“Fat doesn’t make us fat… Who knew?”

By on October 6, 2012 under Nutrition

I borrowed the title quote from David Perlmutter, MD, a neurologist and expert on the role of nutrition in brain health and neurological disease.

Like cholesterol, fat has been vilified by the media for decades (if you missed it, read last week’s blog “Cholesterol is a good thing”). One of the biggest health misconceptions is that fats need to be avoided in order to lose weight, prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol. The truth is that fats are essential to your health, especially your heart and brain.

Here is some evidence that fat is good:

  • When head to head studies were done comparing low fat, Mediterranean, and high fat diets, it was actually the high fat diets that had the greatest improvement in weight loss, blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol.
  • Other studies have shown that high fat diets do not increase risk of colon and breast cancer as previously thought and that women eating low fat diets actually had a higher incidence of breast cancer.
  • Since the 1970’s, when low-fat diets were recommended by “experts” and there was an explosion of low-fat and non-fat foods, the rate of increase in diabetes and obesity has more than doubled.
  • Studies show that intake of olive oil, a healthy monounsaturated fat, decreases risk of stroke, blood pressure, LDL, and inflammation.

Here are my recommendations:

  • Bad fats=trans-fats which are fats that are chemically altered and added to packaged and processed foods to increase shelf life and thus increase profits for food manufacturers. Stop eating foods that come in a box and a bag. Do not eat foods containing “partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated” oils. Stop eating fake butter – 99% of the butter substitutes contain hydrogenated fats. As Dr. Perlutter says, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter? I can’t believe people are eating it.” Remember a food package can be labeled “no trans-fats” and still contain up to 1/2 gram of trans-fats per serving so always read the ingredient list. Better yet, eat more foods that don’t have an ingredient list.
  • Good fats come from nuts, seeds, (wild) fatty fish, and oils made from from seeds, vegetables, and nuts (avocado, walnut, olive, coconut oils – to name a few).
  • Avoid canola oil. Canola oil has been touted as one of the healthiest fats. Have you ever eaten a canola (not cannoli) or a rapeseed? Canola oil is an industrial product benefitting only the food industry. In my opinion, canola oil IS NOT food. Stay tuned for next week’s blog for the truth about canola oil.
  • Do not buy packaged “low-fat” and “non-fat” foods. These are fake foods that substitute fats with sugars, additives, and fillers (what I call “food like substances”) in order to trick you into thinking you are eating healthy while they make a profit.
  • When you increase good fats in your diet, you MUST decrease sugar and white flour which are the primary culprit of the increase in obesity, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, dementia, and other chronic disease. Adding fat to a diet high in refined carbohydrates is not a good combination.