Fats- To eat or not to eat?
Don’t eat fat! Fat makes you fat. Fat is good one day, bad the next. There is so much controversial information on fat out there, it’s hard to know what is good and what isn’t. The key to understanding fats is first to understand that not all fats are created equal. Saturated fats are chemically different than trans fats and our body’s break them down, absorb and utilize them differently.
SATURATED FAT- found mainly in animal products including dairy items as whole milk, cream, butter and cheese, and fatty meats like beef veal, lamb, pork and ham. The fat marbling you see in the meat is the saturated fat. Some vegetable sources such as COCONUT oil and Palm Kernel oil are also high in saturated fats. The liver uses saturated fats to manufacture cholesterol.
MONOUNSATURATED FATS- are found in mostly vegetable and nut oils such as olive, nuts and seeds and peanut oil. These fats appear to reduce appear to reduce blood levels of LDLs (bad cholesterol) without affecting HDL (good cholesterol) in any way
TRANS FATS- these fats occur when polyunsaturated fats are altered through a process call HYDROGENATION, a process used to harden liquid vegetable oils into a solid food like product such as margarine and shortening.
All the information in the last few decades telling us that all fats are bad are actually not backed up by science or research but was a marketing ploy by the vegetable oil industry going back 100’s of years and the idea was to demonize the competition so that they could profit on selling the cheaper, nutrient lacking alternative: MARGARINE and Crisco.
If you go back to the early 1900’s when most of the fats being used were animal fats: butter, lard, eggs and cream, we had very little heart disease. As the vegetable oils came in, the heart issues and cholesterol started to increase. Vegetable oil industry decided to blame heart disease and fats on cholesterol and saturated fats which are key component of animal fats. There are many reasons why saturated fats are good for you and protect you against heart disease, but the most important reason is that they are stable, they don’t create oxidation and the oxidized cholesterol in the blood is what starts to build up the plaque in the arteries. The vitamins and minerals you get from animal fats and that you cannot get anywhere else, protect your arteries and heart to make sure they function properly.
Fat soluble vitamins especially vitamin K (which you get primarily by consuming animal fat) prevent build up of calcium in the arteries which is what makes the arteries harden. Vitamin K puts calcium where it belongs: in the bones and not in the soft tissues like arteries. (More on Vitamin K to come)
How did margarine and Crisco become so popular to consume? What happened was, Proctor and Gamble, the creators of Crisco, back in the 1800’s were candle and soap makers. They figured out how to get the oil out of cotton seeds and made candles and soap out of it. The seeds were a waste-product, so they could get them for practically nothing and they would use a stainless steal press to get the oil out. When the oil comes out, it’s an awful smelly dark gunk. They figured out a way to clean it up and make it look appealing to the eye, and then they would harden it through the process of hydrogenation and they were able to make soap and candles out of it.
When electricity came along, the need for candles diminished and the needed a use for this substance so they decided to tell people that they could eat it. The advertisements insinuated that the product was “pure and clean” because the “scientists” in the advertisements were wearing white lab coats, promoting the product as an edible substance. Also implied you would be more prosperous if you used this to cook with. They also advertised it as Kosher which marketed the Jewish community.*
*This information is coming from the book Nourishing Fats Why we need animal fats for health and happiness by Sally Fallon Morell Amazing book if you want to gain more detailed information about animal fats and why they are good for you.
What are examples of good fats? AVOCADOS, COCONUT OIL, BUTTER, OILIVE OIL, NUT AND SEED BUTTERS
What fats are bad? CORN, SOY, CANOLA, COTTONSEED. These oils are the top GENETICALLY MODIFIED OILS and are usually hydrogenated which are damaging the oils and destroying any of the health properties and turning them carcinogenic.
FLAXSEED oil is a very popular oil and is very beneficial, but you must make sure you consume it in it’s raw form. Flaxseed, also known as linseed, is a very delicate oil and is damaged at heats higher than 200F. Once flaxseed is heated, it becomes carcinogenic and no longer beneficial.
It is controversial how much good fat is good for you. You should get at least a tablespoon of a healthy fat source at each snack or meal to ensure absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins in the foods you eat. Consuming a healthy fat with your vegetable or fruit carbohydrate (more on this topic tomorrow) will assist with the absorption of the bioavailable (absorbable) fat soluble vitamins in those foods. So don’t be afraid of healthy fats!
Tune in tomorrow as we continue our discussion on CARBOHYDRATES
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I'm Elizabeth and I love cooking! When my son was faced with many different food allergies, cooking became very challenging. Now I like to educate people about what they are putting in their mouth as well as inspire others that cooking healthy allergen friendly foods are easy and delicious. For recipes, visit my Instagram account @holisticmommabear