The Right Way to Eat Fat

POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry
POPSUGAR Photography | Nicole Perry

Americans are learning that eating fat is a good thing, and Dave Asprey, the founder and CEO of Bulletproof, has some pointers on the right way to incorporate this essential nutrient.

For decades, we've been bombarded with one of the most pervasive myths in nutrition and marketing — that fat is bad. Fortunately, modern science shows us that the right fats make us strong, lean, and vibrant. Fat is the foundation of the Bulletproof lifestyle based on years of research. I've learned which fats turn off cravings, fuel the brain, and support our hormones and overall wellbeing to kick ass every day.

The fat-is-bad for you theory has been the cornerstone of dietary habits since the 1950s. Scientist Ancel Keys, armed with some persuasive evidence, blew up nutrition stating that saturated fat caused heart disease. The low-fat diet mania erupted with every Donald Draper and well-intentioned doctor pushing this concept, regardless that Keys later found his data didn't fit his study model.

Breathe deep, rejoice. The reign of low-fat, no-fat, and calorie counting is finally over. Let's debunk the two biggest fat myths:

Myth One: Low-fat diets are healthy

Low-fat diets are pure torture and for good reason. A healthy female body is about 29 percent fat and male 15 percent. Your body needs fat. Our brain contains fat. Do you think clearly when dieting? I surely don't.

When food chemists began to fabricate low-fat foods, they swapped fat with sugar and protein. These synthesized foods lead to higher spikes in insulin and cortisol (the stress hormone), and energy crashes. Research shows that when eating these fake foods, there's also a greater risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, thyroid problems, leptin resistance and you guessed it — weight gain.

For women, fats are vital for balancing hormones and fertility. During pregnancy DHA (Omega-3 fat), the building block for forming healthy brains, are held in a woman's fat cells. Our brains are made up of 10 percent of DHA. Since our bodies don't produce Omega-3s on their own, it's vital we get them from our diet whether it's for your baby's brain or your own.

Myth Two: Eating Fat Makes You Fat

If you take into consideration that a calorie is just a calorie, you should be able to lose weight eating Twinkies, right? Wrong. It's all about the type of calories you eat. Studies show that people who eat high-fat diets feel fuller faster and have fewer food cravings; and therefore, lose weight.

Good Fats vs. Bad Fats

Fat is the most vital anti-inflammatory macronutrient. I've found that fat isn't all good or all bad, though. It's more complex, so I developed food hacks that balance the right types of fat to make up 50-70 percent of my daily diet.

So, what are the right kinds of fats?

I use two hard and fast rules. First, I look at the how long the fat molecule is. For edible fats, the shorter the fat, the rarer and more anti-inflammatory it is. For this reason and more, I use grass-fed butter and coconut oil as go-to fats.

The second rule is to consider how stable the fat is. Fat molecules oxidize when oxygen enters. When fat oxidizes, it releases free radicals into your food that, once eaten, can cause all kinds of inflammation. The most stable fats are saturated because they have fewer places for oxygen to infiltrate the molecule, followed by mono-saturated fats. Unsaturated fats are mostly unstable, but we still need some like Omega-3s, which are heart protective, increase brain function, regulate cholesterol, and fight cancer.

Top 8 Fats For Your Health

I've created a Bulletproof roadmap around foods that fuel your body based on a foundation of fat. From best to worst, here's how I rate them:

01
Grass Fed Animal Fat (Not Poultry)
Flickr user Christine Majul

Grass Fed Animal Fat (Not Poultry)

These fats are high in essential fatty acids, minerals, proteins anti-oxidants and valuable fat-soluble vitamins.

02
Grass-Fed Butter
Flickr user Nick Saltmarsh

Grass-Fed Butter

Butter made from grass-fed cows is high in fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D and K, and antioxidants.

03
Virgin Coconut Oil
POPSUGAR Photography | Lizzie Fuhr

Virgin Coconut Oil

This oil has the most saturated fats than any other food, making it very stable.

04
MCT Oil
POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry

MCT Oil

This is a liquid coconut oil extract that is almost pure medium- and short-chain fats. This is an upgrade, packing six times more MCTs (medium chain triglyceride oil) than regular coconut oil.

05
Fish and Krill Oils
Flickr user Jo Christian Oterhals

Fish and Krill Oils

These types of oils are chockfull of beneficial Omega-3s.

06
Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Flickr user Nina Nelson

Fermented Cod Liver Oil

One of the most nutrient dense foods on earth, fermented cod liver oil is contains fat-soluble vitamins, anti-oxidants, minerals, and fatty acids.

08
Pastured-Chicken Fat
POPSUGAR Photography | Anna Monette Roberts

Pastured-Chicken Fat

The skin in pasture-raised chickens is high in Omega-6s, where most of its fat exists.