Milwaukee Edition

Thumbs-Up on Fats

Good Fat Doesn’t Make Us Fat

Craevschii Family/Shutterstock.com

In an era of too much information, the role of fats in our diet has been a victim of not enough information. Today’s turnaround in nutritional thinking acknowledges natural fats as being vital to heart health and weight loss.

Heart Health Benefit

A recent metastudy in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a journal of the American College of Physicians, concluded that saturated fat does not appear to increase heart disease risk, overturning almost 60 years of accepted medical thought. The researchers analyzed data from 76 studies involving more than 600,000 people and found that those that ate the most saturated, or “bad”, fat did not show a higher risk of cardiovascular disease compared with those that ate the least. Note that processed trans fats remain a villain, still deemed a risk to heart health per the metastudy.

The misleading information began in the 1950s, when Physiologist Ancel Keys, Ph.D., discovered a correlation between diets high in saturated fats and higher cholesterol levels. Soon, the lowfat diet was born. In 2000, further research introduced the concepts of good and bad fats. More recent analysis confirmed this finding with the refinement that saturated fats increase both types of cholesterol. However, the latest research from the journal BMJ shows that saturated fat does not increase the number of LDL, or “bad”, particles, a predictor of cardiovascular disease. Instead, it makes existing LDL particles larger, a fairly benign situation in regard to such disease.

Weight Loss Benefit

Fat doesn’t even make you fat, claims Mark Hyman, a well-known medical doctor in Lenox, Massachusetts, and author of Eat Fat, Get Thin: Why the Fat We Eat Is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health. “The theory that all calories have the same impact on your weight and metabolism remains one of the most persistent nutrition myths,” says this practitioner of functional medicine who points out that we’ve been sidetracked by wrong thinking. “Eating fat can make you lean. Healthy cell walls made from high-quality fats are better able to metabolize insulin, which keeps blood sugar better regulated. Without proper blood sugar control, the body socks away fat for a rainy day. The right fats also increase fat burning, diminish hunger and reduce fat storage,” he notes.

Whole30, a 30-day diet revolving around clean eating, also emphasizes healthy fats. Devised in 2009 by Dallas Hartwig, a functional medicine practitioner and certified sports nutritionist, and Melissa Hartwig, a certified sports nutritionist, the program aims to reduce inflammation, detoxify the body and reset metabolism. The Salt Lake City, Utah, authors of the New York Times bestselling The Whole30 recommend healthy fats to keep us full and rev up metabolism. Recommended healthy fats include coconut milk and oil, avocados, olive oil, organic ghee (clarified butter) and raw nuts.

Josh Axe, a natural medicine practitioner and clinical nutritionist in Nashville, Tennessee, recommends the healthy fats contained in avocados, organic butter and ghee from grass-fed cows and goats, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, sardines, walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds.

“Butter’s experiencing a comeback as a healthy fat as its benefits become more widely known,” says Axe. “The omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in butter help the brain function properly and improve skin health.” Ghee, an ancient Indian version of butter, is lactose- and casein-free, while being loaded with fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E, says Axe. These vitamins are best absorbed by the body when they’re in a fat substance and then stored in the gastrointestinal tract, keeping metabolism and digestion on track, he notes. Ghee’s high level of vitamin K2, best known as a natural blood coagulator, “also helps strengthen bones, while the fatty acids found in it improve digestion and reduce inflammation.”

Healthy Levels of Fat

“If you’re active, about 40 percent of your calories should come from carbohydrates, another 30 percent from protein and the other 30 percent from fat in general,” says Axe, adding that this has the added benefit of helping prevent arteriosclerosis. “Some people may consume a greater percentage of healthy fats if the goal is to become a fat burner.”

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss and health,” Hyman reminds us. “Low-carb, higherfat diets work for most people, but for some, they may not be optimal in the long term.”


Judith Fertig writes food health articles and cookbooks from Overland Park, KS (JudithFertig.com).

 

Prime Sources of Healthy Fats

Functional medicine physician Mark Hyman suggests that we include four to five servings of fat in our diets every day. “In the last five years, the scientific evidence has been mounting that high-fat diets outperform low-fat diets for weight loss and for revising every single indication of heart disease risk, including abnormal cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension and inflammation,” he says.

Each amount listed indicates a serving size.

Nuts (a handful of walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts or cashews)

Seeds (a handful of pumpkin, sunflower of flaxseed)

Most plant-based liquid oils (one tablespoon of olive, safflower, sesame, avocado, macadamia, grape seed or walnut oil)

Fatty fish (4 ounces of salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, tuna or trout)

Avocado (one-half to one avocado) Extra virgin coconut oil (one tablespoon) Organic coconut milk (one-quarter cup) Olives (one-quarter cup)

Grass-fed animal butter, clarified butter or ghee (one tablespoon)

Aim to eat fats that remain liquid (not solid) at room temperature; it’s a sure sign of heart-healthy, unsaturated fats.


Source: Adapted from Eat Fat, Get Thin, by Mark Hyman, M.D.


This article appears in the March 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Cedarburg Garden Walk Showcases Stunning Landscapes

The 10th annual Cedarburg Garden Walk, sponsored by the Cedarburg Woman’s Club, takes place this year from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 14 and 15.

Childhood is a Verb! Promotes Natural Childhood for Children

The book comes in two versions: the whole book, with black-and-white illustrations; and a condensed version with color illustrations and a short summary of the full content.

New Solar and Electric Vehicle Charging and Training Facility in Wisconsin

The lab is designed to charge electric vehicles and provide hands-on training at MREA’s headquarters in Custer, Wisconsin.

Be Reiki Expands Services in New Location

Healing arts practitioner Rhiana Tehan, of Be Reiki, has opened a new, larger energy healing facility located at 3082 Main Street, in East Troy.

Letter from Publisher

Wisconsinites are fortunate to have an abundance of local, organically grown choices. In its 2017 organic agriculture status report, the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems reported that, nationally, Wisconsin is second only to California in the overall number of organic farms and in the number of farms adding organic acres.

New Berlin Chiropractor 
Offers a Comprehensive 
Approach to Wellness

Dr. Eliesha Evans, of Evans Chiropractic & Pain Relief Laser Clinic, has a steadfast determination to help her patients get well.

Warming Planet Will Worsen Sleep

Rising temperatures could cause six additional nights of poor sleep per 100 people by 2050 and 14 by 2099, say scientists.

Exercise Benefits Cancer Survivors

Breast cancer survivors that regularly perform moderate-to-vigorous physical activity show improved attention, memory and multitasking abilities.

Eating Apples and Tomatoes Repairs Lungs

Fresh tomatoes and fruit, especially apples, help heal damaged lungs of ex-smokers and can slow the natural decline of lung function that typically occurs after age 30.

Steam Baths Ease Allergies

Thais with hay fever that soaked in half-hour steam baths three times a week reported fewer symptoms such as sneezing, nasal itching and congestion.

Bee Venom Is Powerful Lyme Disease Remedy

Bee venom reduces the Lyme disease bacterium more effectively than antibiotics, reports the Lyme Disease Research Group, in Connecticut.

Walking Speed May Predict Dementia

Seniors whose walking slowed by as little as 0.1 percent a year were 47 percent more likely to decline cognitively.

Add your comment: