My husband is a Czech native. When he first came to the U.S. in ’94 he was amazed at the fact that everything in our grocery stores was either low or non-fat (the garbage disposal freaked him out too, but we won’t get into that here). We’ve been afraid of fat for a lot of years now in our country and I think it’s high time we took a step back to ask one question:
Is our low-fat diet working?
Um, NO! How could anyone think that it is? We just keep getting fatter and sicker and more depressed as we continue eating our non-fat yogurts and chicken-without-the-skin.
I realize that every gram of fat carries with it more calories than a gram of protein or carbohydrate. But folks, it’s not just about calories in vs. calories out! It’s so much more complicated than that.
The truth is when you eat fats, you feel more satisfied. This makes it much less likely that you’ll be craving a muffin 10 minutes after the meal is over. Fat helps to keep you off the blood sugar rollercoaster. Eating fat (and protein) with your meals makes the meal stick with you longer, give you a steadier and longer-lasting burn of fuel (glucose) and keeps you from having glucose and insulin spikes and drops which contribute to overeating, anxiety, inflammation and diabetes, among other things.
But if protein helps too, why not just skip the higher-calorie fat and eat only lean protein and carbs? Well, because another reason you need fat is to keep your brain and nervous system healthy. Without a steady supply of good healthy fats your brain just can’t work right. Try to think of one part of your body that doesn’t depend on the brain for proper functioning… Even if your brain is working well, I guarantee you won’t be able to think of one! I firmly believe that one of the biggest contributors to the epidemic of depression we’re experiencing in this country is the lack of good fats in our diets.
Another big reason we need fat is for hormone production. Our fat-deficient diets deprive us of the materials we need to make testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, cortisol and vitamin D to name a few. Ramifications of deficiencies there are far-reaching and often devastating.
Now that you know that it’s important to eat fat, I want you to understand that it’s also important to eat the right kind of fat. That will be the topic of tomorrow’s post.