Thursday, April 5, 2012

5 Suggestions About Fat Intake

In the 1990's erroneous information about fat put Americans into a health tailspin.  Everything was supposed to be low fat.  The lower your fat content in food the more gold stars you won.  All kinds of foods suddenly appeared with the zero fat or low fat label.  Doctors, health educators, and nutritionists alike all told their clients to eat less fat.  "Fat is bad for you," was said over and over like a broken record.  As with most new health information there was a certain amount of exaggeration and overkill.  High cholesterol was attributed to too much saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet.  High cholesterol was associated with heart disease so fat was implicated in heart disease. With twenty years of additional knowledge we now know that the fat "problem" is far more complex.

First, there are good fats and bad fats.  A blanket zero-fat diet is throwing the baby out with the bath water.  Two fatty acids are essential (only available from your diet).  Cell membranes - all 70 billion of them in your body -- need fats to keep the cell wall intact.  Without the right kind of fat to form those membranes the cell wall gets weak and over reactive and cells rupture; disease occurs.  Hormones, the chemical communication system, need fats for their chemical structure.  Skin needs fat to prevent hypersensitivity and excessive drying out.  The human being can use a variety of fats for all these functions.  Some fats are better than others though.

Second, when the food industry removed fat it replaced it with sugar, high fructose corn syrup particularly; because it was cheap.  This was to keep their product tasting good, so people would continue to buy it.  Fructose, however, gets metabolized into fat - Very Low Density Lipids (VLDL) to be specific.  Thirty percent of ingested fructose, in fact, becomes fat that is stored in the liver or floats around in your blood, clogging arteries.  Reduce your fat by avoiding fructose!

So, in light of these two facts here are five other suggestions for what to do about your fat intake.

  1. You need fat.  About 30% of your total calories should come from fat every day.  If you are eating a 2,000 calorie diet, this is 600 calories or about 65 gm.  This sounds like a lot because we've been so conditioned to think zero is better.  Once upon a time humans probably consumed over 100 gm of naturally-occurring fats and prior to 1910 heart disease was rare.
  2. You need the right kind of fat.  It should NOT be hydrogenated fat (e.g. margarine or Crisco) or trans-fats!  Between the time it was first introduced in 1910 and 1920 coronary artery disease doubled.
  3. You need the right kind of fat.  Thirty percent (30%) of your total daily fat intake should be saturated fat.  It needs to be NATURAL saturated fat, like from coconut oil, butter, organic eggs, raw dairy, or meat from grass-fed and uncaged animals.  Animals fed corn and grain form different saturated fats that possess different energetics and get metabolized differently creating aberrant health effects (e.g. heart disease.)
  4. You need the right kind of fat.  Sixty percent (60%) of the fat total should be from Mono-unsaturated fats, like olive oil and oils found in almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, and avocados.
  5. You need the right kind of fat.  Ten percent (10%) of the fat total should be from Poly-unsaturated fats, like flax and fish oils, evening primrose oil, black currant oil, hemp oil, and some other nut and seed oils.  
 You can have your fatty acid balance checked in my office to see if your body has the right amounts of each.

Naturewords for your health....  

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