Fats in America get a bad rap. America has been on a fat-free band wagon for decades, yet obesity levels are at 42% currently and rising according to the CDC. These stats do not reflect the number of Americas who are simply overweight. For a country that lives on fat-free everything and diet soda, these numbers should be lower right? Think again. Your body needs good fats, and all the crap we eat that our body cannot use, guess what, it gets stored as fat. Fat free yogurt, fat free cheese, low fat milk, fat free coffee cream….these items have loads of ingredients like carrageenan, xanthan gum, guar gum and other additives are body doesn’t recognize. So what happens then? They wreck havoc in the gut, tax the liver and most of the time get stored as FAT on our body. So many people believe it is the fat we eat that goes right to our belly or our hips…wrong.
Let’s dive in to why you need fat in your diet and what kind of fat you need.
Your body needs fats, but the source needs to be a good one, from grass-fed meats, free-range chickens and wild caught fish. Saturated fats have been deemed “unhealthy” and “a cause of heart disease.” Saturated fats from good meat sources are not only healthy, but they are vital for:
Enhancing the immune system
Are necessary for healthy bones
They protect the liver
They do not go rancid when heated to high heats
They do not call upon the body’s reserve of anti-oxidants
They do not initiate cancer…and
They do not irritate artery walls
Consuming good fats is especially important when you are breastfeeding, to ensure that your body has the necessary building blocks and hormones to make nutrient dense milk.
Butter is better. Butter protects us against many diseases in the same way that red meat does. Butter is believed to cause heart disease, yet again, as the incidence of heart disease rose, the consumption of butter decreased. Butter contains many nutrients we need to protect us from heart disease, such as vitamin A (see blog on vitamin A), as well as lecithin, which assists in the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat constituents.
Further, Dr. Weston A. Price discovered the X-factor, found in butter and animal fat, (now believed to be vitamin K2) that is also essential for optimal growth. It is a powerful catalyst, which like vitamins A and D, helps the body absorb and utilize minerals. According to the Weston A. Price foundation, “A growing body of published research confirms Dr. Price’s discoveries, namely that vitamin K2 is important for the utilization of minerals, protects against tooth decay, supports growth and development, is involved in normal reproduction, protects against calcification of the arteries leading to heart disease, and is a major component of the brain”. Butter is also essential for the development of children. It plays a vital role in brain development and nervous system development from inception to adulthood.
Butter is also a good source of antioxidants and cholesterol. The bottom line is; do not throw your butter away in exchange for margarine, which contains highly processed rancid vegetable oils, soy protein and a bunch of other additives. Some margarine still contains hydrogenated fats.
If you have a hard time eating butter or getting your child to eat butter add the X-Factor Gold™ High-Vitamin Butter Oil found at www.building-health.com to a smoothie. Butter is also a great resource for those who cannot stomach organ meats, which are high in vitamin A.
Other Important Types of Fat
The following information on important fats we need in our diets and where to get them is an exert from Paul Chek’s book, How to Eat Move and Be Healthy. This information is based on Paul Chek’s thorough research. For more information click on link to, How To Eat, Move and Be Healthy.
Found in animal fats and tropical oils (organic palm and coconut are easiest to find)
Do not normally go rancid, even when heated for cooking
Made in our bodies from carbohydrates
Constitutes at least 50% of the cell membranes; they give cells stiffness and integrity
Needed for calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal system
Protect liver from alcohol and other toxins
Enhance immune system
Needed for proper use of EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids)
Sources: animal products, coconut and palm oil
Bulletproof has a great oil (XCT oil) that is super clean if you want an easy source to use
Tend to be liquid at room temperature
Do not go rancid easily and can be used in cooking at moderate temperatures
Sources: olive oil, almonds, pecans, cashews, peanuts and avocados
Contain linoleic acid (omega 6) and linolenic acid (omega 3) – essential because our bodies cannot produce them
Liquid, even when refrigerated
Should never be heated
Sources: vegetable oils, fish oil, eggs and walnuts
Fats to Avoid
Trans-fatty acids (TFA) and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, are hard for the body to assimilate and use. Structurally, trans-fatty acids are closer to plastic than fat. TFA consumption has been linked to heart disease and elevated cholesterol levels. TFAs are also thought to impair lipoprotein receptors in cells, impairing the body’s ability to process low-density cholesterol (LDL), increasing their rate of synthesis and eventually elevating LDL levels in the blood. (LDL’s are considered the “bad” cholesterol as it has a tendency to build up in the inner walls of the arteries, causing a narrowing of the arterial walls (atherosclerosis).
Samples of Foods containing trans-fatty acids are:
Any product with ingredients that say “not a significant source of trans-fatty acids” – a very interesting article can be found on http://www.bantransfats.com/faq.html, regarding the “oreo cookie case”, back in 2003.
Oils used to cook fast food in such vegetable oils with partially hydrogenated oils
Omega-3 fatty acids and pregnancy
During pregnancy, the dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids is really important in ensuring that the baby has adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids at the time of birth. All the polyunsaturated fatty acids, including DHA, are transferred across the placenta into the fetal blood. In addition, EPA and DHA in the mother’s fat cells can be made available to the developing baby through the placenta.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, significantly higher levels of cognitive function were seen in breast-fed than in formula-fed children at 6–23 mo. of age and these differences were stable across successive ages. This impart is due to higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in breast milk versus formula. Other studies have shown that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids have contributed to increased brain development in infants and children.
Further, studies have shown that higher levels of cod liver oil in the diet promote strong bones, immunity, normal growth, successful reproduction, good nervous system function, insulin production, healthy skin and good eyesight to list a few.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain cerebral cortex, sperm, testicles and retina.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA or also icosapentaenoic acid) is an omega-3 fatty acid. It is obtained in the human diet by eating oily fish or fish oil – e.g., cod liver, herring, mackerel, salmon, menhaden and sardine. It is also found in human breast milk.
However, fish do not naturally produce EPA, but obtain it from the algae they consume.
It is important to choose stable fats when cooking at high heats, such as coconut oil, ghee, palm oil and lard. For medium heat, you can use sesame oil, hazelnut oil and for low heat olive oil.
Oils that are good to take with no heat include, olive oil and flax seed oil, (The flaxseed needs to be ground in order for the proper digestion of the seeds to take place.) Two tablespoons of flaxseed is about 20 grams of seed and since there is about 40 percent oil in the seeds and about 50-60 percent omega-3 in the oil, 20 grams of seed could provide about 8 grams of flaxseed oil and about 4 grams alpha-linolenic acid, the basic omega-3 fatty acid.
Don’t Fear Fats for your children!
Pediatric clinicians have known for some time that children fed low-fat and low-cholesterol diets fail to grow properly. After all, a majority of mother’s milk is fat, much of it saturated fat. Children need high levels of fat throughout growth and development. Milk and animal fats give energy and also help children build muscle and bone. In addition, the animal fats provide vitamins A and D, necessary for protein and mineral assimilation, normal growth and hormone production.
Choose a variety of foods so your child gets a range of fats, but emphasize stable saturated fats, found in butter, meat and coconut oil, and monounsaturated fats, found in avocados and olive oil.
If your baby is very mature and seems hungry, he/she may be given mashed banana during this period. Ripe banana is a great food for babies because it contains amylase enzymes to digest carbohydrates.