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  • Writer's pictureHannah Norton

Fat is Not the Enemy!

In the 1970s and 1980s the new "Low Fat Diet" took the world by storm. Fat must be the thing that makes you fat, right? Then how come with the start of the low fat fad, the curve of obesity also started to rise until it's at an all-time high today - and we are still seeing "low fat" dietary pushes in some places.

Increasing Fat intake decreases cravings
Healthy Sources of Fats

Fat is not the enemy! Fat is actually a necessary nutrient (in small amounts) in the human body in order to optimize brain function, protect neurons, protect blood vessels and the heart, and create a sense of satisfaction and fullness after a meal. Fat is necessary in the development of your baby's brain as well!

The low fat craze may have eliminated the fat from many processed foods, but do you know what they replaced it with? Sugar and artificial fillers! And here is where the problem lies - low fat does not necessarily mean low calorie. And anyone who consumes excess amounts of calories (more than what their body will use in a day) will gain weight!

There are both healthy and unhealthy fat sources. Healthy options are unsaturated fats, fats that come from the earth and are not modified by chemical processes.

Plant fats (nuts, sees, avocado, olives, and oils that come from the same) are generally healthier than animal fats (high fat meats, butters, and creams). But a pat of real butter is a much better option than margarine.

Margarine comes from an oil and has chemicals added that changes the molecular structure to make it a solid. While the original oil may have been healthier, now that it is solidified, it acts identical to a saturated fat in your system causing increases in cholesterol and triglycerides and causing damage to your blood vessels and heart!

Fat is higher in calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein, so caution does need to be taken in not consuming too much. One ounce (about enough to fill a medicine cup) is sufficient at each meal.

How can you consume enough fat without consuming too much? Here are some ideas:

- choose lean sources of meat

- avoid saturated fats (solid at room temperature) and processed margarines

- choose lower fat dairy (this is one place where low fat is okay if they have not added sugars)

- choose plant sources for your fats (nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, etc.)

- look out for hidden sources of fat in boxed processed foods (cereal, crackers, cookies, frozen meals, can goods, chips, etc.)

Often, especially when pregnant and postpartum, our bodies will start to crave sweets. These urges for sweetened foods - donuts anyone? - are a disguised cry of our bodies for more fat intake! Our bodies know that sweet treats frequently are high in fat (not to mention tasty). Ironically, the cravings can be minimized by increasing your healthy fat intake.

As you focus on the healthy aspects of fat, your body is freed to stay full, to decrease brain fog, and the grow the healthy baby you long for.


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