There was a low-fat movement that swept across North America in the previous decade, which was built on false information, disproven claims and a great deal of money going towards biased outcomes.
And while most people have come out on the other side, either realizing that the “low-fat,” “no-fat,” days are not the ones we should be striving for, there is still enough misinformation regarding fat intake in the diet that some people are poorly educated on the topic and as such, still afraid to add a healthy amount of fat to their diet.
But there are lots of benefits to be had from increasing your intake of healthy fat, many of which you may not even have realized.
1. Aids in Weight Loss
Eating a diet that is rich in fats improves satiety levels. This means, that foods that have a fat content will leave you feeling fuller for longer than those which are lower fat and as such you will eat less. The body metabolizes fat slower than it does carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates, and so it has an energy source to burn through for longer, and you don’t end up feeling hungry. At the same time, these healthy fats nourish and fuel your brain. This means you do not experience the dreaded brain fog, or have difficulty concentrating, and you feel more alert. This promotes higher energy levels, which also encourages better weight management.
2. Improves Digestion
The lubricating, oily quality of fat is a huge benefit to digestive health. The digestive tract is made up of a lining of mucus which plays a role in helping move food through the tract to be absorbed and eliminated as necessary. At the root of many digestive problems is the poor functionality of the mucus, and fat in the diet can help compensate for this. Furthermore, fat is very nourishing for the digestive tract, and rich in nutrients which are important for healing. Many people who regularly experience digestive symptoms such as nausea and bloating, find the symptoms can be alleviated by increased fat intake.
3. Reduces Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Consuming healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and the Omega fats helps increase the HDL content of the body. HDL is the good kind of fat that we want circulating, which helps lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. When you consume sources of these fats, such as avocado, coconut oil, healthy nuts, ground flaxseed and Omega rich fish, you are promoting good heart health and improved overall circulation.
These are just three of the many benefits of increasing your fat intake, others which include better skin and nails, reduced inflammation and improved overall brain health, as is especially critical for the aging population. As you can see from the research, no longer is fat to be feared, and instead, needs to be embraced and considered an essential component of a healthy, balanced diet.
By: Laura Peill, RHN, BScH – Viand Nutrition