Are Fats Bad For You ?

Dietary fat is one of the most hotly debated macronutrients, period. People will go to extremes either avoiding fats or eat a diet that is mostly fat based. Whether people would like to admit it or not, we require a certain amount of dietary  to be truly healthy.

As a society we have a lot of negative perceptions about dietary fats, that are based on bad science from many years ago.

The unfavorable opinion of fat is still around today because people were told growing up by teachers, doctors, parents  and our government that fat is bad for us and causes heart disease.

The unfortunately we were encouraged to ditch the healthy natural fats in exchange for hydrogenated processed fats that were made in factories.

We have since learned that the natural fats such as butter,coconut oil, grass fed beef and other sources of saturated fat are restorative to our health, while the vegetable oils that have been recommended can wreak havoc in the body.

This low fat diet in conjunction with highly processed carbohydrates and sugar has sent  our health as a society down the drain.

Alzheimers, Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and many other neurological disorders are all on the rise, even though we have followed the low fat, high processed carb recommendations.

If something is not working it is time to step back and take a look at the approach and see what’s broken. This blog post is going to explain what fats are, what they do in the human body to promote health  and why all fats are not created equal!

Macronutrient Bad Boy: Fats

Along with proteins, carbohydrates and water, fat is a macronutrient that the body requires in larger amounts. Minerals and vitamins are micronutrients meaning that they are essential to health, but required in smaller quantities than macronutrients.

Fats comprise roughly fifteen percent of our body weight. Animal and vegetable sources of fat provide a dense source of energy in our diet, and are required for optimal health.

Many of the foods that contain the largest concentration of fats come from animals, but there are some great plant sources too. Some of the richest sources of dietary fat are: Grass fed butter, coconut oil, olive oil,  coconut flesh, cream cheese, avocados, sour cream, full fat cheese, bacon, dark chocolate and whole eggs.

Fats and oils (named lipids) are a grouping of  fatty acids made from carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Fatty acids are molecules made up of a chain of carbon atoms.

These chains contain one to twenty four carbon atoms, and are categorized based on the length of the carbon atoms and degree of saturation.

The Different Players

Some of the most important roles of fats in the body are that they:

  • Provide a longer burning source of fuel for the body

  • Play a role in healthy skin and hair,

  • Supports the immune system,

  • Make up cell membranes  

  • Precursors to hormones,

  • Insulate our internal organs

  • Are required for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K)

  • Contribute to neurological health, mood and anxiety.

We have a wide variety of natural fats that help support our health, along with other man made fats that damage our health. It is an important distinction to make and understand which ones to eat, and which to ditch.

Fats To Think About:

  • Saturated Fats

  • Monounsaturated Fats

  • Polyunsaturated Fats

  • Trans Fats ( there are natural and man made trans fats)

Saturated Fats

Lets start with the most controversial fat in our society. It has  been demonized and widely avoided by many folks.

For years we have been told that saturated fats will cause higher levels of cholesterol which in turn will clog arteries causing heart disease, but this is far from the whole story. 

Some very short studies lasting a few weeks showed that greater intake of saturated fats did raise cholesterol, HOWEVER many long term studies with over 350,000 participants didn't show a correlation between saturated fats, blood cholesterol and cardiovascular disease in the long term. A few weeks is not a long enough time to make a conclusion on a study like this.

Foods that are the richest in saturated fats are coconut oil, coconut flesh/milk, full fat  dairy, beef tallow, palm oil, grass fed beef, lard, duck fat, chicken fat and whole eggs (yolks), butter, ghee, lamb and pork.

Saturated fats are:

  • the main structural fats in the body

  •  make up the majority of the fatty acids found in cells

  • helps incorporate calcium into bones

  • aids in cardiovascular function

  •  supports a healthy immune system

  •  transports the fat soluble vitamins A,D,E and K around the body.

Saturated fat are the best choice to cook with because they are very stable and do not go rancid easily. The oils are solid or semi solid at room temperature and are found in animal fats ( butter ghee, tallow, duck fat, lard) and tropical oils (coconut oil, red palm oil)

Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fats are the one fat that everyone from paleo to vegan folks can agree on for the health benefits! The best sources of monounsaturated fats are macadamia nuts, olives and olive oil, avocado, pork fat, chicken, almonds, eggs yolks, and duck.

