By fat, in this case, we mean dietary fat – the kind you eat. Body fat is pretty awesome too. It’s one of the reasons we survived when our smarter Neanderthal brethren did not. We were able to store fuel in the form of body fat, getting us through winters and famine.
Picture early humans gathered around the fire, packing on stored fuel from fatty cuts of meat from hunting the local game. They probably salted the meat in a salted buttered sauce with a little pepper and lemon to bring out the meat’s best flavor. But I digest… er, digress.
Dietary fat, albeit similar to body fat under a microscope, has a whole ‘nother level of importance to us. We’re talking about the butters, the oils, the avocados, and to a certain extent the nuts and fatty proteins, like cheese and bacon.
It’s the fat in our food that tells our brains that we’re full, helps us develop our cells, gain weight when we need to, and make food taste yummy.
Fat Dictates Satiety
When you eat, a hormone called Cholecystokinin or CCK is released. This little peptide is best released by the consumption of fatty acids and is credited for suppressing our appetites.
The way our bodies are supposed to work, we eat, then our body receives the signal that we are satisfied so we stop eating. Sounds beautiful, right?
Unfortunately, for many of our meals, the fat content is so high we are so overwhelmed with fatty acids and the calories that come with them. By the time we feel satiety, we’ve already consumed beyond the calories we needed for the given meal.
Fat Makes Strong Cell Walls
Like the walls of your home, the membranes of your cells are designed to protect the contents of the cell. Strong cell membranes are a product of good dietary fat intake.
These membranes serve other purposes, like letting waste out and fuel in. A poorly functioning cell wall cannot do this.
If your fat intake isn’t high enough, you can experience symptoms like fatigue. If you suffer from neurodegenerative disorders, the integrity of these membranes is critical.
Fat Helps us Gain Weight
While it may not be the norm, there are many people who have bodyweight goals that involve packing it on instead of losing it. These folks walk alone on sympathy road. Nobody feels bad for the person who needs to eat more food.
Actually, it can be harder to gain than to lose.
Folks who struggle to gain, sometimes don’t enjoy food as much as the rest of us or they are more sensitive to taste, less likely to eat unless the quality is superb. They often feel full early, unable to eat more, falling short of their intake goals. This only makes gaining harder.
Dietary fat to the rescue! Increasing fat intake for people who struggle in this way can be the secret sauce to weight gain.
Fat Makes Food Marketable
No secret to chefs, fat makes food look and taste good. It’s not uncommon for that big dish of pasta you ordered at the local Italian restaurant to carry nearly a whole stick of butter. That’s in addition to the oil used to prepare it.
The chef knows, when that food hits the plate, it will gleam. When you smell it, receptors in you brain will inform that you’re about to eat something substantial. Your mouth is designed to love the feel and taste of fat-laden food. It’s like a mouth massage.
I don’t know about you, but I’m salivating. I’m still thinking about the cheese and bacon from the beginning of this blog. I think tonight’s meal will include mixed veggies, sauteed in a modest amount of butter. I may have to work in some bacon, but either way, it’s all about cellular development.
I’m doing it for the cells.