Tag Archives: dietary fats

Is Dietary Fat Where It’s At?

DietaryFatsJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

 

 

What is considered good health? Good health can be defined as having normal blood glucose levels, normal blood pressure levels, normal body fat percentage and favorable cholesterol levels, all without medications. Taking medications to lower cholesterol or blood pressure levels or to control glucose levels does not mean we are healthy. According to Joel Fuhrman, M.D., author of the book Reversing Disease with Food, “If you are on medications to control risk factors, you are already at risk. Your risk of having a heart attack is directly proportional to the number of medications you are taking. It’s not whether your blood pressure or cholesterol is controlled, it’s the number of medications you need to control it that determines your risk.”

Healthy people don’t require medications to keep their risk factors low. While necessary in some cases, medication is disease management not healthcare. Being well means removing or reversing disease risk factors with a healthy diet and lifestyle not masking them with medication. The most critical information we need to control our health and longevity is proper science-based nutrition. One major problem is the epidemic of misinformation that has led to the skyrocketing rates of obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and the general poor health of the American population. The truth is that an unhealthy diet is responsible for most chronic diseases.

The good news is that chronic disease is not inevitable. Many people who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease turn their health around with healthy lifestyle adjustments. Chronic disease can take many years to develop but the benefits of good nutrition can be seen within a short period of time, and eating well can quickly make an improved health difference. There is a growing awareness that we need to radically change our dietary patterns. But what does this mean exactly? For one thing, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go on a weight loss diet, rather you might stop counting calories and start eating more unrefined fiber-rich plant foods and more high nutrient dense foods, especially healthy fats.

Since 1977, dietary guidelines have recommended limiting dietary fats and cholesterol to lower the rates of cardiovascular disease. The epidemic of misinformation surrounding dietary fats and dietary cholesterol has had a profound and deleterious effect on public health. To date, cardiovascular disease is still the number one cause of death in the U.S. And while there is still confusion and controversy over recommendations for a healthy diet, we now know that certain dietary fats should be cleared of all charges relating to heart disease causation. Along with protein and complex carbohydrates, dietary fat is an essential macronutrient that provides energy and supports brain health and bodily functions.

With the exception of the last 40 years, humans have always had diets that included nutrient dense dietary fats. It was misguided science that directed us to limit fat intake. The obesity epidemic began when we embraced the low fat diet and replaced fats with carbohydrates. So the new question is, “What if dietary fat doesn’t make you fat?” What if the real culprits behind the rise of chronic illnesses are sugar and refined carbohydrates? And what if you could eat more dietary fats while losing weight and improving your health? Today, good science and research tells us that healthy fats are an important part of a well-balanced diet.

The truth is, when you are looking to lose weight, calorie restricted diets do not lead to long term weight loss. Losing weight is not really about willpower. It’s about satiety and giving your body the nutrients it needs to function and perform optimally. Calorie restriction leads to hunger and a slower metabolism, and then even more caloric reduction to lose weight. The best way to lose weight and maintain weight loss is to lower your body weight set point to improve metabolism with less hunger. You can positively influence your fat cells by eliminating fast acting carbohydrates, replacing those calories with slow acting carbs, fats and protein, reducing stress, getting quality sleep and participating in an enjoyable physical activity to improve insulin sensitivity.

According to David Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of Pediatric Endocrinology at Boston Children’s Hospital and author of the book Always Hungry, “Highly processed carbohydrates digest quickly into glucose, raise insulin levels and program the body to store excess weight. Reducing these foods and substituting healthy fats, such as avocados, coconut and olive oil, nuts and dark chocolate, along with natural complex carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits, legumes and minimally processed grains, will lower insulin levels and reprogram fat cells for calorie release, not storage.” Dr. Ludwig contends that we should eat a largely plant based diet with small amounts of good quality grass fed or wild caught animal based protein along with a relatively high intake of healthy fats.

In conclusion, he states, “One human diet works for heart, brain and immune health. A diet that is low in refined carbs and sugar, high in fat and very high in prebiotic fiber reduces inflammation, caters to microbiome and immune functions and nurtures the gut.” Leading edge research shows we need to consume more fats and the USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee concurred. Higher fat diets have been shown to have a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia and a study reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that 500,000 persons eating the highest levels of saturated fats had no increased incidence of coronary artery events.

