We get people who come into our stores all the time looking for a meal and when we ask them what they’re looking for often we’ll hear, “something low fat.” This is not uncommon. All the marketing messages we’ve been fed since the 1980’s tell us "FAT IS BAD." If you want to see how this whole “Low-Fat, Fat-Free” craze started, watch this video:
The misguided idea that all calories are the same when we eat them is why “fat” has been demonized and blamed for making us fat. It's why we believe in eating fat makes you fat. If fat has 9 calories per gram versus 4 calories per gram for carbs or protein, then the logic goes, if you eat less fat you will eat fewer calories and you'll lose weight. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work out that way for lots of reasons.
Not all calories are the same
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, one of the premiere authorities on Fat these days, the idea that all calories are the same in terms of the effects on your weight and metabolism is one of the most persistent myths in the medical community today. Why? In a laboratory when you burn them in a vacuum, all calories are the same. But they are not the same when you eat them because of how they affect your hormones, your brain chemistry, your immune system, and even your gut flora or your microbiome.
You see, our metabolism is not a math problem. It's not about balancing energy or calories in vs. calories out. Metabolism is a hormone problem, a neurotransmitter problem, an immune problem, and a gut flora problem. The quality of the food that you eat matters so much more than the quantity. If food were only about calories, it wouldn't matter what specific foods you eat as long as you kept below a certain number of calories.
Think about it. If you have 1,800 calories of soda or 1,800 calories of broccoli, is that the same when you eat them? Any fifth grader would say "No, that's a duh," but calories don't matter in the way we think they do. Why? Because food is information. It's not just a source of energy or calories. It contains instructions that affect every biological function of your body. It's the stuff that controls everything.
Food affects the expression of your genes. It influences your hormones, your brain chemistry, your immune system, your gut flora, and your metabolism at every level, and it works in real time with every single bite, and more and more scientists are confirming the importance of the information in fat as it relates to your health. After reviewing most of the research on fat, the conclusions are really clear. Higher fat, low carb diets work better than low fat, high carb diets.
The science behind it
In fact, a review of 53 randomized control trials lasting a year or more, comparing high fat to low fat diets head to head, the trials found that the high fat diets outperformed the low-fat diets every single time. Diets higher in good fat can help reverse chronic disease, can make your brain work better and faster, helps your metabolism speed up, and it even helps your skin glow and help you lose weight.
What is Good Fat?
This is the other part of the equation that people often get confused on when it comes to fat. Some fat is bad and knowing the difference between what types are and aren’t good for you is what we find helps so many people who don’t know any better. So here is a quick break down for you:
GOOD FATS VS. BAD FATS
GOOD | Grass-fed, organic, sustainably raised lamb, beef, bison, venison; organic chicken, duck and turkey; omega 3 pasture-raised eggs, organic, free-range, pasture-raised lard.
BAD | Feedlot animal meats; non-organic poultry.
FISH & SEAFOOD
GOOD | Wild fatty fish: sardines, mackerel, herring, black cod, and wild salmon. Shellfish, including clams, oysters, mussels, shrimp, scallops, and crab; calamari or octopus.
BAD | Lobster, tuna, catfish, king mackerel, Chilean sea bass, swordfish.
DAIRY & DAIRY SUBSTITUTES
GOOD | Grass-fed butter, ghee, unsweetened nut and seed milks (almond, cashew, hemp, hazelnut).
BAD | Milk, yogurt, cheese, cream, regular butter, soy milk.
NUTS & SEEDS
GOOD | Almonds, macadamia, walnuts, pecans, and Brazil nuts. Hemp, chia, pumpkin, sesame, flax. Nuts and seed butters (without added sugars or bad oils).
BAD | Peanuts.
GOOD | Coconut butter; organic, virgin, cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil; organic, extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil; MCT oil; organic flax seed oil; organic, expeller-pressed refined avocado oil; walnut, pumpkin seed, pistachio and hemp oils.
BAD | Safflower, soybean, sunflower, corn, and cottonseed oils; hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils; margarine and shortening.
WHOLE FOOD FATS
GOOD| Avocado, olives, cacao butter, dark chocolate.