Monounsaturated fats are also a primary structural component of the body, and are known for:

  •  Positive effects on cardiovascular health

  • reduce oxidative damage

  • decrease inflammation

  • decline in LDL and Triglycerides

  •  boost the production of HDL and help immune function.

These fats are relatively stable to cook with at lower heats, but saturated fats are the best for anything above low/med cooking.

These fats are liquid at room temperature and do not go rancid easily. Olive oil, almond oil and avocado oil  are monounsaturated fats, but use for very low heats or cold uses to preserve the health benefits.

Polyunsaturated Fats

There are two different types of polyunsaturated fats: omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Polyunsaturated fats play a main role in cell membranes and regulating functions in the body as well.

Polyunsaturated fats help to regulate the inflammatory and anti inflammatory reactions in the body. Most people who eat the standard american diet get an overabundance of omega-6 fats and far too little omega-3’s leading to chronic inflammation from the diet.

By reducing the intake of vegetable oils and omega-6 rich foods, and increasing the intake of omega-3 rich foods you can reduce inflammation dramatically.

There are six different omega-6 and omega-3 fats, but there is only one essential omega-3 and omega-6 fat. This means that these two essential polyunsaturated fats must be obtained from your diet, while the body can manufacture the other needed polyunsaturated fats on its own.

Polyunsaturated fats are relatively unstable and go rancid much easier than any of the other fats. The oil sources of polyunsaturated fats (all vegetable oils) will always be liquid at room temperature.

These fats should not ever be used for cooking they are very easy to damage with heat and become much more inflammatory in the body.

Essential Omega-6 Fat: Linoleic Acid (LA)

This essential fatty acid can be found in small amounts in fruits and vegetables, grains meat and in larger amounts in poultry, nuts and seeds.

Unfortunately the largest concentration of these essential fats are in vegetables oils such as canola, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower and soybean.

The major problem is that these oils are highly processed, and are damaged very easily by heat when cooked. When these processed oils are cooked with they become much more inflammatory to the body.

When vegetable oils are consumed in excess without adequate omega-3 fats it creates an inflammatory cascade that contributes to chronic diseases.

We need both omega-6 and omega-3 fats in the diet, but they are required in a much more balanced ratio than the standard american diet provides. When you stick to the whole food sources of Linoleic Acid this problem is avoided.

Arachidonic Acid (ARA)

Arachidonic acid is a longer chain omega-6 fatty acid that our bodies can make from linoleic acid (LA). ARA can also be found in large amounts in animal foods such as egg yolks, chicken, beef and pork.

It can be found in our cell membranes and plays a role in messages sent between cells. ARA contributes to the growth of muscle tissue and skeleton. You will not normally hear a lot about Arachidonic Acid but it plays a big role in health.

Essential Omega-3 Fat: Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA)

ALA can be found in plant sources such as walnut and flaxseed. Your body will convert ALA into the very important omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

The conversion rate of ALA to EPA and DHA is very very poor so it is a much better bet to get EPA and DHA from the dietary sources such as  such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, bass , oysters and lower concentrations is grass fed beef and ruminants.

While the ALA is the essential fat, it is the EPA and DHA that we derive the benefits from. What creates a problem is the extremely low conversion rate of ALA to EPA and DHA.

In many people the conversion rate varies from 0.5-5% , this conversion also depends on other nutrients such as B-vitamins and Zinc which most people are deficient in.

Nature Made: Trans Fats   

There is a clear distinction that needs to be made between the two different types of trans fats: those from nature and man made artificial.

The main source of natural trans fats we eat are in the form of  Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) from grass fed animals and grass fed animal products and in much lower concentrations in grain fed animals. Our body can also manufacture CLA from other natural trans fats.

Some of the known benefits of natural trans fats are lower risk of heart disease, improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity which can help prevent and to some degree manage diabetes, there is some evidence that CLA can even help those who are obese lose weight.

Man Made: Trans Fats

The man made trans fats are found in processed foods such as fast food, butter substitutes frozen dinners, candy, chips, doughnuts and margarine.

While man made trans fats vary slightly in their structure from natural trans fats that slight difference creates big problems in the body.

These artificial trans fats:

  • damage the lining of blood vessels

  • create inflammation

  • decrease the omega-3 conversions

  • damage cardiovascular health

  •  increase the dense damaging LDL particles

  •  decreasing the anti inflammatory HDL cholesterol particles.