Food can be a powerful medicine, not only for reaching optimal weight but also for reducing disease risk factors. Diets lower in refined carbs and higher in fats have been shown to improve heart disease and stroke risk factors, decrease blood pressure, triglycerides, visceral obesity and abdominal circumference, decrease inflammation markers and raise HDL cholesterol, all without hunger and, best of all, without medications.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality supplements for blood sugar support:

Dual-Source Chromium (7427-)Dual Source Chromium by Douglas Laboratories – This product supplies two highly bioavailable active forms of chromium in support of carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism and the maintenance of healthy blood sugar. Gluten, soy and dairy free.

 

Berberine SynergyBerberine Synergy™ by Designs for Health – This formula supplies a blend of high potency berberine and alpha lipoic acid in support of cardiovascualar and liver health and optimal blood sugar and insulin levels. Gluten free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

 

Glyco StressGlyco Stress by Biospec Nutritionals – This unique formula provides vitamins, minerals and botanicals to nutritionally support the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats and to promote healthy glucose levels.

 

Lipoic Acid SupremeLipoic Acid Supreme by Designs for Health – This combination formula supplies high-dose lipoic acid, taurine and biotin in support of blood sugar and insulin balance. Lipoic acid has been shown to be an essential nutrient for those with diabetes to optimize the function of insulin receptors. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.

 

PGX Daily SinglesPGX Daily Singles by Natural Factors – This extensively researched formula provides a proprietary blend of viscous soluble fibers in support of appetite control, weight loss and overall good health. Dairy, wheat and yeast free.

 

References:
Dr. David Ludwig clears up carbohydrate confusion. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2015/12/16/dr-david-ludwig-clears-up-carbohydrate-confusion/
Dr. Mark Hyman: 10 Reasons Why You Should Eat Fat to Get Thin. http://ecowatch.com/2016/01/02/mark-hyman-eat-fat-get-thin/
Aseem Malhotra: The idea that you can exercise your way out of obesity is a big fat lie. http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20150529-aseem-malhotra-forget-the-fitbit.-focus-on-lunch..ece
Sugar is now enemy number one in the western diet. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/11/sugar-is-enemy-number-one-now
How did we come to believe saturated fat and cholesterol are bad for us? http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/how-did-we-come-to-believe-saturated-fat-and-cholesterol-are-bad-for-us
Essential fatty acids and human brain. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20329590
 

Know Your Dietary Fats

appleBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Dietary fat is often seen as the villain when it comes to obesity and associated health conditions, such as heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes.  However, dietary fats along with protein and carbohydrates are a necessary part of a healthy diet.  Fats are an indispensible source of the essential fatty acids that are needed for proper brain development and function, inflammation control, and the formation of healthy cell membranes.  Healthy fats provide a concentrated energy source for most of our cellular and life functions.  Fats aid in the transport of fat-soluble vitamins including vitamins A, D, E and K, assist in the production of hormones, maintain healthy skin and hair, and protect organs.  With 9 calories of energy in every gram, fat is the most powerful food energy source.  By contrast, proteins and carbohydrates provide 4 calories of energy in every gram. 

Dietary fat and cholesterol are not one and the same.  As a vital part of the body’s chemistry,  cholesterol is used in the production of steroid hormones that are necessary for normal development and functioning.   Cholesterol is also involved in the production of cortisol which helps regulate blood sugar levels, is used to make the bile that aids in the digestion and absorption of dietary fat, and provides immune system support.  Your body has the ability to manufacture all the cholesterol it needs for proper function. 

When consumed in excess, dietary cholesterol and animal fats affect the body’s cholesterol production.  A diet high in animal fats will cause a slowdown in the production of cholesterol, whereas a diet with foods from plant sources will cause the body to manufacture cholesterol to meet its needs.  Most Americans consume too much dietary fat and cholesterol, mainly from animal fat and prepackaged and processed foods.  Elevated blood cholesterol levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis.  Types of dietary fats include:

  • Lipids –  The scientific term referring to naturally occurring molecules that include fats, cholesterol and triglycerides.  Lipids are a structural component of cell membranes, and are involved in energy storage and signaling. 
  • Triglycerides – The main form of fat found in the diet and stored in the body.  Triglycerides play an important role in metabolism as energy sources and transporters of dietary fats. 

