The Skinny on Fats

Fats – The Myths and the Truths

Not all fats are created equally.  This may be news to some based on the bad rap that fats have received over the years.  However, it is imperative to make the distinction between good fats and bad fats or as author Udo Erasmus likes to say “Fats that Heal and Fats that Kill” which he titled his book.  Even if you look at the USDA food pyramid which is designed to help us know what to eat and in what proportions lump all fats together in one big category.  What a mistake.  

Let’s look at a few things that should get our brains thinking in a new way about fats. (By the way, the human brain is made up of 60% fat)

1-      The low-fat craze has been in full force since the late 70’s yet the rates of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity are higher than ever before.  Logical conclusion: low-fat diets are not the answer

2-      55% of the nutrients in breast milk are fats.  If fats are necessary for a developing baby and result in them growing and thriving, how can they be bad for the rest of us?  Logical conclusion:  fats are necessary for a healthy body at any age.  

3-      Cultures that eat a great deal more fat than we do- even saturated fat don’t suffer from the same ailments we do.  For instance, some African tribes eat up to 1 full pound of saturated fat per day.  Polynesian and Sri Lankan cultures eat tremendous amounts of coconut oil (very high in fat).  Yet amazingly, both of these cultures have little if any heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, etc.  Logical conclusion:  fat is not the problem.

Take a minute to really think about these things.  If common sense kicks in it should be apparent that some of the notions we have about fats could actually be incorrect.  Let’s break through these myths about fat.

Myth #1:  Fat makes us fat

Myth Buster:  as seen above, society has done a great job of pushing a low-fat diet as the answer to avoiding heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  However, this plan has actually caused the things it was touted as being able to prevent.  Fat does not make you fat.  It is the inability to burn fat that makes you fat.  There are many factors involved in being unable to burn fat but many of them are dietary in nature.  You may be asking “if fat doesn’t make us fat, what does?”   The answer is Sugar!  It is the overabundance of sugar that is making us fat, not the fat.  In the next newsletter we will tackle subject of sugar. 

Myth #2 – Dietary Fat causes heart disease

Myth Buster – While it is true that bad fats do contribute to clogged arteries, scarring, and heart disease, good fats actually prevent heart disease!  That’s right- the right kind of fats are preventative in nature.  The good fats actually protect your organs (including your heart), keep your hormones functioning properly, boost your metabolism and fat burning ability, improve cognitive function, allow for proper cellular detoxification, etc.  The list goes on and on.  Remember the breast milk?

So let’s break down the list of good and bad fats.  You will notice that the good fats are found in nature, unadulterated by man, and much less processed than the bad fat counterparts.  It is also important to consider heat, light, and air as both can cause the fats to become damaged. 

Good Fats/Oils:  Raw Nuts & Seeds, Grass Fed Beef, Fish, Eggs, Butter, Organic Dairy Products, Olives, Avocados, Coconut Products.  Do Not Heat:  Flax Oil, Cod Liver Oil (supplement) Hemp Seed Oil, Walnut Oil, Avocado Oil; Moderate Heat:  Grapeseed Oil, Olive Oil; High Heat:  Coconut Oil 

Bad Fats/Oils:  Roasted Nuts & Seeds and Nut Butters, Non-organic Dairy Products, Trans Fats (margarine, synthetic butters & shortenings), Corn Oil, Vegetable Oil, Canola Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Soybean Oil, Safflower Oil, and Sunflower Oil), Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils.

Today’s Nutrition Tip:  Coconut Products 

Coconut products have acquired a very bad rap because of the high saturated fat content.  However, not all saturated is fat is bad.  In fact, here are some benefits that make coconut and coconut oil one of the healthiest foods you can add to your diet.

  • Contains MCFA’s (medium chain fatty acids)- these types of fats are readily usable by the human body.  It is converted into quick energy and is less likely to be stored as fat & obesity.
  • Shown to support the thyroid, heart, and immune system.
  • Has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral properties!
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