Fat: The Other Fuel

In my last post, I gave a basic overview of sugar- particularly glucose and fructose. In this post we’ll be taking a closer look at fat and it’s role in our diets.

One of the most important dietary recommendations I make is that people stop using the most common oils available and replace them with oils and saturated fats that are considered taboo by many in the medical establishment. So it appears I have some ‘splainin to do. The demonization of saturated fat can be traced back to the 1950’s and a man named Ancel Keys. He released a study that was the basis for the diet-heart hypothesis which demonized animal fat as the reason for atherosclerosis and heart disease. The diet-heart hypothesis and Keys’ work has been the basis of institutional dietary recommendations since the 1970’s. It ushered in the low and no-fat dietary recommendations. Though correlation doesn’t equal causation, this is right around the time that the collective health in the country started going downhill at a faster rate. Recently, the growing number of academics questioning the diet heart hypothesis has started to show up in the mainstream media. (I highly recommend this Men’s Health article. It’s lengthy but it covers it all).

Since fat was one of our two main sources of fuel and low-fat was the recommended for the diet, carbohydrates were pushed as the fuel source. But not just any carbohydrates, but grains,  which can be inflammatory when in a processed state- especially wheat. (I will deal with this subject in a separate post) The fat that was recommended to be included in the diet was high omega 6 polyunsaturated fat(PUFA). This includes vegetable oil, soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, margarine and shortening. These fats are highly inflammatory because of their drastic omega 6/3 balance. These fats are not found in nature and are created through a very nasty process involving hexane. Regardless of the benign sounding names, no vegetables are involved in the processing. These oils put you in an inflammatory state and make your body more susceptible to disease and obesity.

So now that we’re going to throw out all those inflammatory oils and fats, what are we going to replace it with? Well we’re going to replace it with the fat that every healthy traditional society on this planet uses- saturated fat. Coconut oil, butter and animal fats. We’ll also put olive oil in the good fat category. Though the fats we mentioned aren’t inherently unhealthy, they are high in calories so be mindful. Get enough fat in your diet to be healthy but no need to eat a stick of butter at a sitting.

Fat and carbohydrates are both energy sources the body can use to function- although they are better at fueling different types of activities. Neither one are bad and both are healthy in a balanced diet as long as energy balance is maintained- ie, you’re not overeating.

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About dmartin1977

NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist and a nutrition geek with an interest in fat loss and maintenance.
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2 Responses to Fat: The Other Fuel

  1. rmnvb1975 says:

    Reblogged this on The Naked Cavewoman and commented:
    A great blog on why fat (the right kind) is good for you!

  2. Pingback: Where We Are and Where We’re Going | a beautiful stasis

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