Today, the majority of people eat a diet low in fat, or high in rancid or hydrogenated fats. Did you know that on a cellular level, a low-fat (or “poor fat”) diet is detrimental to your health? The last 20 years we have been led to believe that fat is the cause of so many diseases. It is so engrained in our minds, that when I tell someone how important it is to eat healthy fats, they usually look at me like I am making up some kind of crazy new idea. The processed food industry is behind the marketing of fat as evil, and it has worked well for these companies, but it has done nothing to improve the average American’s health. Just the opposite is happening: we are getting fatter, sicker, and struggling with tremendous food addictions. Let’s start with cholesterol. This is not an evil substance that enters the body through animal food, as we have been led to believe. It is a necessary nutrient for our brains, and a precursor to many of our hormones. It helps with cellular repair. Our body makes cholesterol. Most people think that the lower our cholesterol is, the better! On the contrary!! For the majority of people, eating properly sourced red meat and whole eggs as part of a diet rich in vegetables, will not result in high levels of blood cholesterol. (Interesting fact: the yolk is the most nutritious part of the egg! Please don’t throw them away!)
Canola, corn, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, soy and margarine, are highly processed and detrimental to your health. These types of fats along with processed sugar, are the cause of the bad cholesterol issues in America today. These oils are used in almost every processed food and condiment that you buy today. These oils are highly processed by heat and, due to their unstable bonds, react with oxygen and become oxidized (rancid) very easily. When these oils are part of our daily diet, they cause inflammation at a cellular level. These oxidized fats have been conclusively linked to heart disease. Saturated fats from animal products do not oxidize easily due to their stable bonds, and are much safer for cooking on high heat. Pure olive oil is much less processed than the “seed” oils, and can be a very healthy fat for cooking at lower temperatures and for topping vegetables.
According to Sarah Ballantyne (2017), “When processed vegetable oils like sunflower and canola oil oxidize, they generate many degradation products, including aldehydes,
Ketones, epoxides, and hydroxy compounds. Many of these degradation products are considered toxic and potentially carcinogenic” (p.261).
Cholesterol is used by the body to repair damaged inflamed arteries from oxidized fats in processed oils. These unstable oils have been marketed as healthy, and this could not be any further from the truth. They have been modified so much that the body does not recognize the molecular structure.
Here is why you want to eat healthy fats that are minimally processed, like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter from grass fed cow milk, ghee, and duck fat. Without cholesterol, we can not make thyroid hormones, progesterone, testosterone, estrogen or cortisol. Our brain cells are made up of a lipid bilayer that functions on fat to be healthy. Healthy natural fats help to fill us up and make us feel satisfied, and our blood sugar is better regulated. This keeps us from snacking on processed foods and having unhealthy blood sugar spikes. Fat is needed in the diet in order for the body to absorb the many minerals we need from our food. Without these minerals, the body’s enzymatic processes are blocked. Fat soluble vitamins A, D, K and E require fat to be absorbed, and many of the animal fats are high in these key vitamins.
I hope this information will encourage you to take a look at your diet, and consider phasing out some of the highly processed oils for fats that are closer to the way nature made them. Read labels in the grocery store, and look for sources of these oils in your condiments and packaged foods. Consider making your own salad dressing using olive or avocado oil. Many health food stores use canola oil in their deli foods. Speak up and request extra virgin olive oil. Bring a small container of your own olive oil and vinegar to restaurants to add to salads and or vegetables. Small changes like this can have a huge impact on reducing inflammation, and giving you more energy and focus!
Call Holistic Women And Families Natural Health Center to set up your nutrition consult today. We can help guide you through the misleading and often conflicting diet information that is presented by the main stream media and processed food companies. Food IS medicine. Never underestimate the power of your diet to change your health.
Ballantyne, S. PhD (2017). Paleo Principles. Canada: Victory Belt Publishing inc.
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