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All about fat

At times, the media tells us tall tales. It's not as reliable a source of information as we may like to think; in fact, when it comes to nutrition and health, the media can misinform in its effort to educate. Case in point: fat.

Back in the low-fat heyday (which is unfortunately dragging into today), we were taught that fat is unhealthy and that low-fat is our friend; hence the onslaught of low-fat packaged products. Forget the steak, butter and avocado! Ironically, the push for low-fat food meant a loss of natural flavour, which was compensated for with the addition of sugar. Nine times out of 10, products labeled "low fat" are synonymous with "high sugar," and low-fat alternatives (like margarine) are packed with toxic substitutes (like vegetable oils).

In the case of margarine, you may think that a product made with vegetable oils is inherently healthy. You may even pretend it's contributing to your daily consumption of veggies. However, vegetable oils can't be extracted via the natural process of pressing; they can only be extracted with chemicals and/or heat. Processing with heat destroys the chemical stability of the oils, rendering both processes toxic to our bodies. If we just ate fat in its natural state, we would be healthier and happier.

We'd like to change fat's rep. Fat is your friend. If it's a healthy fat and eaten in the context of a healthy diet, fat will work miracles on your skin, hair, general health ⎯ and weight! Folks may argue that fat makes you fat. In fact, fat is filling, which means it satiates your hunger. On the other hand, ingesting sugar and grains can cause hunger and cravings that can't always be quelled. The next time your stomach is growling for carbs, try fat in its place; you'll sidestep the carb coma, managing your energy and your waistline.

So, what's a healthy fat, you ask? Animal fats are healthy. You can eat red meat. You can also try organ meats if you're feeling courageous (or outrageous?!) Saturated fat is also healthy*; in fact, it is the building block of our bones and brain, as water is the building block of our plasma. It would make sense then that, like drinking water, we should eat saturated fats to support our physical health. And yes, sources of saturated fat generally go hand-in-hand with sources of cholesterol, but cholesterol has been mislabelled, too. It is as essential to our bodies and our livelihood as oxygen. So eating an egg yolk is not only a source of healthy saturated fat, it will not cause your LDL ("bad") cholesterol to dance. (But those rotten vegetable oils will!)

One of our favourite fats is coconut for its light, sweet flavour and because it partners perfectly in baking or cooking. In fact, its high flash point makes it one of the best oils for frying. Raw, it makes for a delectable dessert. If you're not a fan of fat, or if you're vegan and don't like the thought of animal fat, warm up to fat in your diet with our Toasted Coconut TeaPop. Your tastebuds will thank us!

*Trans fat is not healthy. The media got that one right.