In the so-called civilized world, the population continues to grow sicker by the year, while food manufacturers, government bodies and the mainstream medical profession keep telling us that we need to eat more low-fat-high-carb foods as well as lots of unsaturated oils and stay away from saturated fats and oils if we want to stay healthy. So people go on buying convenience foods chock full of carbs and sugars, the golden oils and products containing them all the while believing that they are doing the right thing if want to protect themselves from heart disease, cancer, diabetes and all the other degenerative diseases that plague the Western World. Well, my friends, all such advice is not only untrue. It is positively dangerous. To stay healthy, protect yourself from obesity, degenerative conditions and early aging, you must dump the starchy carbs and hidden sugars, all those highly processed unsaturated oils and the packaged convenience foods which contains them. It’s time to get savvy about the right kind of fats and introduce them to your meals. They can bring energy, beautiful skin, and real protection from early aging and chronic illnesses. By the way, they can also make your meals taste great.
STOP BLAMING YOURSELF
In case you think it’s your fault that you happen to be suffering with a chronic condition or you are overweight, think again. Like most conscientious human beings, you have only been trying to follow the guidelines that doctors, governments and the media tells us will keep us well, slim and protected from heart disease. Here’s the truth: The guidelines we have been given ever since World War II have not only been all wrong, they have been truly dangerous to our health.
The powers-that-be have instilled in us irrational fear of fat, largely as a result of the poor research and conclusions drawn back in the 1960s—when Ancel Keys and others were trying to figure out how to prevent heart disease. One group of so-called experts jumped to the conclusion that dietary fat was the culprit. Before long, their rash assumptions were turned into a quasi-religious dogma that has stuck. The low-fat, high-carb-and-sugar eating propounded by them, instead of protecting us from heart disease, obesity and other degenerative conditions, has made us highly susceptible to all of them.
Here’s another common fat fallacy: “The Western diet has increased in saturated fat over the last century.” Just the opposite is true. At the turn of the last century, most of the population still got their fatty acids from saturated animal-based sources, such as lard, butter, and tallow. They were better off for it. Then, from 1910 to 1970 in the United States, the proportion of animal fats eaten declined from 83% of all fats eaten to 62%, and butter consumption went from 18 to 4 pounds per person per year—all because of the invention and promotion of margarines. Meanwhile, what did increase exponentially was the quantity of fats we began to take in, in the form of chemically refined unsaturated vegetable oils, margarines, trans-fatty acids and junk fats. The results of all this? Our health has continued to decline.
By the way, it’s worthwhile taking a look at how well we’ve fared in combating heart disease and obesity since we began shunning animal fats and eating the masses of the carbs they recommended. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows that, since 1980, obesity alone has grown to epic proportions, right from the very year the government’s guidelines were published.
THE SKINNY ON FATS
From the 1960s onwards, governments worldwide have been telling us to eat less fat and more carbohydrate which they figured would make up for the fat we no longer ate. Low-fat foods began to appear on our supermarket shelves for keen and hungry consumers; they quickly became a major financial success story for food manufacturers. We ate baked potatoes instead of fries with our meals, and thought that we were taking the healthy option. We ate low-fat foods thinking that these were good for us, without realizing that food manufacturers, in preparing their low-fat menus, had replaced the fat with sugar. Meanwhile, we were warned against all saturated fats, told that they are dangerous, and urged to eat more polyunsaturated oils such as sunflower oil, safflower oil, peanut oil—all those golden oils that still fill our supermarket shelves. These oils and margarines were held up as beneficial for protecting us from heart disease. Both of these directives turned out to be big fat lies.
BEWARE PROCESSED OILS
Polyunsaturated fats and oils—which we have long been urged to eat—turn rancid quickly when heated. All the golden oils most people still believe are good for them turn into health-destroying sources of free-radicals that can do the body a great deal of harm. They attack our cells and damage our DNA. Recent, reliable scientific studies show a link between consumption of these processed polyunsaturates and cancer as well as heart disease.
DUMP THE GOLDEN OILS
Safflower, Corn, Sunflower, Soybean and Cottonseed Oils all tend to be badly processed, using all sorts of unpleasant chemicals. Avoid them.
Canola oil, which fills many of our ready-made food products, has been associated with fibrotic heart lesions. It is high in sulfur and turns rancid easily.
Margarines are full of trans-fatty acids. Shun them.
