As I continue to do more and more research on the truths about health and nutrition, I’ve noticed that most people seem to “know” certain things about food. “Know” in the sense that they don’t really question the idea anymore, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Like we “knew” that soy was healthy, right? (if you are still under THAT false impression, you need to check out Unravelling the SOY myth). Now, in this two-part article, I’d like to dispel for you, the myths about FAT and unravel the truth about the low-fat diet…
One of the biggest misconceptions held by most people today is the way outdated and untrue paradigm of a low fat diet being a healthy one. Well folks, I’m happy to report that this common belief has ZERO scientific evidence to support it! Eating low-fat is NOT healthy for you, will NOT help you lose weight and will NOT prevent cardiovascular disease and will SHORTEN, not lengthen your life. I know, I know, “MIND= BLOWN.”
Did you know that high cholesterol levels in women of all ages and in the elderly is associated with a longer lifespan? In fact, the truth is that for women and the elderly, no significant difference in heart disease rates is seen for ANY level of cholesterol.
Think about this- every single cell in the human body produces cholesterol. In fact, cholesterol is the ONLY substance that literally EVERY cell has the ability to produce. Furthermore, your liver produces more cholesterol than you can eat in a day. It also tends to increase cholesterol production when you reduce your intake of dietary fat. Did you hear that? When you eat less fat, your body produces MORE OF IT. If cholesterol is soooooooo bad, why is your body trying so hard to produce as much of it as possible? These facts considered, you need to understand that dietary cholesterol really has very little impact on blood cholesterol.
By now you’ve probably heard that the incidence of degenerative brain disease, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, etc. are at an all time high. Well, your brain is 60 percent fat and what we’re seeing now is that very low levels of fat/cholesterol are being associated with these neurological and psycho-emotional disorders. Also at an all-time high are the rates of infertility. What do you think the precursor of every reproductive hormone is? If you guessed FAT, you’d be right! And guess what age group is experiencing the greatest degree’s of infertility- it’s the women (and some men) who got all wrapped up in the low-fat craze of the 80’s! They’ve spent the last 30 years eating low fat and they’re bodies are starved of the building blocks needed to maintain a functional reproductive hormone cycle. This is something that I’ve witness first hand in the clinical setting with the large number of patients I work with for fertility and to regulate their menstrual cycles. Get them eating good quality fats again and with a little time for the body to rebuild itself, their endocrine systems begin to recover. The same goes for folks with neurological and emotional conditions.
Now, fats are not all created equal. There are certain fats that are detrimental to your body and others that are essential to every cell in your body. The essential fats are literally known as “essential fatty acids.” Your body cannot manufacture these fats. You must consume them in your diet or you’re body will suffer dis-ease. But there are many other reasons why low-fat intake can be detrimental. Fat is also critical to help your body absorb certain vitamins and nutrients – such as CoQ10 and vitamins A, D, E, and K – which cannot be properly absorbed without fat.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that low-fat diets were associated with 20% less calcium absorption than higher-fat diets. The State University of New York at Buffalo found that people who eat low-fat diets develop weaker immune systems. And another study found that people eating very-low-fat diets showed no improvement in body composition, blood sugar levels, insulin levels, or blood pressure. The study’s author called low-fat diets “counterproductive” to health.
Consider also the French- They have the highest saturated fat intake of the entire European Union, but have the lowest rates of heart disease (European CVD statistics, 2005).
Here’s the deal, most people with actual blood cholesterol problems usually:
- Eat lots of processed foods such as refined carbs from grain and they usually eat few fresh fruits or veggies.
- Don’t exercise, or are mostly sedentary.
- Drink alcohol, smoke, or maintain a high stress lifestyle.
- May be obese as a result.
Reducing dietary fat/cholesterol won’t radically improve your health in this case. You must focus on the big picture: eat healthy, exercise, stop smoking, and find natural, holistic ways, like Acupuncture, to de-stress.
If you’re worried about your weight, don’t. The truth is that fat doesn’t make you fat. Excess calories and processed carbohydrates make you fat. If you want to lose fat, you need to eat a more natural diet of fresh produce and naturally-raised meats/fish, eliminate processed and refined foods, and move your body! This rule applies to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
To continue challenging those long-standing notions you thought were correct and get the true skinny on fat, check out PART 2 of this article or check the excellent resources below…
This information brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Austin Acupuncturist, Melanie Irvine, L.Ac., MAOM, owner Turning Point Wellness. For more info about how Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine, and natural nutrition can help you achieve vibrant health and well-being. Feel free to visit my website, www.TurningPointAcupuncture.net for more details and direct contact information.
Marlene Merritt, DOM, LAc, ACN, “Big Fat Lies,” Acupuncture Today
December, 2010, Vol. 11, Issue 12, http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=32321