The “bad” fats:

  • Saturated fats –  Normally solid at room temperature, most saturated fats are found in animal products including meat and dairy products, and in some tropical plant oils such as coconut and palm oil. Saturated fats raise total cholesterol levels. 
  • Hydrogenated fats – These unsaturated fats are processed to become solid at room temperature.  Packaged and processed foods such as cookies, crackers and margarine contain hydrogenated fats.  Hydrogenated fats can also raise total cholesterol levels. 
  • Trans fatty acids –  Small amounts of trans fatty acids are found naturally occurring in meat and dairy products.  Artificial trans fats are formed during hydrogenation, where hydrogen is added to liquid oil, turning it into a solid fat.  This process extends shelf life, increases stability and provides texture.  These fats can be found in partially hydrogenated margarines, white bread, fast foods and snack foods.  The American Heart Association recommends limiting this type of dietary fat to less than 1% of your total daily caloric intake which translates to approximately 2 grams.  Trans fatty acids tend to raise total cholesterol levels. 

The “good” fats:

  • Monounsaturated Fats – Liquid at room temperature, monounsaturated fats are primarily found in plant oils and include olive, canola and peanut oil.  Fish and nuts are another good dietary source.  Monounsaturated fats lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels. 
  • Polyunsaturated fats – Liquid at room temperature, sources include many common vegetable oils such as corn, soybean, safflower, sesame and sunflower oils, plus avocados, olives and walnuts.  Polyunsaturated fats lower total cholesterol levels. 
  • Essential fatty acids –  Omega-3 fatty acids including DHA and EPA are found in high-fat cold water fish, as well as nuts and seeds and fortified eggs.  Omega-6 fatty acids, or LA, can be found in soybean, corn, and safflower oils.  Essential fatty acids are not made by the body and must be obtained through the diet.  Essential fatty acids lower triglycerides and total cholesterol levels.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 and the Institute of Medicine recommend that consumption of hydrogenated and trans fats be kept to a minimum.  Consumption of trans fats raises LDL, the bad cholesterol, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.  Major contributors to trans fat intake include fried foods, microwave popcorn, frozen pizzas, cake, cookies, margarines, prepared cake frosting and coffee creamers. 

To reduce trans fats in the diet:

  • Read nutrition labels.  Choose products with 0 grams of trans fat.  Products containing less than 0.5 grams of trans fats can be labeled as trans fat free.  In order to avoid all trans fat, check the ingredient labels for any partially hydrogenated oil. 
  • Check labels for cholesterol content.  Look for foods with 5% or less of the Daily Value.  The American Heart Association recommends limiting dietary cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg.
  • Limit total fat intake to less than 25 – 35% of your total daily calories.  Limit saturated fat intake to less than 7% and trans fats to less than 1% of daily caloric intake.  A minimum of 10% of daily calories should come from fats.  Limit your intake to less than 78 grams of fat per day and choose healthy unsaturated fats. 
  • Limit fried fast foods which contain both saturated fat and trans fat. 
  • Choose monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats.  The bulk of your fat intake should come from fish, nuts, seeds and naturally occurring non-hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  • Choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, high-fiber foods, and low fat dairy.  Choose lean meats and include cold water fish such as salmon or halibut several times a week. 

The typical American diet contains roughly 35 – 40% fat.  This dietary fat consumption plays a significant role in the obesity epidemic.  Choosing healthier types of dietary fats is one of the most important factors to reduce the risk of developing heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes.   Reducing the total fat content of your diet will help control your weight and that alone may help you live a longer and healthier life. 

BioLipotrol by BioGenesis Nutraceuticals –  An all natural nutraceutical designed to assist the body in regulating the production and metabolism of HDL and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.  Effective and well-tolerated forms of niacin are combined with herbal extracts for a complete and natural option for blood lipid support. 

Cholestar (K-27) by Apex Energetics –  This scientifically designed formula includes natural compounds that maintain levels of cholesterol, including LDL, triglycerides, and HDL, within  the normal range for healthy individuals. The key ingredients are red yeast rice extract, inositol hexanicotinate, and garlic extract.

Cholesterzyme Formula by Professional Solutions –  This product supports healthy cholesterol levels and provides liver support for cholesterol production.