As this article on Yahoo Health suggests, the evidence that full-fat foods belong in a balanced and healthy diet is clear. Having a growing base of valid and reliable evidence to support your nutritional choices is a good thing right? Due to the relative novelty of this full-fat supporting evidence, it has the potential to add to the confusing noise surrounding the best approach the nutrition, health, wellness and fitness. Here are 5 ways to take the growing information on the benefits of full-fat foods and responsibly utilize it on your way to eating like a champ:
1. simply react
It's easy to overreact to information promoting the benefits of full-fat foods because for starters they tend to taste delicious. Consider what happens if you've been starving yourself of dietary fats for years as you follow traditional "healthy eating" guidelines then suddenly you learn that they're OK and actually good for you. You can see how the flood gates open and it would be tricky to moderate your approach to introducing mouthwatering full-fat foods into your eating. The key is to simply react without going overboard.
2. go at your own pace
It can be paralyzing to learn that something that was one way for a majority of your life is actually not that way. The building evidence suggesting that full-fat foods are not actually the boogeyman is difficult to accept - it's like finding out that starting tomorrow, red means go and green means stop when you pull up to a traffic light. As with any big change or paradigm shift, taking small and consistent steps in the right direction is important. Take your time in incorporating healthy full-fat foods into your diet.
3. be an educated full-fat food consumer
Foods like mayo and salad dressings are marketed as "health foods" while being loaded with toxic oils/fats. Steering clear of the toxic oils/fats means understanding which oils are strong and which are weak. The strong oils are able to stand up to the high heats of cooking and processing while the weak oils break down easily under high heat. These fragile oils cause low grade inflammation throughout the body after they have been broken down by the heat.
Corn, canola, sunflower, safflower, soy, and cottonseed oils are flimsy oils that have no shot at standing up to the heat of cooking or processing. When it comes to choosing the right oils/fats to consume, choose the strong ones: pastured butter, avocado oil, peanut oil, palm oil, olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, macadamia nut oil and sesame oil are robust enough to stand up to the heat of processing or cooking.
Consider making your own salad dressing - all it takes is equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a squirt of dijon mustard and a good shake to make a tasty balsamic vinaigrette!
4. value your veggies
Keeping your plate well-rounded with dark, leafy greens and other colorful vegetables is important as you learn to incorporate full-fat foods into your diet. It's much easier to make this vegetation more delectable by adding the right oils or fats like a homemade salad dressing. These veggies are important because they help to scrub and cleanse any sinister characters that you may have knowingly or unknowingly consumed.
5. unicorns and "one size fits all"
The idea that one size fits all in the world of nutrition is as realistic as driving by a unicorn on your way to work. It's important to know what you respond best to when taking on new items in your dietary quest for better nutrition. What works for some may not always work for you - sometimes a trial and error approach is necessary. It's important to listen to your body instead of following a plan that worked for someone else. Just because there is a list of 20 full-fat foods that promote fat burn doesn't mean that you will respond well to all of them or that you should come up with ways to cram them all into your diet.
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Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS is the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Los Angeles Lakers and Founder of TD Athletes Edge, where he provides fitness, recovery and nutrition guidance to aspiring and professional athletes. For training advice, visit www.tdathletesedge.com and follow him on Twitter/Instagram through @tdathletesedge.
Eenfeldt, A. (2012, June 17). Stunning: Saturated Fat and the European Paradox. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
Howard BV, Van Horn L, Hsia J, et al. Low-Fat Dietary Pattern and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: The Women's Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial. JAMA.2006;295(6):655-666. doi:10.1001/jama.295.6.655.
Siri-Tarino, P., Sun, Q., Hu, F., & Krauss, R. (2010). Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Retrieved April 19, 2015, from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.full.pdf html