The many benefits of fat

Written by Jo

Time To Read: 5 minutes

December 1, 2015

Let’s clear up the myth that fat is bad for you. Humans need fat to be healthy – it is actually essential for our bodies. Here are some facts to ponder on if you are questioning whether you will be using butter over margarine (which by the way is a concoction of chemicals):

  1. Every membrane of every cell and every organelle inside of cells are made of fats.
  2. Fat provides the structure to cell components and each cell in our body is comprised of 50% saturated fatty acids.
  3. Healthy bile release requires fat – the gallbladder stores bile, which digests fat. The presence of fats in a meal signals the gallbladder to release bile into the digestive tract and the bile emulsifies the fat so we can absorb it.
  4. Gall bladder health requires fat – we are seeing an increasing number of gallbladder removals from people who have consumed low fat or poor diets. After a period of time spent on a low fat diet, this can create serious gallbladder congestions due to the thick sticky bile sitting in the gallbladder (as it hasn’t been signalled to be released by fats). As a result this leads to gallstones and gallbladder issues.
  5. Fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) require lots of fat for absorption.
  6. Cholesterol balance requires plenty of fat. This is one area of confusion. The role of cholesterol in our body is often misunderstood thanks to the propaganda by industries that prioritise profits over the health of their consumers. As demonstrated by the eating habits of traditional cultures from across the globe, good health relies on an adequate intake of cholesterol from animal fats. As a healing agent in the body, levels of cholesterol rise during periods of stress or when inflammation is present. Providing cholesterol through good quality fats, such as pastured egg yolks and grass fed butter, allows the body to use cholesterol to help address the inflammation.
  7. Blood sugar balance requires fat. Whenever you eat a source of carbohydrates, it should be accompanied with a quality source of fat. Fat slows the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream and prevents sugar highs and crashes.
  8. Saturated fats enhance our immune system and help to protect us from infections. Saturated fats have antimicrobial properties, and therefore protect us from infection, especially in the digestive tract.
  9. Protein digestion and utilisation requires fat, and particularly vitamin A to help metabolise the protein. Those that are consistently on a low fat diet are often vitamin A deficient.
  10. Hormone balance requires fat. We must consume sources of cholesterol-rich saturated fats to provide the building blocks for sex hormones, including testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.
  11. Detox requires fat. By stimulating bile release, good sources of saturated fats like butter encourage detox, balanced hormones and weight loss.
  12. Weight loss and weight management requires fat. Fat signals satiation because it digests slowly, providing long-burning energy.
  13. Fat makes food taste good. Dairy, eggs, fatty meats and butter are nature’s way of telling us that fat is good for us!
  14. Breast milk contains 54% saturated fat. Did nature make a mistake? No, it didn’t. Saturated fats are vital for the health of infants.
  15. Your brain is comprised of 60% fat (dry weight).
  16. And finally, eating saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease.

From this, you may gather that a low fat diet will result in quite a few side effects. These effects may include hair loss, dry skin, deficiencies in vitamins A, D, E and K, cognitive decline, irritability and memory loss. If you are still particularly concerned that an increase in saturated fat intake along with dietary cholesterol will result in heart disease – recent studies have proven there is absolutely no link between these factors. A meta-analysis was published in 2013, collating 21 studies including a total of almost 350,000 participants who were monitored for 14 years. The meta-analysis concluded that there is no relationship between the diagnosis of heart disease and stroke and the dietary consumption of saturated fat. You can find this study here:

How much fat is enough?

How much fat to eat each day is completely up to the individual as each person is completely different to the next.

Over the course of the day if we are eating real foods from scratch, an example could be roughly:

  • 2 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp coconut oil (used in cooking throughout the day, bullet proof coffee etc)
  • 1 Tbsp Changing Habits Inca Inchi Oil
  • 2-3 eggs
  • ½ – 1 avocado
  • 1 cup full fat quality milk, coconut or dairy (milk, yoghurt, kefir etc)
  • 1 serving fatty cut of fish or meat
  • A handful or two of nuts or seeds or nut butter

As you can see, the fats in this example are primarily saturated fats from the coconut oil, dairy, eggs, and meat. The avocado, nuts and seeds provides healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Refined vegetable oils should be completely avoided, because of their high ratio of omega 6 fatty acids and that fact that they are predominantly genetically modified, highly processed and therefore inflammatory. The ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids should be equal; however the Western diet results in consuming far too many omega 6, and not enough omega 3. Nuts and seeds (with the exception of Inca Inchi Oil) should be consumed only in small amounts to prevent an imbalance of omega-6 to omega-3. Inca Inchi Oil has the perfect Omega 3-6-9 ratio so be sure to include this in your diet; it’s especially great for those who are vegan or vegetarian or for those who cannot get enough fish or seafood into their diet. You can read more about this amazing oil here:

Sheridan’s favourite thing to say is, ‘if fat made us fat, then I would seriously be obese’. So we say, eat your fats and eat them with a smile!

Happy Changing Habits,

Jordan Pie and Sheridan Williamson,
Changing Habits Nutritionists

November 2015

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