More Fats Please!

March 6, 2011

Fats have typically been demonized in the health and nutrition community as something to be avoided. For years low fat, no-fat, non-fat and reduced fat have been synonymous for “healthier.” However, nutritionists and food experts alike have recently stepped forward to advocate for “good” fats and to stop the habit of equating low-fat options as the automatic better choice.

In a recent article by Kristin Wartman at Civil Eats, she remarks that ever since the Los Angeles Times reported that carbohydrates and sugar, not fat, are now to blame for America’s obesity statistics, food writers and nutritionists like Martha Rose Shulman have been getting on the “no low-fat” bandwagon, and the movement seems to be gaining momentum.

Over at NY Times Dining and Wine, Melissa Clark supports this pro-fat stance in her piece in which she lays out the argument over coconut oil’s health benefits. She begins by explaining how coconut oil used to be considered incredibly unhealthy. However, two main groups have brought to light the benefits and uses of this white globby goo. Vegans have been using coconut oil for quite a few years now as a vegan substitute in baked goods, but now scientists have been investigating coconut oil, and more specifically, virgin coconut oil, and are finding the results to be more positive than once thought.

coconut oil

In light of all this fat talk, I started to think a bit about my own fat habits (besides eating late night french fries). What's your stance on when and what to use when it comes to fats in your cooking? Personally, I’ve always been a huge fan of butter and do not shy away. I’d rather just use less butter than any type of butter substitute and have always just leaned towards moderation over low-fat replacements.

And in honor of all things butter, here is a butter-filled tart crust to melt your anti-butter heart:
Perfect Tart Crust on FoodistaPerfect Tart Crust

Photos by Flickr user Last Hero,



Sheila's picture

I'm a fan of fat, myself! I find that I have a way easier eating a moderate amount if there's some fat in what I eat. When I'm just eating carbs and protein, I feel hungry all the time.

Food without fat doesn't taste as good. That's why diet food is often full of sugar, MSG, and other additives to make it still taste even remotely okay.

Fat regulates blood sugar better than carbs, because it is digested and enters the blood stream more slowly.

Now, you do have to be careful, because fat has 9 calories per gram rather than 4 like carbs and protein. But it's also way more satisfying, as long as you are paying attention to what you eat.

Last of all, fat helps the body obtain and absorb fat-soluble vitamins, like A, D, E, and K.

From personal experience, I've known low-fat dieters to either feel deprived all the time, binge periodically, or even diet religiously and still gain weight. Meanwhile, people who eat a more balanced diet can more easily cut a few calories and lose weight, without cutting out whole food groups.

I wrote a whole post on this awhile back:

I've always been a believer in fat, but the more I experiment between fat and carbs, the more I find fat makes me feel better and stay healthier than a carb-heavy diet.