While it’s true that fat contains the most calories per gram (9 kcal/g) than protein (4 kcal/g) and carbohydrates (4 kcal/g), we need to get away from fearing calories. Calories are our bodies’ energy currency. We need energy to function throughout the day, whether you’re hitting the treadmill or burning brain fuel on a work project. But not all calories are created equal. Your body metabolizes different food sources differently. For example, an orange can deliver quick energy as sugar compared to a steak as protein. Fat not only delivers more calories than sugar and protein, fat is also slow to breakdown. You will feel more satisfied when you eat meals with fat because your energy stores will last longer. Fats are needed for brain, hormones, and every cell in your body!
But which fats are healthy fats?
It can be confusing and frustrating with so many options on the market and so many opposing suggestions as to what is actually healthy versus harmful. This past week, Susanna of Joice of Cooking, messaged me with a photo of a “healthy choice” of fat substitute in Finland. Unfortunately, it was an unnatural concoction of vegetables oils, including rapeseed (canola) and palm oils. Not only are these oils likely genetically modified (GMO), they likely are not cold-pressed to preserve optimal nutrition and possibly hydrogenated (partially or fully).
When shopping for a healthy fat, consider the following points:
- no pesticides
- grass-fed or free-range
- no antibiotics
- no hormones
- smoke point*
Try adding fats to your diet in their most natural, raw, whole state — think of drizzling instead of frying!
*Smoke point is quite controversial as new studies suggest that those oil we thought were able to withstand high heat were releasing other harmful chemicals when cooked.
Photo credit: By smial (talk) – Own work, FAL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8933386