Again, what was once conventional nutritional wisdom has been proven not so wise. Fat is not your enemy—well, not all of it.
Like any other food ingredient, the important thing is the type and form that it assumes, not the existence of fat itself that’s a health concern. The new wisdom—which seems much more common sensical—is that naturally-occurring fats in fruits and vegetables are good for your body; the human-made, processed kind is not.
We need fats of different kinds—it’s not reasonable to paint a broad fat brush. Balance is key. Here are five foods that contain more fat than a doughnut but won’t give you a heart attack—quite the opposite.
Considered a superfood by many; its nutritional content is tough to beat. Half an avocado, containing 15 grams of fat—monounsaturated fat—improves cholesterol levels. The essential fatty acids in this alligator fruit are used by all cells in your body to enable nutrient absorption and improve metabolism.
North American culture is discovering the many facets of the coconut; we see more coconut products on the grocery store shelves all the time. One ounce of unsweetened dried coconut has 18 grams of saturated fat—a MUCH better choice than, say, lard. Sprinkling a little on cereal or yogurt is a double-whammy for the carb-fat/protein-fat one-two combination. Try coconut oil instead of other less nutritious oils (vegetable shortening especially)—it is very versatile and tastes SO good.
The incredible egg is packed with good stuff, including a combination of good fats. Three eggs will give you 14 grams’ worth in addition to the 18 grams of protein; 210 calories; vitamins A, B12, D, E, and folate; selenium, lutein, and choline; and iron.
A dozen olives provide you with 15 grams of primarily monounsaturated fats PLUS dozens of nutrients including extraordinary antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Olive oil is a vital part of the Mediterranean diet which many have raised as the ideal; its followers have a much lower risk of heart disease and hypertension than those eating from a typical North American menu.
5. Peanut Butter
Speaking of monounsaturated fat, not only do 2 tablespoons of peanut butter include 8 grams of it, but there’s another 4 grams of polyunsaturated fat packed in there which reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It’s the saturated fats you need to be most mindful of.
Fats have been demonized but what’s more disturbing and dangerous is high carbohydrate consumption which raises insulin production in the short term and keeps it high if intake is maintained—often the precursor to diabetes. Diabetes leads to dementia with twice the risk for those with the disease. David Perlmutter, MD discusses in his book Grain Brain the shift in North America to a carbohydrate-rich diet:
“In 1992, we were told [by the U.S. Department of Agriculture], ‘You’ve got to go low-fat, no-fat—that’s what’s best for your heart’. Within 10 years, the rate of diabetes in America went up threefold, and diabetes doubles your Alzheimer’s risk… The brain thrives on a fat-rich, low-carbohydrate diet, which unfortunately is relatively uncommon in human populations today.”
So don’t be afraid and choose your fats wisely; may true wisdom prevail.