    There is nothing remotely good about the man made trans fats, they only damage our health.

The Takeaway

People want dietary fats to either be good or bad for us. it would make things much simpler, but when it comes to nutrition there are a lot of factors to consider.

Making those stark good/bad statements with no context and poor science is what got us into the health predicament we are in.

The fact of the matter is that natural fats have been a significant source of energy in our diet for many ages.

Agriculture dramatically changed the balance of macronutrients in our diet, grains, sugar and processed carbohydrates soon became a significant portion of our diet.

We were fooled into thinking the same fats that fueled our healthy robust were going to raise our cholesterol and give us heart disease.

In response to this new information about saturated fats causing heart disease we switched to either no fats diets, or used highly processed vegetable oils, hydrogenated oils,  margarine or  butter substitutes that have all been proven to damage our health.

Overconsumption of these processed oils is linked to heart disease, inflammation and neurological disorders, go figure.  unless we start to makes changes to our current diet, our health will continue to degrade.

To get things moving in the right direction we need to move away from the man made fats and incorporate the healthy fats nature provides.

The majority of the fats we consume need to be from natural sources and not man made. 

We need to avoid processed vegetable oils, while consuming the natural sources of omega-6 fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds in moderate amounts.

The omega-3 fats EPA and DHA should be consumed regularly along with the Omega-6 fat Arachidonic Acid (ARA). If nothing else remember fats that come from natural sources are healthy while fats that are made by man damage our health.

If you’re tired of working hard, and not getting the results you want, I can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health or fat loss goals.

These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained. I’ll be there every step of the way to support and keep you accountable.  

Get on a Strategy Call with me to Discover how to achieve your health or fat loss goals, and make them yours to keep this time around.

Whether you decide to work with me or not I can guarantee you will leave this call with more knowledge on how to achieve your goals.

 

Evolve Nutritional Therapy Strategy Session


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Naturally Boosting Testosterone Ebook (Chapters 4-5)

Chapter 4 - Benefits of Optimal Testosterone  

A lot of what decreases our testosterone is just a normal part of life, right:  It’s commonplace and everyone accepts it as common.

Getting to bed early takes discipline, lifting heavy weights is hard work. When was the last time you sprinted like your life depended on it and felt your heart beat like a drum? 

When you take these steps in life you slowly build confidence in your physical and mental capabilities, you begin to push harder and gain momentum going forward.

When you move pebbles daily, by the end of the year you have moved a mountain. 

You have a choice to make. Do you want to be described as common and normal or are you willing to push yourself to achieve what you want?

If you look, feel and perform at your best, imagine what you are capable of in your life! 

It all begins with your nutrition, sleep, exercise and lifestyle habits.  These are the anchors that you build on.

While there are some supplements that provide benefits to boosting testosterone, they are worthless without the right lifestyle habits in place.

I doubt by now anyone needs convincing but before we get any further lets look at the benefits of optimizing your testosterone.  

    •    Improved mood

    •     Decreased body fat

    •    Increased muscle mass and strength

    •     Improved cognitive ability

    •    Stronger bones/ bone density

    •    Improved libido

    •    Decreased the chance of Alzheimer's

    •    Increased motivation and competitiveness

  

Chapter 5 - How To Naturally Boost Testosterone   

    •    Lift heavy weights: Focus on large compound movements that are going to engage the entire body. These include squats, deadlifts, cleans, snatches, dips and pull ups.

When lifting to maximizing testosterone it is going to be a good idea to lower the reps and use heavier weight.

A 5x5 program (5 sets of 5 reps) works well. The goal is to give enough stimulus to boost testosterone, but not to over train.

    •    Lose Fat: A certain percentage of all testosterone is converted into estrogen, and the enzyme that makes that conversion is in our body fat.

The more body fat you have the more of this enzyme you'll have. When you are eating healthier, exercising smartly, and sleeping you will lose fat. 

    •    Eliminate sugar from your diet:  Sugar is highly inflammatory and a large contributor to many of the metabolic problems people experience.

Frequent consumption of sugar or refined carbohydrates elevates the blood sugar, causing the release of the fat storage hormone insulin.

If insulin is present we are more than likely storing fat and not burning it. The amount of sugar in the standard American diet is a large contributor to many inflammatory diseases that plague our society, including obesity. 

    •    Reduce stress: Stress causes the release of the fight or flight hormone cortisol. This breaks down muscle, steals hormonal precursors and makes us store belly fat.

