8 October 2013

Some Facts on Fats...

I have been doing a lot of research lately on food and how it affects us on a cellular level. Fat in particular is always a hot topic for debate. No matter what I read and where I read it, some expert, dietician or nutritionist (even well known nutritionists) are saying the same thing...

Cut down on saturated fats and limit fatty food because it has been linked to 'bad' cholesterol and is a risk for heart disease.

For one thing, there is no such thing as bad cholesterol. Cholesterol has one structure and one structure only. You can Google it if you want...its what I did. I also have books on anatomy and physiology and yep, the structure hasn't changed (and my books are quite old!).



So, let's forget the 'bad' cholesterol theory as is doesn't exist.

However, thanks to clever marketing, the fate of our health is well and truly in the hands of food manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies who want to keep us fat and ill. We have been cajoled (scared) into buying what we have been told is good for us and will help keep us healthy; but all I see is a never ending increase in health problems (weight gain, insulin resistance, heart disease, IBS...the list goes on).

Let's take margarine for instance. This is what the The Fat Information Service has to say about it:

"Reducing your consumption of trans fats and saturated fats and replacing them with beneficial unsaturated fats in the diet contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels, which can help reduce risk of heart diseaseOne of the main ways to do this is replacing butter with margarine and healthy oilsHowever, there are many unfounded myths about margarine which can put people off making the necessary changes to benefit their health, despite having no scientific background or supportive evidence".

No scientific background or supportive evidence? Really?

They obviously haven't read Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill by Udo Erasmus. I mean after all, he spent 6 years researching the fats about fats and oils so I guess he doesn't know anything right?

Udo gave a whole chapter to the differences against margarine and butter and guess what? Surprise, surprise, butter was the winner! I don't have the book on me right now so if you have read it, head over to Amazon.

Another thing the Fat Service mentions is that margarine "primary ingredients in margarine include vegetable or plant seed oils, water, milk and salt; all of which are naturally sourced".

Lovely! They take a liquid oil, heat it to high temperatures, that turn it in to something unrecognisable. Add the other ingredients and voila! You have margarine. Anything that's man made like margarine (and quorn), should be avoided. Yes, there are some nice (processed) foods out there (I love corn chips!) but if you are going to eat something, at least choose a natural source rather than something someone invented (usually by accident).

Because of the rise in heart disease and cholesterol, many doctors, dieticians and nutritionists supported the use of margarine to help lower cholesterol levels and protect against cardiovascular diseases. Of course they would, many of the 'professional' organisations these experts belong to (like the Fat Information Service) are heavily funded by the very food manufactures who make the darn stuff. It wouldn't surprise me if they got a big bonus out of it as well.

Yes its true that animal foods contain saturated fat, I won't deny that. Also the amount of saturated fat has increased. So if you consume a lot of red meat, cheese etc, you won't be doing yourself any favours.

HOWEVER!

A lot of meat consumed in the UK comes from animals fed on grains to fatten them up quicker. This increases their fat stores. Cows, pigs, ducks or what ever your meat choice is, are mostly reared via intensive farming. The conditions these animals live in are appalling; they are treated badly and many suffer with all sort of health issues; many die as a result. On top of that they are pumped full of hormones and antibiotics to keep them disease free.

They are then slaughtered and prepared for the supermarkets. What you end up with is cheap, fatty meat. You have a nice plate of stake complete with antibiotics, hormones and extra fat in addition to an animal that lived a very unhappy life.

Now compare that with a cow that was raised, organically; reared out doors, allowed to roam free and eat the freshly grown pasture. What you would end up with a tougher, leaner meat that's higher in omega 3 oils. This meat would be much better for you but the trouble is, it'll cost more money. Much more. If you are on a budget, you would opt for cheaper meat wouldn't you? Of course you would.

What I say is...don't bother. If you can't afford organic meat, stick to plant based foods or opt for fish a 2-3 times per week. Also, whilst you are at it, use butter or coconut oil for frying. That low calorie spray on stuff is gross man! I have no idea what's in it (I must check) but I can tell you now, your body won't recognise it.

When it comes to fats, turn to natural sources (I beg you!). Mother nature knew what she was doing when she gave us nuts, seeds, avocados and full fat milk (if you can tolerate it) Think about it. We have something called Essential Fatty Acids or EFAs. EFAs can only be obtained from the diet. If you are busy cutting out all sources of fat because you were told to do so by a health professional, they have seriously undermined your health.

Can you imagine feeding your baby skimmed breast milk? It ain't gonna happy baby!

Don't get me wrong, I am not against conventional medicine; in fact, its necessary when things go really wrong. I'm just frustrated at the bad advice they dish out. I guess many of them are the spokespeople for food manufacturers. Speculative but possibly true...

Personally, I stopped listening to conflicting nutrition advice years ago and started doing what felt right. I eat a lot of fat, far more than any health expert would advocate and I have never felt better and healthier. I eat avocados daily. I literally drink fat off my plate. Ok, many of you wouldn't do that but hey that's my thang!

One last thing. Saturated fat don't cause high cholesterol. I've research this to death. If that is the case, what happens to the fat you ingest? Next time you go for a number two, look at your stools. If they are a yellowish colour, they float, they stink to high heaven and are hard to flush, that's where the (trans) fat is!

Fat is not be be feared but embraced as part of a nourishing, nurturing lifestyle so go ahead, eat fat and enjoy!