I hope you’ve had time to try the yummy Chocolate Berry Smoothie recipe I posted the other day. Maybe you’re thinking avocado, almonds and coconut milk are high in fat. You’ve likely heard fat is bad for the arteries, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and can make you fat. Let me put your mind at ease.
Fat in general has been given a rather bad rap. Back in the 80’s when I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Nutrition, fat was labeled as a major culprit in the obesity epidemic sweeping through Canada, the United States, Australia and many other countries.
It turns out the bad fat plague of the last thirty years served to put millions of dollars in the pockets of food Manufacturers who profited on the backs of low fat marketing claims as the miracle cure to reducing heart disease. Sadly, the consumption of low fat foods hasn’t halted the obesity epidemic, heart disease or the cancer.
Labeling all fat as bad was an over generalization, one that most people accepted because it sounded logical. Fat is higher in calories than protein or carbohydrates, therefore it’s easy for one to conclude the higher calorie fat would lead to disease and obesity.
In fact, a growing body of scientific research is countering old claims that all fat is bad and instead is focusing on differentiating the types of fat that are beneficial and those that should be consumed less frequently. Trans-fats (a liquid vegetable oil that has been hydrogenated to make it a solid) and to a lesser extent saturated animal fats were and are responsible for massive amounts of vascular damage that results in plaque build up in the arteries, heart attacks and premature deaths.
On the other hand, fats from plant sources such as the once discarded avocado are good for us because they contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that have a protective effect in our bodies. The jury is still out on coconut oil as it’s a saturated fatty acid, but even at this it is a Medium Chain Fatty Acid which research is finding has a different effect in our bodies than short or longer chain fatty acids.
The fats in the Chocolate Berry Smoothie or from other plant-derived foods play a positive role in keeping you healthy these include:
- Good effect on cholesterol levels – lower cholesterol levels = lower risk of heart disease
- Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
- Transport fat soluble vitamins around your body
- Provide a silky smooth sensation on your tongue (mouth feel)
- Satiety – meaning the fat helps you feel full which reduces your chances of reaching for a snack when you don’t want to be snacking
It’s important to understand fat is not your enemy and that it has a place in a balanced diet.
Your healthy lifestyle can include meat and dairy in moderation providing you eat an abundance of plant-based foods like nuts, seeds, berries, lentils and whole-grain foods and get regular daily exercise. Of course fresh fruits and vegetables are natural so knock yourself out, just watch the fruit consumption as they are high in sugar and can send your blood-glucose levels spiking.
I hope you’ll try this morning smoothie. It’s your choice, will you give it a try?
Ref: Get Cookin’ With Whole Plant Fats – Experts Say It’s the Type of Fat Consumed That Counts, Not the Amount. Sharon Palmer, RD. Today’s Dietician Vol. 14 No. 2 P.34