Kamis, 29 November 2012

Does Fat Make You Fat?  


I'm a Holistic Nutritionist that educates and coaches people on the nutritional benefits of eating whole natural foods. I want to talk about one nutrient in our food supply, FAT, and what happens to our body when we eat it.

There are bad fats, the worst fat, and good fats.
Bad Fats come to us as refined oils and saturated fats.
Refined oils are conventionally produced and mechanically pressed. They are also treated with chemical solvents. Then they are heated at high temperatures and filtered many times to deodorize them and remove impurities. And to protect them from becoming rancid, preservatives are added to them.
Refined oils come to us as polyunsaturated oils like safflower, corn, canola, sunflower, and peanut oil. They are difficult for the body to metabolize, so they get stored in fat cells along with the other toxins in your food supply, and your body gets fat.

Since these oils have been introduced to our food supply, we suffer more from degenerative diseases than ever before. We use these oils in many meals we prepare at home. They are also in restaurant and processed foods.

Saturated Fats are usually hard at room temperature. The main sources come from animal products like red meat, pork, lamb, poultry and their by-products. By-products are eggs, and dairy products such as milk, yogurt, butter, cheese, and ice cream. Saturated fats are in tropical plants such as coconuts, coconut butter or oil, palm kernel oil, and palm oil, however, they are not the same number of chains as saturated fats from animals. I'll talk about them in a few minutes.

We have heard about saturated fats contributing to high cholesterol and heart disease. Outside sources of cholesterol come from animal products, not plants. There is little difference in cholesterol content of meat, poultry, or fish as some believe. Even though our cells need saturated fat, the body can make it from carbohydrates.

There is a solution to the saturated fat and the cholesterol issue. Eat whole plant foods. Plants have no cholesterol and little saturated fat, if any.

The Worst Fats are trans-fats. Like the oils mentioned above, they are highly refined, heated, and filtered using chemicals. They raise total cholesterol and lower HDL ("good") cholesterol. They are not natural and cannot benefit health. Your body has to put this fat somewhere, so it parks it in the fat cells in your belly, hips, butt, and breasts, causing weight gain, obesity, and arterial disease.

Trans-fats are plentiful in our food supply. Trans-fats are unsaturated oils put through a hydrogenation process. This is where hydrogen and vegetable oil spins at a rapid rate to form a solid fat. Nearly 90% of trans-fats in foods come from hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Hydrogenation makes food more stable, changes the texture, adds more shelf life, and preserves freshness. Hydrogenation is widely used in the fast-food industry and restaurants for deep-frying. The remaining 10% come from animal foods such as meat and dairy, and possibly a minute amount from vegetables.

The US Department of Agriculture shows the most trans-fat in our food supply come from:
Food /Percentage
Cakes, Cookies, Crackers, Pies, Bread, etc. / 40%
Animal Products / 1%
Margarine / 17%
Fried Potatoes / 8%
Potato Chips, Corn Chips, Popcorn / 5%
Household Shortening / 4%
Breakfast Cereal and Candy / 5%

Good Fats come to us as Omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fats and some tropical oils.
Omega-3 fats are polyunsaturated fats that are good for you and easy to metabolize. They come in many plant foods such as dark leafy greens, broccoli, sea vegetables, and oils extracted from selected seeds such as flax, chia, and hemp seeds. Warning: they are sensitive to heat, and become rancid, oxidize, and form free radicals when used in cooking or left unrefrigerated. It's best to add seed oils to salad dressings and smoothies.

Monounsaturated fats are considered beneficial. They can protect you against chronic diseases. They are found in olives, avocados, and most nuts, excluding walnuts. Cold-pressed and minimally processed olive and avocado oils are good sources of monounsaturated fat.

Tropical Oils are plant foods that have saturated fats. They are coconuts, coconut oil and coconut butter, palm oil, and palm kernel oil. We are told to stay away from tropical oils because they will increase cholesterol levels, clog our arteries, and eventually kill us with heart disease or stroke. Logic would tell us this is true based on what we are told. But, is this true for coconuts?

Tropical populations consume large amounts of coconuts along with their natural oils. The opposite results are proven. Studies done in the South Pacific Islands show heart disease to be rare and no confirmation coconuts and their oils had harmful effects on the population.

Coconuts and their oils contain medium chain fatty acids, which are different from saturated fats having large chain fatty acids that cause damage to our arteries. Coconuts and unrefined their oils contain about 40% lauric acid. The body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, acting as antiviral, antimicrobial, and antifungal, destroying harmful microorganisms in the body. Coconuts can be a powerful tool to fight against immune diseases such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, and recently reported to have a significant effect on brain function as a natural treatment for dementia.

Palm and palm kernel oils are refined and heated at high temperatures. They are added to processed foods. These are the tropical oils to stay away from.

So, do fats make you fat?
Yes it can, if you are counting calories. There are twice as many calories in fats than in carbohydrates and protein foods. So use the good fats with care.

And, yes it can, if you are eating refined oils and trans-fats from partially hydrogenated oils. They are difficult for the liver to process so they go into fat cells and held captive, making you fatter.

No, it won't make you fat if you are eating good fats in moderation.
Here's a reminder of where to get the good fats:
* Omega-3 fatty acids from dark green leafy vegetables; broccoli; sea vegetables; flax, chia, and hemp seeds; and walnuts
* Monounsaturated fats from extra virgin olive oil, best added to foods after cooking, drizzled on soups and vegetables in place of butter, and used in salad dressings. You can eat avocados they are not processed. They come from nature.
* Avocado is also a monounsaturated fat and along with coconut oils they can tolerate higher cooking temperatures. Use them for sautéing your foods and on vegetables before you roast them.

by Jane Falke



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