For many years, especially since the 1950s, our diet has changed. Certain dogma called “fat-phobic” advice has been in the media and even embraced by the American Heart Association for many years. However, when you reduce fat in the diet, and there is a need to make processed food with more sugar to taste good. The last numbers I have heard from the functional medicine standpoint is 145 pounds of sugar per person per year. It might even been higher today. This is the real culprit of most of our diseases. In this blog, I would like to convey that we need to take the white stuff out of our diet and add back the good fats. Since I have changed my way of feeding my microflora in my gut, I am pleased to say I have lowered my blood sugar twenty-five points! I’ll be ordering my labs for myself called HbA1C in the next couple months.
Not all fats are created equal. Some of the fats I will be writing about today have great potential for promoting health and fighting disease. Others do the exact opposite. Mainstream marketing doesn’t differentiate. The science research is not letting us bury our heads in the low-fat sand any longer.
Incorporating healthy fat with the right combination of amino acids will improve your feeling of fullness and satisfaction, provide body fuel, and promote optimal cellular repair. You cannot make cells without fat. Fats are the precursors of cell messengers that mediate inflammation. Fat is critical for hormone production and for heart, brain and nervous system function.
Some fats will kill you and some will keep you healthy and probably save your life. Below are the eight classes of fats.
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are the healthiest kind of fat you can eat, according to research. Not only are they anti-inflammatory, but they also keep your blood lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides) healthy, help balance your blood sugar, and even help cut visceral fat by up to 20 percent. MUFAs are found in olives and olive oil, nuts and nut oils, and avocados (when I am not traveling, I try to eat a whole avocado everyday). I even carry macadamia nut oil on my trips because it contains a greater percentage of MUFAs than the highest quality olive oil. It also has a 40 degree higher temperature tolerance before changing its healthy properties than olive oil.
Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and are found in fish oil, cold-water fish, walnuts, flaxseed and chia seeds. They aid in controlling hunger, turning off your fat genes, controlling blood sugar, and upping your metabolism. They have been shown to aid in reducing cholesterol and preventing arthritis, asthma, ADHD, dementia and even depression.
Medium-chain triglycerides are an important fat-burning tool and can help speed up your metabolism. These are found in butter, ghee and coconut oil.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are a group of about eighteen different kinds of fatty acids. Some are healthy (as mentioned in Omega-3s above) and some aren’t (like canola oil I’ll mention below). The good ones can provide the energy producing mitochondria of your cells with fatty acids that support metabolic efficiency.
Trans-fatty acids are the worst fats the world has seen and have been in our food supply for decades even after science discovered they are deadly. Deceptive marketing on our packaging and, in the media, not providing the scientific proof in differentiating the types of fats. They are man-made, our intestinal bacteria cannot digest these foods, so they end up lining our livers and arterial cell walls, causing death and disease. These are also known as partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, and are found in margarine and other butter substitutes. When I travel and my clients, we insist on particular attention to detail to the chefs to make sure we don’t ingest these types of PUFAs oil.
Omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory and are abundant in processed foods, most cooking oils (including canola mentioned above), and pretty much every food you eat unless it is organic. These are also called PUFAs, but the bad ones. Up to 90 percent of the omega-6 in our diet comes from linoleic acid, which promotes inflammation and fat storage. Some of the foods are grain-based desserts, salad dressings, potato chips, corn chips, pizza, pasta, and popcorn to name a few.
Omega-9 fatty acids are the neutral oils that do not lead to inflammation and are healthy to consume. The biggest sources of these are: olives, macadamia nuts, avocados, almonds, pecans and cashews.
Saturated fats are found primarily in animal products like butter, cheese and meat. Within the last couple years, research in the last couple years is proving that saturated fat is not the problem the mainstream “experts” have made it out to be. The only time saturated fat becomes really dangerous is when it’s combined with sugar and refined flour to produce all those packaged, processed foods you find in the supermarket snack aisle and in fast food restaurants.
As long as you are getting saturated fat from organic, grass-fed, grass-finished, minimally processed sources, it is perfectly okay to eat in moderation. I even order my grass-fed and finished beef and chicken and are delivered to my home. It tastes so much better and I’m not going back. Most of your fat intake should come from the protein and amino acids you eat. The rest will come from nuts, avocado, fish and oils. If you get the majority of your protein from wild, hormone and antibiotic-free animal foods such as eggs, salmon, chicken, grass-finished beef and pasture-raised butter, you will get the essential monounsaturated and saturated fats you need in the right ratios. Also, please do not forget that beef is not just one big saturated fat. About 50 percent of the fat in beef is unsaturated, the kind that we are being told to eat (but not from commercially raised grain fed cows and happy, well-fed cows).
Dairy needs a mention here too. Milk is a saturated fat too. The same rules apply to dairy as well as any protein drinks you may use: the source must be cows, sheep, goats, or yaks that were fed and raised how they were supposed to be raised; without antibiotics and growth hormones. I want to be clear, when I mention dairy, I am talking about cheese or butter. I don’t mention yogurt (even the unsweetened ones) or milk.
When a study was done by a food scientist in Denmark, he analyzed urine and fecal samples from fifteen men whose diets either contained cheese and milk or contained butter with no other dairy products. The findings were those in the cheese group had higher levels of butyric acid, a gut microbe and short chain fatty acids that has been linked to lower obesity and faster metabolism.
A University of Cambridge study raised some very important questions about the link between saturated fats and heart disease. In the meta-analysis of seventy-two different studies, researchers found that total saturated fat consumption was not linked to coronary heart disease.
With this great summation of information, please know there is plethora amount of scientific information that is not getting out there to the mainstream public. I feel privileged to be of service to you to reach out to your family and friends and forward them to start the small changes to be the best person they can be to the world.