I cringe when I recall the Low fat phase of my fitness journey. That was the time when I bought cookbooks titled-'Cooking with one
Teaspoon of Oil';ate steamed idlis and boiled sambar,scrupulously
avoiding the coconut chutney due to calories;baked cakes with
applesauce instead of butter; and when feeling particularly
virtuous,had my chappati without ghee. I considered myself enlightened. When
I fortituously veered into strength training community I was amazed to
find that eating fats is a dietary essential for people who
train.And it does not make them chunky, only exceedingly fit.Women were
discussing the awesome results of including relatively high amount of
certain fats in their diet and were rubbishing the low fat craze.Was Grandma right as always?What
was the basis?And does this mean that all of us need to eat fats to get
fit? If so which ones?Why? I was hooked to Lipid
biochemistry. Infact this post was turning into a gigantic discourse on Lipids.However in interest of holding on to your interest,dear Readers,I have turned this into a series of bite -sized posts,less taxing on your time, easier,I hope to assimilate.
Fats you eat Upholster every Cell and organ,above all the Big B-Your Brain.
you eat provide a vital structural nutrient for each one of your
approximately 100 trillion body cells.The cell membrane which controls what
enters and what may exit ,sends messages and controls chemical activity of the cell,
has a lipid bilayer made of both saturated and unsaturated fats in
equal proportion. Cells are in a constant process of regeneration,so
building blocks are constantly in demand. Naturally occurring(as opposed to man-made) fats such as those found in ghee,butter,virgin unrefined oils,nuts,seeds,cold water fish provide best lipids which your cells need and love. Our nerve cell membranes (myelin sheath) contain 80% phospholipids and only 20% proteins. (So high-quality essential fatty acids(EFA's) are critical for healthy nervous system function.) Brain is a fatty organ comprising 70% lipids.This lipid covering allows quick transfer of electrical impulses. The
much maligned cholestrol is a critical(50%) component of cell
membranes.It is also a precursor to all steroid hormones including the sex
hormones, a precursor to vitamin D, and the limiting factor that brain
cells need to make connections with one another called synapses, making
it essential to learning and memory. Without fats you won't be able to absorb fat soluble vitamins-A,D,E,K. So eating Good Fats will keep your cells supple,skin glowing,brains sharp,mood good,body fit. Take home Lesson # If you want to be sharper, stronger,sexier and sprightly - Eat Fats!(the Good ones) Low fat will make you sad and slow.
Why Low Fat is Bad? When we eat low fat ,we deprive our brain of the tools it needs for normal functioning.Fats are essential for production of chemical messengers called neurotransmitters through which brain cells communicate with each other.Heard of serotonin?That is a 'feel good' neurotransmitter.Low fat = low serotonin =low mood. Also when you eat low fat,you replace the calories you would have ingested as fat,with carbs-whether it's baked potato chips or roasted namkeen or rusk or fat free cookies. Carbs cause release of stored serotonin,so when you continuously eat low fat, on one hand,you are not making sufficient neurotransmitters,and on the other hand are depleting your precious reserves. No wonder Low fat diets are positively correlated with depression and suicide. Carbs cause rapid spike in blood sugar(remember Insulin),followed by a crash and further carb craving.All the excess glucose is converted into triglycerides-that's a fancy term for the form in which fat is transported in the blood .Compared to this fats are slowly absorbed and metabolized,have lower GI,make you feel fuller for longer.You are less likely to overeat fats,which in nature occur with proteins(e,g eggs,nuts,seeds,meats,fish) and bring satiety for a longer time
So it is not the ghee in your jalebi that is making you fat but the maida and sugar in it.To me this was an eye opener. Fat free diet, high on carbs may be one reason why most people hate dieting and feel so bad when they are on one.Sad part is it will probably lead to more body fat accumulation!apart from starving their cells.
Take Home Lesson # Nourish your cells with (Good) fat to keep them from accumulating fat!
Check this out for a lucid account of role of Dietary fat in evolution of Human Brain.