Adopt a stress reduction practice such as yoga, meditation or going for a calm walk outside when you need a break. 

    •    HIIT/ sprints: Besides proper nutrition there is no better tool for fat loss than sprints. The beauty of sprints is that it builds muscle while burning fat at the same time.

Sprints also cause you to continue burning fat long after the sprint session has ended. Both High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and sprints create a boost in testosterone because of their intensity and brief duration. 

    •    Get adequate rest and sleep: When you get adequate sleep you recover better from exercise, burn more fat, have more energy throughout the day and spend more time in an anabolic state. The body secretes testosterone and growth hormone during sleep. 

There is a correlation between total time in bed andtotal testosterone production. Get off Facebook an hour earlier and head to bed. Aim for eight to nine hours of sleep and try to be in bed by 10:30-11:00 to allow the body to repair, rebuild and secrete testosterone. 

    •    Have sex: I don’t think there a real need to explain this to any guy, but in the name of consistency I will. Just having an erection boosts testosterone; you might as well put the erection to good use. 

    •    Eat cruciferous vegetables: vegetables such as brussel sprouts, radishes, kale, watercress, bok choy, broccoli and cauliflower all have phytochemicals that help to balance the estrogen to testosterone ratio, mitigating the negative effects of excess estrogen. 

    •    Consume zinc rich foods or supplement (Zinc Citrate): Zinc can be found in foods such as: grass fed beef, oysters, shrimp, flax seeds, egg yolks, beef liver, pumpkin seeds, cashews and Turkey.

Zinc is an aromatase inhibitor, which blocks the production of estrogen or the reactions that take place at the estrogen receptor site. We want to optimize the ratio of testosterone to estrogen in the body. 

    •    Get selenium from Brazil nuts: Eat two to four Brazil nuts daily to get selenium in a high bioavailable form. Do not over consume brazil nuts, you can overdo selenium and have adverse effects. 

    •    Consume Omega 3 rich foods: Eat wild caught fish two to three times a week.  If that isn’t a possibility you can always find high quality fish oil to supplement with. 

    •    Optimize Vitamin D3 levels: Vitamin D3 is the bioavailable form that our body can use. It is a very difficult vitamin to get in the diet through foods, but if you live in a sunny region getting outside and getting sunshine on your skin for at least 20 minutes a day is the best way to naturally get vitamin D.

For those of us like myself who live in a region where sunshine isn’t always available, supplementing vitamin D is going to be the best bet for optimizing levels. 

    •    Drink only from glassware: BPA is a chemical used to make plastic and other products. BPA imitates estrogen and binds to the estrogen receptors in the body.

By mimicking estrogen it negatively impacts the endocrine system and should be avoided by not eating or drinking out of plastics. 

    •    Eat clean pastured raised animal products: Pasture raised animals contain a better omega 3 (anti inflammatory) to omega 6 (inflammatory) fatty acid ratio.

These grass fed animals also contain higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals. Protein and fat are both important components to making testosterone.  When you get that fat and protein from healthier sources you are giving your body better quality raw materials to make testosterone.  

    •    Eat saturated and monounsaturated fats: Consume a healthy amount of dietary fat from sources such as organic coconut oil, pastured eggs, pasture raised meats, avocados, grass fed butter, wild caught fish, olive oil, nuts.

    •    Reduce alcohol consumptionDon’t worry, I’m not saying to never drink alcohol again. I do, however, want to bring to light that alcohol has the ability to increase estrogen in our body.

Alcohol negatively impacts liver function; in turn the ability to process estrogen is reduced causing it to build up in the blood stream. 

DISCLAIMER: This Blog is intended as an informational guide and is not meant to treat,diagnose or prescribe. For any kind of medical condition, disease state or physical symptoms. always consult with a qualified physician before making changes. The author does not accept any responsibility for your health or how you choose to use this information. 

If you’re tired of working hard, and not getting the results you want, I can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health or fat loss goals.

These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained. I’ll be there every step of the way to support and keep you accountable.  

Get on a Strategy Call with me to Discover how to achieve your health or fat loss goals, and make them yours to keep this time around.

Whether you decide to work with me or not I can guarantee you will leave this call with more knowledge on how to achieve your goals.

 

Evolve Nutritional Therapy Strategy Session


Name *
Name
Phone *
Phone