There’s something else we now know about these oils that will probably surprise you. Analysis of the fat in clogged arteries reveals that only about 26% is saturated fat. The rest is made up of polyunsaturates. So here’s the bottom line: The heart’s preferred source of food when under stress is good old “unhealthy” saturated fat.
OMEGA 3 BENEFITS
Omega-6 and omega 3 fatty acids, when in the right balance, help your body in all sorts of ways. They increase your cells’ sensitivity to insulin, helping your body regulate its blood sugar. They increase metabolic rate and fat metabolism, so more of your stored fat can be burnt as energy. Natural foods rich in the omega-6 oils include avocados, nuts, flax seeds, and spirulina. Paleontologists have discovered that our ancestors consumed them in the ratio of 1:1 or 2:1 (omega-6 to omega 3 fatty acids). However today, in our Western diets, the balance between these two fatty acids has become all screwed up. Modern diets contain a ratio of about 22:1—far too high for optimal health. This excess can cause all sorts of problems, from weight gain to cancer. What can we do about it? For a start, you never have to worry about getting enough omega-6s. They’re everywhere. What you do need to do is increase your intake of omega 3 fatty acids]. A great way of doing this is to start taking a good-quality fish oil supplement.
EAT IN ABUNDANCE
Have no fear of the saturated fats found in meat and butter from grass-fed animals, and tropical oils like coconut oil. Coconut oil is great for cooking. Extra-virgin olive oil is great for salad dressings. Eaten on their own, or together with protein, but without an abundance of starchy carbohydrates, good quality natural fats alleviate hunger and act as an excellent source of energy throughout the day. Eating too little good fat cab lead to the experience of sitting down to a meal and, no matter how much you eat, still craving food at the end of it. Good natural fats let you know when your body is satisfied. Introducing the right kind of fats to your meals also helps balance hormones while significantly enhancing how you look and feel.
MEET THE GOOD OILS
Cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, cold-pressed walnut oil, cold-pressed fax-seed oil, avocado oil, sesame oil and coconut oil are all excellent for salad dressings. Eat them and thrive.
Olive oil is monounsaturated rather than polyunsaturated—one of the safest vegetable oils you can use. It is well-suited to dressings and can be heated, but only to moderate temperatures. Make sure the Extra Virgin Olive Oil you buy is cloudy (not filtered) and a golden-yellow color.
Sesame oil is reasonably stable and can also be used on salads as can cold-pressed walnut oil and avocado oil.
Coconut oil is a highly saturated oil/fat and is the safest, healthiest choice for cooking, because it remains stable even at high temperatures. It also boasts antiviral and antibacterial properties.
DON’T FORGET BUTTER
Millions of shoppers buy margarine in the belief that it’s “better for you than butter.” This is another baseless opinion, forced upon us by bad science and multinational food manufacturers. The process used to turn out margarine, known as hydrogenation, does horrendous things to the already-rancid vegetable oils it is made from. Margarines also contain all sorts of additives you wouldn’t want in your body. It is not surprising that they have now become associated with the development of both cancer and heart disease.
Butter on the other hand contains many essential nutrients. Look for butter made from the milk of grass-fed animals if you can find it. Experiments comparing the health of margarine eaters with butter eaters continually find in butter’s favor. In one study, the risk of developing heart disease for butter users was half that of eaters of margarine. Infants and children especially benefit from butter, which fosters normal growth and development. Use this delicious stuff liberally—and without guilt—in the knowledge that your body will thank you for it.
THE LAST WORD OF ADVICE
Fats and starchy carbs like pasta, bread, and pizza do not mix. Eating them together bring about what is known as the Randle Effect: When lots of fat and carbohydrates are eaten together, as they often are in the standard Western diet, the fats get burnt as fuel, while the carbohydrates are converted to glucose. The glucose in turn is converted into more body fat, throwing any overweight, insulin-resistant person into a terrible vicious circle, where hunger and carbohydrate cravings lead to overeating, followed by an inevitable increase in blood sugar and insulin levels as well as body fat deposits and yet more cravings. The irony is that, for a long time, we have been blaming dietary fat for this, when this phenomenon is actually caused by a high starchy carbohydrate intake, especially in the presence of the junk fats found in margarines, golden oils, and convenience foods.
Natural fats eaten on their own or together with protein, but without an abundance of carbohydrates, do not cause the laying down of fat in the body. Nor do they cause insulin resistance. This is perhaps the most difficult thing to grasp for those of us who have been highly schooled in the high-carbs-low-fat approach to weight loss and age protection. Yet, when it comes to staying well it is essential to understand.