Dietary fact: fat or fiction?
I know I’ve written about this subject previously and you’ll have to excuse me for banging on about this issue again but it seems that there’s still a lot of confusion, and many (including healthcare practitioners) still hold on to myths and misinformation that prevents them and their patients from taking advantage of the latest science to lose weight and live healthier. So, let’s give this another whirl.
It’s likely that you’re familiar with many of these myths: Fat makes us fat, contributes to heart disease, leads to diabesity; saturated fat is bad; vegetable oils are good…I could continue, but I think you get the gist of it.
None of these are true. Fat is one of the body’s basic building blocks. The average person is made up of between 15 and 30 percent fat! Yet for ages, we’ve unfairly demonised dietary fat, which was followed by a low-fat diet that almost always equates into a high-sugar and high-refined carb diet that contributes to insulin intolerance, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and numerous other conditions. Low-fat diets tend to be heart-unhealthy, high-sugar diets. When people eat less fat, they tend to eat more starch or sugar instead, and this actually increases their levels of the small, dense cholesterol that causes heart attacks.
Let’s consider some fat facts:
Sugar, not fat, makes you fat. The average Westerner consumes 70kg of sugar and similar amount of flour that converts to sugar every year. That’s nearly half a kilo of sugar and flour combined every day. More sugar means your cells become resistant to insulin. Your body pumps out more and more insulin to pull your blood sugar levels back down. It’s impossible to burn all the sugar you eat. Unavoidably, your body stores it as fat, creating insulin intolerance and overall metabolic mess.
Dietary fat is more complex than sugar. There are about 250 names for sugar, but despite very small differences, they all create the same harm. In other words, sugar is sugar is sugar; it is bad for your health full stop. As I mentioned above, fat is more complex and we have saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and even transfats, not to mention subcategories within each group. Some fats are good; others neutral; and yes, a several you should be staying away from.
Saturated fat is not the devil. A review of all the research on saturated fat found no connection between saturated fat and heart disease. As with all fats, quality becomes a major factor. The fats in a fast-food will have an entirely different effect than saturated fat in coconut oil. So let’s stop treating all fat equally.
Some fats are unhealthy. They include transfat and inflammatory vegetable oils. Unfortunately, these fats have increased in our diet as they make us fatter and contribute to cellular inflammation, which plays a role in nearly every chronic condition.
Everyone can benefit from increased omega 3s. Almost everyone is deficient. Ideal ways to get them include eating wild or sustainably raised cold-water fish (at least two servings weekly), buying omega-3 rich eggs, and taking an omega-3 supplement twice a day with breakfast and dinner that contains 800 – 1,200 milligrams of omega-3 fats (a ratio of roughly 3 EPA to 2 DHA is ideal). You’ll find a quality professional omega 3 supplement in my store.
Eating fat can make you lean. Healthy cell walls made from high-quality fats are better equipped to metabolise insulin, which keeps blood sugar more effectively regulated. Without proper blood sugar control, the body stores fat for such time it might require it. The right fats also increase fat burning, make you less hungry, and reduce fat storage. Which means that eating the right fats makes you lose weight, while eating excess sugar and the WRONG kind of fat make you fat.
Good fats can heal. I have many diabetic clients whose health improves when I place them on diet that’s higher in fat
Our brain is about 60 percent fat. Of that percentage, the biggest portion comes from the omega-3 fat called DHA. The brain needs DHA to spark communication between cells. Easy access to high-quality fat boosts cognition, happiness, learning, and memory. In contrast, studies link a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
Your body gives you signs whether or not you are getting enough quality fat. The higher-quality the fat, the better your body will function because, as mentioned above, the body uses the fat you eat to build cell walls. Your body sends signals when it’s not getting enough quality fats. These warning include include: dry, itchy, scaling, or flaking skin; soft, cracked, or brittle nails; hard earwax; tiny bumps on the backs of your arms or chest; achy, stiff joints; and more.
The following is a list of my favourite healthy fats which I highly recommend:
Avocados, Nuts—walnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia nuts, but not peanuts. Seeds—pumpkin, sesame, chia, hemp. Fatty fish, including sardines, mackerel, herring, tuna, krill and wild salmon. I avoid farmed fish. Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin coconut butter. Red palm oil (from sustainable foresting). Grass-fed or sustainably raised animal products.
I eat fat with almost every meal, and I’ve never felt better. The right fats can improve your mood, skin, hair, and nails, while protecting you against Type 2 diabetes, dementia, cancer, and many other undesirables.