I get a lot of people coming into my office who eat low fat foods and as a result, they have a lot of health problems. I wanted to write something that I could just hand to them that would give them the facts about fat and why it’s important to eat it. It’s kind of a part two of an article I wrote a while ago called Don’t Be Fat Phobic. We’ve been pretty brainwashed into thinking the good fats are bad for us and the bad fats are good for us. Read on:
Why do we need fat in our diet?
- Fat provides needed energy. It is difficult to eat the large amounts of food in a very low fat diet to get all the energy you need.
- Fat is needed to prevent essential fatty acid deficiency. The brain is 60% fat. To boost brain-power and improve our memory enhancing abilities, foods with omega-3 fatty acids are necessary.
- Fat is needed so your body can absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, and prevent deficiencies of these vitamins.
- Fat provides flavor and texture to help prevent food from being bland and dry.
- Fat helps food to stay in the stomach longer, giving a greater sense of satisfaction and preventing hunger soon after meals.
- Fat may help your body produce endorphins (natural substances in the brain that produce pleasurable feelings).
- Diets too low in fat (less than 20 – 25%) may trigger cravings.
What does fat do for our body?
- Protects organs and bones from shock and provides support for organs.
- Fat surrounds and insulates nerve fibers to help transmit nerve impulses.
- Fat is part of every cell membrane in the body. It helps transport nutrients and metabolites across cell membranes.
- Your body uses fat to make a variety of other building blocks needed for everything from hormones to immune function.
- Provides back -up energy if blood sugar supplies run out (after 4-6 hours without food).
- Provides insulation under the skin from the cold and the heat.
- Fat helps us produce hormones – especially testosterone.
What happens when we don’t have enough fat in our diet?
- Dry, scaly skin
- Hair loss
- Low body weight/Anorexia
- Cold intolerance
- Poor growth
- Lower resistance to infection
- Poor wound healing
- Loss of menstruation
- Hormone imbalance
- Heart Disease
- Poor vitamin absorption
- Memory problems
- Fats are vital to your health. They transport oxygen to every cell in your body, and they are the basis for every hormone, brain, and nervous system function.
- Fats are the chemically active part of your cell membranes. Without them, nothing works.
- There’s never been a single study that proves saturated fat causes heart disease.
- As heart-disease rates were skyrocketing in the mid-1900s, consumption of animal fat was going down, not up. Consumption of vegetable oils, however, was going up dramatically.
- Half of all heart-attack victims have normal or low cholesterol. Autopsies performed on heart-attack victims routinely reveal plaque-filled arteries in people whose cholesterol was low (as low as 115 in one case).
- Asian Indians – half of whom are vegetarians – have one of the highest rates of heart disease in the entire world. Yup, that fatty meat will kill you, all right.
- When Morgan Spurlock tells you that a McDonald’s salad supplies almost a day’s allowance of fat, he’s basing that statement on the FDA’s low-fat/high-carbohydrate dietary guidelines, which in turn are based on … absolutely nothing. There’s no science behind those guidelines; they were simply made up by a congressional committee.
- Kids who were diagnosed as suffering from ADD have been successfully treated by re-introducing natural saturated fats into their diets. Your brain is made largely of fat.
- Many epileptics have reduced or eliminated seizures by adopting a diet low in sugar and starch and high in saturated animal fats.
- Despite everything you’ve heard about saturated fat being linked to cancer, that link is statistically weak. However, there is a strong link between sugar and cancer. In Europe, doctors tell patients, “Sugar feeds cancer.”
- Being fat is not, in and of itself, bad for your health. The behaviors that can make you fat – eating excess sugar and starch, not getting any exercise – can also ruin your health, and that’s why being fat is associated with bad health. But it’s entirely possible to be fat and healthy. It’s also possible to be thin while developing Type II diabetes and heart disease.
- Saturated fat and cholesterol help produce testosterone. When men limit their saturated fat, their testosterone level drops.
Truths And Lies
These are the lies:
1. Saturated fat causes heart disease. Really? So how come the French eat more saturated fat than anyone and have the least amount of heart disease? Read this.
2. Saturated fat causes cancer. How did cultures like the Inuit and the Masaai NOT get cancer then, if their diets were 60% saturated fat?Trans-fats are another story, but butter is not giving you cancer, trust us. There is not a single study that shows that — at least, one that actually used saturated fat, rather than hydrogenated fats, or fats AND carbohydrates, or poor quality saturated fats WITH carbs… how the study is done counts, but we never hear the details, do we?
3. Low-fat diets are healthy. Even the Harvard School Of Public Health doesn’t believe this anymore (read their release here.) What it HAS done is increase the amount of sugar and carbs we eat and caused the diabetes epidemic we now see, and contributed to the infertility epidemic as well. Never mind the nutritional deficiencies that occur when you don’t eat fat (vitamin D, anyone?) Eat GOOD fats, like butter and coconut oil, and olive oil for your salads, but avoid all low-fat foods like the plague.
Avoid the trans fat which you will find in pastries, a lot of deep fried food, fast foods and margarine.
In the first human study of its kind researchers have linked trans fatty acid consumption to increased aggression. Due to the fact that the human brain (excluding water) is composed mostly of fatty acids, it is understandable how synthetically produced trans fats could adversely affect brain and psychiatric health. In fact, a recent animal study demonstrated that long-term trans fatty acid feeding in animals contributed to the incorporation of these fats in the brain, leading to increased susceptibility of developing movement disorders.
This same question can be raised in regard to the 300+ adverse health effects that statin drugs have been linked to, not the least of which is increased violent behavior towards self (suicide and parasuicide) and other, as a consequence of having low cholesterol. In the same way that trans fatty acids may alter the physiology (and therefore function) of the neurological tissue itself, low cholesterol levels reduces the number of serotonin receptors in the brain, which in turn lowers brain serotonin, making it more difficult to suppress aggressive behavior.
The problem with soybean oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, and other similar oils is that they are mostly composed of polyunsaturated fats (the most highly reactive type of fat) which leaves them prone to oxidation and free radical production when exposed to heat and light.
Processed polyunsaturated oils are the most inflammatory inside our bodies because of their high reactivity to heat and light. This inflammation is what causes many of our internal problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and other degenerative diseases.
As Doctor Merritt mentions above, good fats that you should be using are butter, coc0nut oil, olive oil, flax oil and avocados. These are the fats that taste really good and are the ones that are fun to eat- so put some butter on that broccoli!
These recommendations are for the reduction of stress only. They are not intended as treatment or prescription for any disease, or as a substitute for regular medical care.