I am here to drop a little scientific knowledge about how fat might not be the culprit for all of these issues. The popular "caveman" diet is based on our ancestors eating 75% of their total intake in fat (20% protein, 5% carbs). We as a society have replaced a high percentage of our daily diet with carbohydrates (+60%) and reduced our fat to under 20%. So why is it that we have reduced our fat consumption by such a large percentage but obesity and cardiovascular issues have more than doubled? It is pretty simple math; protein has stayed about the same percentage while carbohydrates have switched places with fats. Our consumption of carbohydrates have skyrocketed along with the amount of sugar consumed by the average american. When you have an excess of carbohydrates in the diet along with high quantities of sugar you have a massive surplus of glucose. Your body stores glucose as....FAT!
Scientifically a diet high in carbohydrates doesn't make much sense (you can have a higher carb intake for certain athletic activity) but when you look at the calories (kCal) per carbohydrates it comes in at the lowest amount at 4 calories per gram. Fat comes in at 9 calories per gram, which makes it the most "bang for your buck" in energy per gram consumed. kCal = ENERGY!
So what does this all mean? You need FAT for your body to function optimally.
- Vitamins D, E, A, and K are FAT soluble which means they cannot be absorbed if you do not have enough fat in your diet. Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to Alzheimers, depression, and many other brain linked disorders. What this means that even if you are supplementing with Vitamin D or getting a lot of sun exposure--if you don't have enough fat in your diet you aren't able to absorb the Vitamin D (and subsequently E, A, and K) efficiently!
- Saturated fat helps your immune system in TWO ways. First your skins membrane is composed of fat and without fat in your diet you skin can have breaks in the membrane which makes you susceptible to infection. Second, a reduction in saturated fatty acids in your white bloods cells reduce their ability to fight off bacteria, funguses, and viruses. The more saturated fat you eat the better off your immune system is.
- Saturated fats are also crucial in breathing, yes you read that right, BREATHING! Our lungs are lubricated with a material called surfactant which is made up primarily of saturated fat. If you do not have enough fat in your diet this material can be compromised and actually your lungs ability to expand fully.
Grab some nuts as a snack, add an avocado to your meal (I try to daily), eat a piece of wild caught salmon a few times a week, and cook with coconut oil. All of these are simple healthy ways to increase your fat intake and #livehealthy!
-Dr. Griffith, DC
MOVEMENT Chiropractic and Wellness