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Health & Food

Fat is My Friend

You may have read my Tweet earlier in the week, but I’ll repeat it here…..I ACCEPTED A JOB WITH A LOCAL GROCERY STORE!!! Could I be any more excited?? No! This is my dream job, literally, as I will be doing store tours, food demos, private consults, and so much more. The only “bad” thing is that I have to do 8 weeks of training, starting July 6th, which will require that I travel and stay mainly in Pittsburgh. I know this might sound pathetic to you, but I have never spent so many days away from Nick, and I’m sort of anxious about this. I’m such an independent, and I don’t need Nick to make me happy or satisfied, but it’s going to be strange. We don’t even see each other a whole lot on a typical day, only at night, but that’s when I will really miss him. Oh well, distance/absence makes the heart grow founder, right?! I’ll have to find some really great books to keep my occupied. YEAH NEW JOB!!!

On Tuesday I posted 5 “Urban Food Legends”. Today I want to talk about another food legend that began about 20 years ago; “Fat free and low fat is best!”.

I will take you back to a post I wrote in October of last year:

New Research Regarding Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, like Omega-3 (found in salmon and other fatty fish), but they are not often discussed because most Americans have no trouble getting them. Why? They are found in vegetable oils (canola, soybean, safflower, peanut), which Americans have no trouble getting in their diets (think fries, dressings, chips, etc.). When I was in school to become an RD (about 5 years ago) we were sort of taught to look down on Omega-6’s. They are important in the diet because our body can’t make them. They do play essential roles in our body, but too many Omega-6s are linked to pro-inflammatory processes in the body, and have been linked to heart disease and other inflammation diseases.

New studies, however, have been showing an association with Omega-6 and LOWER cardiovascular disease risk, and improved blood lipids. Five studies were cited, with specific results that associated higher percentages of Omega-6s to lower CVD risk, improved total-HDL cholesterol ratio (good cholesterol), and a reduction in LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol).

New recommendations: The American Dietetic Association and the Dietitians of Canada are now recommending that 5%-10% of your diet should be Omega-6s and .6% to 1.2% should be Omega-3s (11-22 grams Omega-6 and 1.3-2.7 grams Omega-3, on a 2000 calorie diet). Keep in mind, the lower percentage is for those who eat less calories, while the higher percentage is for those who eat more.

SOURCE: Today’s Dietitian Magazine

In another previous post I talked about my opinion of fat free vs. reduced fat peanut butter. Check it out here.

She-Fit did a post about “The Dangers of a Low Fat Diet”, which I thought was fantastic. Bring on the fat!

My Overall Opinion of FAT

For about two years of my life I hated fat. I avoided it at all costs. I would pour the oil off of my almond butter, eat plain bread without any butter or margarine, only buy fat free ice cream, fat free yogurt, and fat free cheese. When I went through this period of anorexia, I gave up all forms of fat, including my beloved peanut butter. At this point in my life I had no idea why fat was so important. So what happened to me physically, and mentally? I couldn’t think straight,I was always in a bad mood, I lost some hair (which in some parts of my head has still not grown back, and I’m not holding my breath), and I know it had an effect on my memory. This is because fat plays essential roles in growth, brain development, nutrient absorption, and so much more. Back in 1990 our government decided to take a stand against fat, but their initial thought was to start eliminating it from foods like dairy products, meat, and poultry. This was a good idea because these are all sources of “bad” saturated and trans fat (although saturated fat is necessary in the diet. The DV is about 20 grams per day). While their intentions were good, the food companies took it about 100 steps too far. They started taking fat out of cakes, ice cream, crackers, and cookies. America started to become afraid of fat, and instead turned to fat’s high carbohydrate/sugar and sodium counterparts. “It’s fat free, which means I can eat as much as I want and not get fat!” Yeah, so we thought. As it turns out we did get fatter and even more unhealthy (our triglycerides went up, our good cholesterol/HDL went down, and our brains stopped functioning quite as nicely). Why? FAT IS GOOD! Thankfully now I am in love with fat and I have discovered how much fat loves me too!

Here are my favorite sources of fat:

Peanut butter
(My addiction is Smart Balance crunchy peanut butter. They add extra Omega-3 fats to theirs!)

Almond Butter

Smart Balance Margarine
(With omega-3 added, in the form of flaxseed)

Olive Oil

Canola Oil
(Smart Balance adds extra Omega-3 to their canola oil too)

Flaxseeds

Walnuts

Pistachio

How many tsp. of oil should you consume each day? Find out by going to the MyPramid Website.

QUESTION: What’s your favorite source of FAT?!

Coming Up

Monday I will post a video blog about three different types of yogurt (all of which have fat!) Soy, regular yogurt, and Greek yogurt. I don’t do fat free yogurts, ever (or sugar free for that matter.). Tomorrow I will be posting some information about AGEs. Don’t know what those are? Find out tomorrow!!

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