I receive so many questions about fats. Which are best; what’s wrong with low-fat; why have we been told that we have to eat low-fat; and on and on. In many cases I have seen that the clients who are seeking help for various health problems are the most unhealthy people I see. They suffer from depression, fatigue, anxiety, low blood sugar, constant hunger, gall bladder problems, and hormonal imbalances.
We have been told by the medical “establishment” and the food industry that we should eat “low-fat” for many years, and yet the obesity rates are rising in a very fast fashion.
Fats have many uses in the body. In the diet, they send a signal to your brain to tell you when to stop eating, utilizing a hormone called “Leptin.” The fat already on the body stores toxins to attempt to keep them from doing harm to the body. The use of good fats adds nutrition and helps to control your appetite so you don’t have to eat as many calories to feel satisfied.
Generally, low-fat means high carbohydrate, especially sugars. This leads to low blood sugar. When your blood sugar drops, your body slows down metabolism. Carbs trigger the release of insulin, which tells your body to store fat and then causes your energy level to drop. Including good fats in your diet helps to keep your blood sugar stable.
The human brain is composed of over 65% fat. Our hormones are made from good fats, as is the outer layer of every single cell in the body. Fats keep your skin, hair, and nails healthy, enhance your immune system, stabilize your blood sugar, and prevent diabetes. Good fats have been shown by extensive research to benefit your heart, normalize your blood fats, and cholesterol, and even prevent some kinds of cancer!
Some steps to help you add good fats to your diet:
1. Avoid all reduced fat products. When food processors remove the fat, they have to put something back and that is usually sugar, sodium, artificial flavorings, and other chemicals. Don’t be afraid to eat real whole food that has been safely raised. The closer to Nature, the better it is for you!
2. Replace margarine and spreads with real butter. Margarine eaters have twice the rate of heart disease as butter eaters (Nutrition Week 3/22/91, 21:12). Saturated fats such as are found in butter are not bad for you. The fatty acids found in artery blockages are unsaturated fats, not saturated fats (The Lancet, 1994, 344:1195). Butter is a natural fat made from cream. Margarine and spreads are artificial concoctions made from chemicals foreign to the body. (More about butter below.)
3. Replace processed vegetable oils and Canola oil with traditional fats. When vegetable oils or Canola oil (Polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs) are processed, the high temperatures and chemicals used to extract the oil from the seed or bean destroy all of the nutritional value and turn the oil rancid before you even bring it home. Even the body temperature of 98.6 degrees will cause the toxic breakdown of PUFAs. Although they damage every part of the body, PUFAs especially attack the endocrine system with an extra assault on the thyroid gland, thus leading to lethargy, depression, sluggishness, and weight gain. The name canola oil is taken from the term “Canadian oil low-acid,” and the oil itself comes from hybridized, genetically modified rapeseed plants. You will not find any canola oil that is marked “certified organic” because the vast majority of it is genetically altered and heavily sprayed. The oil produced from these plants is also likely to contain pesticide residue. Canola oil is bad for your heart, not good as has been publicized (Toxicology 2003; 187: 205-216).
The best fats for us to eat are those that generations of humans have thrived on before hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils were even invented. The best traditional fats include butter, lard, tallow, olive oil, coconut and palm oil, and sesame oil. The best tasting and most nutritious of these oils are cold-pressed and organic.
So, one should use the following “oils”:
Butter: high in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Enhances immune function, protects the liver from toxins, provides nourishment for the heart (especially when under stress), gives integrity and flexibility to our cell membranes, arteries and nerves. It is also filled with minerals like manganese, chromium, zinc, copper, and selenium. A good source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which gives protection against cancer and helps the body to build muscle rather than store fat. Also good for preventing arthritis and joint stiffness and for ensuring that calcium in the body is stored in bones rather than the joints and other tissues. (The Wulzen Factor) This is destroyed by pasteurization.
Tallow: very stable for frying.
Olive Oil: rich source of antioxidants, relieves pain and inflammation of arthritis, normalizes cholesterol, stimulates strong gall bladder contractions, and increases longevity. Can be used at moderate temperatures for sautéing, and is a perfect base for salad dressings. It is important not to make Olive Oil your only oil–your body needs the fats from animals also.
Coconut and Palm Oils: strong antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Extremely stable and can be used in high heat baking, frying, sautéing, and especially for making popcorn!!
If you are just beginning to add good fats to your diet after many years of low-fat foods, your best choice at the start is going slowly and choosing coconut oil.
Thanks Lori Lipinski, The Well Being Journal, and the Weston A. Price Foundation.