Folks, I eat a lot of butter. It’s grass-fed Kerrygold butter and it’s my favorite thing. I also save bacon grease to saute my veggies in. I also put in tablespoons of coconut oil into my tea. I love fat, and I’m here to make you a believer, too.
First and foremost, I don’t believe in fearing or favoring ANY macronutrient. Carbs are not the enemy, fat doesn’t make you fat, protein isn’t the end all be all. They are all important and we need them all in our diets- each person may need different ratios and that’s totally individual (and something I’ll cover on this blog here soon).
So with that caveat in mind, let’s talk about fats. Because the low-fat craze needed to end like, yesterday.
Where did this fear of fat come from?
Without getting too politically charged here, in a nutshell Americans were duped from some not-so-legit research in the 70’s that “proved” eating fat caused heart disease (specifically saturated fat). Major organizations and associations backed up this research, even though it was false. the cherry on top was when the government officially adopted health standards that were low fat in 1980, and low-fat became all anyone in health could talk about. Vegetable oils and margarine replaced butter, and heart disease continued to rise for the next 50 years. The research is crazy when you dig into it- here’s a short example from The New York Times.
So basically, Americans were successfully tricked into believing that saturated fat was the problem, and that low-fat diets were the answer. Let’s bust some myths.
MYTH #1: Saturated fat makes you fat.
False. In fact it’s quite the opposite. I LOVE this article from Mark Hyman- he talks about how not feeding our fat cells actually makes us hungrier- so by eating low-fat we end up eating way more and exercising way less. Fat fills you up, fat changes your taste buds so you want more nourishing foods, fat helps your metabolism. (Fake fats like trans fats from hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oils can make you fat though, but more on that later).
MYTH #2: Saturated fat causes heart disease.
No, it doesn’t. But you know what does? Sugar! Sugar causes heart disease and that research is becoming clearer every day. I wrote an article about kicking your sugar habit over here. You’ll feel a whole lot better when you do.
MYTH #3: Low-fat diets are healthier/will help you lose weight
Nope, the opposite will happen. When you take fat out of food, the food tastes wayyyy worse. So, what do you do to make it palatable? Add some sugar. Lots of it. Low-fat yogurt, for example, has a lot more added sugars. These calories are empty and will burn quickly, causing you to then eat more or feel tired and hungry, neither of which are helpful in losing weight.
When I started Eating Fats
Complete honestly- this shift was HARD. I was a low-fat believer, and even thought I was getting more informed and knew better, it’s still a crazy hurdle to jump mentally. So, I started small.
I made some simple changes to the way I was buying/preparing food. Instead of low-fat yogurt, I opted for whole-fat, plain yogurt. No added sugar, full-fat (I add my own honey when I feel like it ;)). I started cooking with coconut oil and grass-fed butter. When I drink milk, I make sure it’s raw (or at least organic) and whole-fat. I started snacking on almonds instead of chips or crackers.
And you know what? Just from those changes I felt amazing. My energy was lasting, my headaches were few and far between, and I DROPPED 15 POUNDS. I wasn’t even trying to lose weight at the time, but my body was finally being fueled properly that it dropped a lot of inflammation and old weight it was carrying around. Haven’t seen those little love-handles since.
Good Fats vs. Bad Fats
While I’m a huge believer in healthy fats, not all fats are created equal – not even close. Good fats are great, bad fats are damaging. I’ll keep this simple because I don’t want to overwhelm you.
-Trans Fat (Partially Hydrogenated or Hydrogenated Oil)
-Vegetable Oils (Soy, Canola, Safflower, Corn, Safflower)
(from quality animal sources -happy animals not on hormones or corn/soy feed)
-grass fed butter, ghee, tallow/lard, organic whole-fat dairy, eggs
-coconut oil (cold-pressed, unrefined)
-Nuts, seeds, fatty fish
-Flaxseed oil (cold-pressed)
-Almonds, pecans, cashews, peanuts, and avocados
-Quality olive oil (cold-pressed)
But What About Calories?
With food, it’s quality over quantity.
