Healthy Food Healthy Mood

Our bodies need FAT and lots of it! Although this statement will send shock waves through people it is absolutely true. A healthy body needs healthy fat! Just the word fat makes us want to cringe and look away we have been conditioned for decades on how dangerous this macronutrient is, it causes heart disease and makes us gain weight.  ‘Take the skin off your chicken’ ‘have margarine not butter, use canola oil’, for so long the health authorities have sent these messages out loud and clear – and we have listened, but yet we have become fatter and even more unhealthy and then we are told it is because we are lazy and don’t exercise. The situation is beyond frustrating watching people diet with low-fat proteins and low-fat dairy products starving their bodies of what it needs to thrive and all the while feeling depressed, angry and frustrated at themselves for not having enough will power when the sugar craving strikes. Its cruel and it needs to end!

It is a scientific fact that our brains are shrinking, new diseases are being found and diagnosed and our children are suffering from ADHD to Type 2 diabetes, we feel powerless. Although it may not be presented in the main stream media we need to be aware of the real reasons we are sick and fat - stress is a major contributing factor as well as environmental toxins but ultimately what we put on the end of our fork controls how we feel mentally, how our immune system protects us and if our bodies are going to thrive or decline.  

The human brain is about 60% fat, every membrane of every cell and every organelle inside of cells are made of fats. All cells have a membrane made primarily of fat, but myelin is a special, thicker fat layer that is essential for your brain to function, without this the signals between neurons would be lost.  A healthy thriving body needs grass-fed animal fats, wild caught fatty fish, pastured egg yolks, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds these fats contain mainly saturated and monounsaturated fats. If we look at the most natural food on the planet breast milk it is 48% saturated, 33% monounsaturated and 16% polyunsaturated – it’s a perfect food for a baby and as our human physiology does not change as we grow we need approximately the same amounts. 

If we focus on a diet that is approximately 80% saturated fat our body begins to use ketones as its primary source of fuel and this is when we are no longer controlled by food cravings and that ‘hangry’ feeling. Healthy fats keep us satiated – a diet burning glucose for fuel has been compared to using kindling to keep a fire going, you need to constantly keep topping it up to keep the fire burning but when we switch to healthy fat for fuel we are satiated and it is similar to putting a huge log on a fire that continues to burn without adding anything. Our brains need fat, a diet high in healthy fats helps to lower inflammation throughout our body and speed up energy production in the brain, the more healthy fats you eat the more efficient your brain becomes at converting them to energy. Compared to other macronutrients such as protein and carbohydrates, fat also has the lowest impact on insulin and cortisol levels.

The problem so many people are faced with is replacing high fat foods with low-fat sugar filled foods that actually makes them gain weight, have concentration issues and battle the never-ending cravings. The body uses oxygen to burn fat, glucose or amino acids to make energy, if you eat too much sugar you will not be producing energy from fat but rather from glucose, so fat is not being used for fuel instead gets stored in your fat cells and you’ll quickly gain weight. During this time your brain will burn through glucose quickly so you get a blood sugar crash while you brain is screaming for more sugar making it impossible to concentrate on anything other than the fact you are hungry and if you don’t eat you feel like you are going to die!!! When our diet is low in healthy fats we experience frequent blood sugar dips during the day, strong desire to eat something sweet after a meal and an inability to go more than 2-3 hours between meals. A meal that is high in carbohydrates will generate a rapid rise in blood glucose, to compensate for this, your pancreas secretes insulin into your bloodstream, which in turn lowers your blood sugar to keep it in normal ranges because excess glucose is toxic to your cells. If you consistently consume a diet high in sugar and grains, your blood glucose levels will be correspondingly high, and over time your insulin receptors become ‘desensitized’ to insulin, requiring more and more insulin, this is known as insulin resistance.

If we focus on our children and their diets it is no wonder many of them are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, if they are consuming a diet high in glucose and low in healthy fats their concentration and ability to focus will be negatively affected. If we send these children off to school after a healthy meal of pastured eggs, vegetables, grass-fed butter and bacon they wouldn’t need that 10 am sugar filled snack and could possibly go 5-6 hours without any food and no drop in their concentration levels. Their blood sugar levels would remain low and steady and their immune system would be strong and robust.

We need to change the way we perceive fat and start to realise just how crucial it is to our bodies, we should all be consuming diets high in healthy fat. A change from burning glucose to burning fat would keep our blood glucose levels steady as well as supporting our hormones and overall health. Fat does not make us fat but a diet in low-fat, high sugar has numerous heath implications as well as keeping us perpetually hungry.


Anne-Marie Howell