Welcome back, Fat! I’m so happy to see you again…
My days were incomplete without you. Each morning now I look forward to drinking a bulletproof coffee with butter from grass-fed cows, or blending up my green tea with nourishing coconut oil. I can confidently snack on some good ol’ fashioned potato chips because they are made by Jackson’s Honest— a company who slow-cooks their chips in coconut oil (the queen of saturated fats). I stayed away from fats for so long and, now that I’m embracing them again, my mind and body are shouting “Thank you!”. These saturated fats are giving me satiation, brain power, and fuel for my day. What a relief it is to finally realize that much of what we thought about fat was WRONG!
Coconut oil is making a huge comeback now for this very reason. It’s one of the most stable, nourishing, saturated fats on Earth! Just 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil a day provides the short chain fats needed to protect our gut health, our liver, nerves, brain, and cardiovascular system .
Brands like Jackson’s Honest (JH) are taking the reigns, bringing back these healthy fats, and preparing foods in ways that maximize their benefits. Once I got my hands on these chips, I knew I’d found a treasure. JH cares about every ingredient they use. Not only do they care about sourcing the right ingredients, but they understand that ingredients must be treated in a way that maximizes their nutrients, AND in a way that minimizes any potential toxins. Some companies use coconut oil, but they fry foods at temperatures way beyond the coconut oil smoke point (350 degrees F). The issue here is that when fats are damaged by heat (or oxidation), they unleash dangerous free radicals in the body. To avoid these cancer-causing free radicals, we must be mindful and use cooking methods that bring out the best in fats! JH uses a low and slow cooking method, carefully sustaining a temperature that keeps coconut oil happy and chips crunchy. That’s reason enough right there for me to dig on some JH chips. But there’s more!
Low temperature cooking actually cuts the glycemic index in HALF! What’s glycemic index? The glycemic index of a food is a number that tells us how quickly our body converts that food into sugar. Potatoes are known for having a higher glycemic index, but when you boil or slow cook, instead of frying or roasting, the glycemic index of potatoes reduces drastically! Another amazing fact is that fats, and acids like vinegar, reduce the glycemic index even more. This is because fats and acids slow down the speed at which we digest the starchy foods. I keep this in mind when I’m munching down on some Jackson’s Honest chips because all of the varieties are slow-cooked in coconut oil, and they even have a sea salt and vinegar version…win win all around!
Did you know that our bodies need fat to convert certain plant nutrients into vitamins? Like the beta-carotene in sweet potatoes or red heirloom potatoes; We can only convert that beta-carotene if we have the food with fat! Sweet Potatoes + Coconut Oil = Vitamin Central!
After reading this you may still be pondering how much fat is really safe.
Are you wondering how we got so far off the fat track in the first place?
Think about a time when you saw a black and white photo of your great, great grandparents, or photos of people from the early 1900’s…people were looking pretty thin, right? They didn’t go to gyms, or count calories, or even think about calories. How did they all stay thin? People from this time consumed saturated fats on a regular basis; everything from butter, to lard, coconut oil, or palm oil. But then how did they stay thin? Let’s take a quick stroll down history lane and discuss the 1950’s when American scientist, Ancel Keys, accused saturated fat of causing heart disease.
Ancel Keys, being the relentless persuader he was, rose to the top of the nutrition world fast. It wasn’t too hard for Keys to make an impact because the public was desperate for answers…the country was facing more heart disease than ever in history. The problem began when Mr. Keys manipulated the data, study after study, to achieve the results that would prove his theory. Mr. Keys made his way to the top when he landed a position on the nutrition committee for the American Heart Association (coincidentally an organization launched by Proctor & Gamble, the makers of Crisco). There was no turning back in America once the vegetable oil industry got on board and there was far too much money and business involved to look back.
Americans went forward for 50+ years, cutting out all forms of fat, hoping for a healthier future. Fast-forward to today, and researchers are finally realizing that fat isn’t the villain after all!
Where does this leave us now?
Let’s take a look at what we know for sure…
- The rise of obesity in America began right at the time when fat and cholesterol were vilified, and fat-free foods graced every table and supermarket shelf. Hmmmm.
- Science undoubtedly shows that saturated fatty acids make up more than 50 percent of the cell membranes in our body. Whoa!
- We also know that a mother’s milk is over 50 percent fat (much of which is saturated fat). Why? Nature designed the perfect infant formula in this way because cholesterol and saturated fat are essential for growth in babies and children, especially for the development of the brain (yet the America Heart Association is still recommending low fat foods for children under the age of 3).
How’s about some more reasons saturated fat is awesome?
- Saturated fat plays a vital role in the health of our bones because it helps our body incorporate calcium into our skeletal structure.
- The fat around the heart muscle is highly saturated, and the heart draws on this fat reserve in times of stress. Thank you fat!
- Many saturated fats protect us against harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract. This is thanks to the many antimicrobial properties in saturated fats!
- Saturated Fat increases the protective HDL cholesterol, and reduces the level of plaque-causing, oxidized LDL. Talk about a healthy ticker!
You know, it’s too bad that one of nature’s healthiest food sources, fat, was given the same name as the word we use to describe someone who is overweight. As John Durant says in The Paleo Manifesto, “This terminology is about as genius as trying to sell a woman makeup called ‘Ugly’.”. Good one, John!
Books are popping up all over the place, setting the record straight and declaring the end of war on fat! From entertaining and fun, to science-filled research, each read provides a unique take on the Saturated Fat Myth and all the glorious benefits of fat.
I remember the time I started hearing about the importance of fats. I was listening to podcasts for the first time, and I found Dishing Up Nutrition. These women were telling me that fats should be included in every meal, and I no longer had to fear butter! The more I learned about fat, the more it all made sense. It was time for a change. Nowadays, I incorporate healthy fats in every single meal! Fats help us utilize fat soluble vitamins, and they make us feel more full! It does so by slowing down the rate at which we absorb the nutrients in our food, and activates hormones that tell us we are full. I don’t know about you, but that sounds great to me. For a long time I was looking for that hormone that tells me to stop eating when I’m full. Found it!
Share your stories with me in the comments below. Are you confused about incorporating healthy fats? Do you have a similar story about reintroducing fat to your diet? Have you had the chance to try Jackson’s Honest chips yet?