Sunday, January 29, 2012


I am so tired of hearing about “healthy” fats. Practically every day I read another news article or receive another email message saying to be sure to include healthy fats in my diet. Usually, the messages talk a lot about adding fats to our diets and make a feeble attempt at describing the difference between healthy fats and unhealthy fats. 
To me these messages are very misleading and more destructive than helpful. Yes, I agree that there is difference in fats. But, if you are someone with heart disease, elevated cholesterol levels, or any number of other type of health issues you should avoid ALL added fats in your diet-regardless if they are “healthy” or not!  In this country we are inundated with confusing messages from various seemingly reputable sources such as health care professionals, well known dietitians, doctors, weight trainers, and weight-loss programs.
Below are a couple of examples of what I’m talking about:
Mayo Clinic says - When choosing fats, pick unsaturated fat over saturated or trans fat.”
The American Heart Association says - Does my body need fats? Yes, it does. Dietary fats are essential to give your body energy and to support cell growth. They also help protect your organs and help keep your body warm. Fats help your body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones, too. Your body definitely needs fat – but not as much fat as most people eat.”
At first glance these messages may seem somewhat innocuous however, in general the average person doesn’t know whether the fats they are eating are unsaturated, saturated or the dreaded trans fats. Nor does the general public have any idea how added fats affect them because the health care industry doesn’t paint a complete picture. 
Sorry to say this but I know people who don’t even realize they consume fats! They seem to think that just because a package label says “baked” on it that there is no oil added. Wrong! On the other hand, I have people tell me things like “I roasted some vegetables last night in olive oil--it’s heart healthy!” or “Instead of butter I used X-brand buttery spread. The label said it didn’t have any trans fats in it!”  Unfortunately, these are the same individuals who have elevated cholesterol levels and other health issues.
Please understand that I’m not arguing the fact that we should avoid trans fats or that olive oil is more heart healthy vs. lard. Duh. What I am trying to point out is that adding fat to one’s diet is unnecessary and in most cases unhealthy. Because you see...
Fat = Fat 
Fat is still fat (no matter the form whether saturated, unsaturated or whatever) and has the affect of raising your overall cholesterol level -- not lowering it.  Any fat in your diet adds to your risk of heart disease, stroke, and obesityAnd as stated earlier, it is obvious the general public does not understand or may only hear the part about including fats in their diet--not eliminating them from their diet. 
I believe in the findings of both Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. T. Collin Campbell whose studies have proven the reversal of diseases such as heart disease, cancer, etc. by eating a diet of less than 10% fat. Really! Recently, Dr. Oz interviewed both of these doctors along with Dr. Neal Barnard about eating a plant-based whole foods diet. I didn’t include the link here but you can find it if you go to the website the interview was called Diet Changes to Lower Disease.  
One thing I liked was when Dr. Barnard made the point that we should do away with all processed foods. Guess what?!  All oils fall into the processed foods category.  He used olive oil as an example and how it is processed by stripping all of its “healthful” benefits leaving only the fat. Fat that we do not need to add to our diet. Check out the video if you can at Dr. Oz’s site. Also I highly recommend for you to read the following two books if you haven’t already:
  • Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure by Caldwell B. Esselstyn 
  • The China Study by Dr. T. Collin Campbell
The health care industry needs to clean up this confusing fatty mess! Their messages should actually say:  
“By eating a whole foods plant-based diet you will get an adequate amount of naturally occurring fats in your foods. There is no real health benefit of adding fats to your diet.”  
That’s something I bet you’ll never hear them say!  

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