% milk, cream, and the drippings on that roast in the oven. Despite what your doctor may tell you, there has been no study to prove that saturated fat causes heart disease. Saturated fat gives you stronger bones, a sharper mind, it's good for your liver, gives you a good immune system, and stronger nerve signaling. Is that enough to convince you yet? One last fact, those studies that say saturated fat causes cancers? They've never actually been done.

Trans Fat:

Unless you're really out of the health loop, you should know that trans fat is bad. Crisco, partially hydrogenated oils, hydrogenated oils. Bad, bad, bad. Hydrogenated oils are highly processed and studies have shown that these fats are the ones that cause cancer.

Inquiry of the Day:

Will you consider eating more saturated fat?

I watched Fathead a few years ago and ever since I've been trying to increase the amount of saturated fat in my diet. I highly encourage you to watch the movie, because it's funny but also very informative.

*Sources: The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf, 7 Reasons to Eat More Saturated Fat from The Blog of Tim Ferriss, & the American Heat Association website


  1. I get a lot of saturated fat in the form of coconut! I didn't know about the movie Fathead, so I'll have to check it out!

    1. So do I. I put coconut in/on almost everything I eat. Thanks for commenting and have a great week! :D


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