Fueling with Fats
We’ve all been there, its 9pm and you are staring in the kitchen trying to figure out what snack is going to fulfill that craving you have. You are a little annoyed because you don’t want to overindulge and feel like you’ve “fallen off the wagon”. What about the afternoon slump at work? Maybe you’re looking for something to eat before you play sports in high school. Or it’s the weekend and you need that boost of energy to climb that mountain, what’s there to eat!?
We live in a fast-paced world in which we all are trying to keep up with. It is more important than ever to fuel our bodies correctly, so we not only keep up, but thrive. It is a crazy, information-filled world we live in and we are bombarded with conflicting advice on what we should consume. Do you go for the carbs- the king of energy? Or protein for the strength and endurance? When all else fails, we get in line at the coffee drive-up to get that caffeine boost! The fact is, all food is energy! But there is an unsung hero that has been forgotten for many years, the macro-nutrient fats! In the past 30 years, our American culture has brought us to believe all fats are bad. The problem is that even though we cut down our consumption of fats, our heart disease, diabetes, and cancer rates have increased. While scientific research continues, there are several reasons why we need fat in our diets and its benefits.
The secret is to know what makes fats so beneficial and why we need them
Fats are the most efficient way to intake energy. They pack 9 calories per gram, whereas protein and carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram. Our bodies are able to use fats immediately for energy, or they are stored and will be used once our carbohydrate source has been depleted. This is so ideal when we are exercising, or actively on-the-go, because not only can consuming fats give you initial energy, but also long term. Since fats are water-insoluble, they are the most complex macronutrient to digest. This benefits us by experiencing more flavor with our taste buds, the feeling of being satisfied, and keep us feeling “full” longer. Fats are the best bang for your buck! Energy is not the only reason to eat fats. Here are my top 6 reasons to add fats back into your diet:
- Fats are a major structural component of the cell membrane; the cell couldn’t function without them
- Our myelin sheath, which surrounds nerve fibers, is structurally formed by fats so that “messages” can be sent faster.
- Fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, D, E, and K, need fats in our foods to help the small intestine adsorb them.
- Fats are part of the building blocks of hormones. Minimizing fat in our diets has shown to cause hormonal imbalances. You also need fats to produce the hormone, aka testosterone, to burn fat and build muscle.
- Fat provides insulation to regulate body temperature, cushions our vital organs protecting them from injury, and keeps our skin healthy.
- Eating fat with protein before bed helps slow digestion down. This will help avoid feeling starved in the middle of the night, or upon waking. This macronutrient combo also promotes your body to prolong protein release so that you are building muscle and burning fat while you sleep!
The myth has been busted- eating fat does not make you fat. It is when we consume too many calories than necessary that our body will store any type of macronutrient into body fat. It is all about moderation, consistency, and making intentional choices as to choosing which food to eat. Fat is not the enemy and can be the secret weapon to your health success!
- American Heart Association:https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats
-What Do Fats Do In the Body?: https://www.livescience.com/9109-fats-body.html
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Great article-thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge! Especially love the 6 reasons to add fat back into the diet and the facts of how essential fat is to our body’s functioning.