But I know what you’re thinking. “Fat has a lot of calories, so I just need to watch my calorie intake if I add them back in.” I’m here to tell you: be free!
If you’re eating real food ingredients from quality sources (produce/plants not covered in pesticides or herbicides, animals fed their natural diets, etc.), then you don’t need to stress so much about HOW MUCH you eat. I know that because of the low-fat craze and because of our culture in general, calorie talk runs rampant.
I was an avid calorie counter for years – I get it! It’s hard to wrap your head around at first. But it wasn’t until I stopped counting and started eating fats and better sourced food in general that I felt better, felt freer, and lost weight (happy bonus). Side note – the weight loss, lower inflammation, and general wellbeing and happiness increase also happened to my husband. He loves to brag about how much butter we eat and how healthy we are 😂.
A calorie isn’t just a calorie. Some calories are empty and your body has to deplete itself just to digest and them (refined sugar, refined flour, which are then stored as fat anyways) and some calories actually nourish you and your body wants and needs them. Calories do not need to be top of mind all the time. You know what does need to be top of mind? Listening to your amazing body- eat when you’re hungry, feed yourself quality food, and stop when you’re full. Free yourself from the calorie prison, friend.
Why I’m Obsessed with Butter (and why fats are so great)
Fat helps produce and regulate hormones (aka helps my MOODS!)
Hormones are made up of fats. AND fats help regulate blood sugar. Between these two key things, adding fats into my diets has significantly helped decrease my amount of anxiety, depression, and mood swings. BOOM! Winning.
Fat and cholesterol make up the membranes of our cells
Let’s stop and put this into perspective, because this is huge. You have trillions of cells in your body, and FAT is the guy who lets things in and out of the cell. If you have the wrong kinds of fats that make up your cell membranes, what do you think is going in and out of them? Anything. Fat is like the bouncer at a club: it makes sure the right things go in and come out of the cell. Your cells are what allow you to function. So if toxins and other things are going in and out of your cells, are you going to function and feel well? No, you certainly will not.
You need fats in order to absorb fat-soluble vitamins
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are super important, and you NEED the right kinds of fats in order to use them in your body. Vitamin A is key for vision, bone development, immune health, and more. Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption. Vitamin E is necessary for cardiovascular health and acts as an antioxidant. Vitamin K helps your blood clot and helps you absorb minerals and calcium, which affects bone health. Deficiencies in any of these vitamins can lead to serious issues, so you absolutely NEED fat in order to absorb and use these vitamins!
Fat protects your organs.
When you bump into a sharp corner and don’t immediately puncture a hole in your stomach, what prevents that from happening? Water and FAT. Fat acts as a literal cushion and lining for organs in your body.
Fat helps regulate periods and can help with fertility
This has to do with a couple of things: hormones and body-fat percentage. Fats significantly help hormone production and regulation, and help keep us at a healthy body fat percentage (not because we gain fat when we eat it, remember, but because fueling our body with the RIGHT fat lays the foundation for healthy systems and metabolism).
When your body fat percentage is too low or if you’re not eating enough healthy fats, hormones suffer significantly. Periods can become irregular, fertility can become difficult. Healthy fat is important!
Fat makes everything taste better.
Preeeach. Fat is such a gift! What can make anything taste better? Butter. Why does a fatty grass-fed burger taste better than a lean one? Healthy fat! Good fat is delicious, and we shouldn’t take it for granted.
Fat gives us longer-lasting energy
Fat is a slow-burning fuel. It helps slow the absorption of what we eat so it can provide us with long-lasting energy as opposed to the quick energy that carbohydrates provide.
Okay, darling. Now you know.
I love butter. I love coconut oil. I LOVE HEALTHY FATS!
Don’t feel overwhelmed- start small if you need to. Go find some quality fats and see what magic happens!
*This post contains affiliate links- which basically means if you purchase through my link I get a very small percentage from the company (you do not pay extra). This is what helps support my small-business owner income and keep this blog up and runnin’. The products I link to are products I 100% believe in, use, and recommend to you. All opinions expressed are my own.