When it comes to dietary fats and carbohydrates, advice has varied greatly. The good news is that we do have long-standing wisdom just about everyone can follow for better health.
Why We Need Fats In Our Diet
Fats are a high-energy fuel source and a necessary macronutrient for all of us. They satisfy hunger, help sustain energy for longer periods of time and serve as our go-to fuel when exercising. People who remove fat from their meals get very hungry throughout the day.
Three Types of Fats, Different Health Effects
“Saturated fat has been associated with negative health effects”… this is FALSE. That statement is what Dr. Vanessa likes to call “politically correct nutrition.” These saturated fats from animal and coconut sources provide a concentrated source of energy in the diet. They also provide the dividing blocks for cell membranes, for hormones, and for prostaglandins (substances that mediate important chemical processes in the body). In addition they act as carriers for the important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K. Dietary fats are needed for conversion of carotene to Vitamin A and for a host of other processes.
Healthy saturated fats include:
- Animal Fat (lard – yes, lard)
- Coconut Oil
- Coconut Butter
Unsaturated fat is typically considered the healthiest of the three types of fats, but in reality, it’s the second healthiest of the three types of fat. It provides health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, strengthening the cell membrane, and facilitating storage of vitamins A, D, E, and K. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature; the best source comes from plants such as avocado oil or olive oil. Keep these in your diet, but focus mainly on getting good doses of your healthy saturated fats.
Trans fat (aka “Plastic Fats”) is the fat you want to no-kidding keep out of your diet. Avoid them at all costs. Trans fats are found in all processed foods. On a food label, trans fats go by many names including “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated.” All Seed oils are “plastic fats.” Oils in this category include but are not limited to:
- Soy Oil
- Peanut Oil
Stay away from these oils as they are rancid by the time they are bottled and as a result are incredibly toxic and inflammatory to your body. On average, it takes the body seven years to break these oils down. SEVEN YEARS. This is why we refer to them as “Plastic Fats.”
What about Essential Fatty Acids?
Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids, meaning they contain a unique chemical structure. When it comes to your health, EFAs are absolutely essential to a number of functions in the body. They play a crucial role in fetal brain development, provide protective benefits for the heart and nerve tissue as we age, and reduce inflammation. EFAs are found in clean fish, walnuts and flaxseed among other foods.
And What About Carbs?
Carbohydrates are another essential macronutrient (protein completes the macronutrient group). And they should be enjoyed in extreme moderation, especially in America where most of our grains are compromised. In the body, carbs are converted into different sugars, making them a fuel source. For example, glycogen is the fuel for muscles to work hard during exercise. Glucose is the fuel source for the brain. Your body needs some carbs, but not nearly as much as the average American consumes.
Fruits and vegetables are sources of carbohydrates that provide necessary vitamins and minerals. The food source of your carbohydrates and how it acts in the body is important. For more information on proper carbohydrate intake, reach out to us and one of our doctors can guide you.
What does give you that crash and burn feeling? Carbohydrates from simple sugars, like sucrose, which is found in white table sugar and is added to many packaged foods and baked goods. This is the sugar you want to eliminate from your diet. Whether it’s a blueberry muffin or a candy bar disguised as a protein bar…the villain among carbs is found in packaged, processed foods, white potatoes, pasta and grains.
The most valuable nutrition tip you could follow for any meal is this:
AVOID SUGAR AND RANCID OILS at all costs. We understand how this can be difficult, as these things are so pervasive in our modern diets, but this is absolutely crucial to your health and longevity. We’re not kidding. This is what will cause inflammation in the body and cause things like clogged arteries, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and even cancer.
When you craft a meal for yourself, be sure to include a source of healthy fat (butter, avocado or Extra Virgin Olive Oil), a protein, and a rainbow of fruits and veggies on your plate.
If you are unsure of how to plan the best diet for you, one that provides all that you need and that you enjoy eating, consider working with Doug and Vanessa at Tigerlily. As holistic practitioners, they will serve as excellent health care partners to help you navigate the nutrition and food journey.
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