Fats: Your Waist, Your Heart & Your Shopping Cart.

Listen up ~ your “fat-free” salad dressing is not the answer. First of all, let’s be honest: it’s not dressing that is causing you to gain weight. Salads – even those that are way over proper portion size – aren’t making people fat. Food coming out of a bag with “snack-o-sphere” (the puff of air you get when you open the chip bag) and food from boxes – that is making us fat. Well, that food coming through car windows, the monstrosity of portions and lack of movement… but let’s talk FATS!

Why fat?

What is the purpose of having fats in our diet?  Energy! Fats are a major source of energy in the body. Ah-Ha! That’s why you’re exhausted on a ‘fat-free’ diet and you thought it was just pasta that gives you energy (and wonderful news- the right fats don’t cause the crash/glucose surge that pasta does). Fats are also used to allow you to absorb ‘fat-soluble’ vitamins (A, D, E, & K) and essential fatty acids (your fish oil supplement).  So if you are taking these supplements on an empty stomach (or right before bed), you are not absorbing them.

The Good, the bad & the ugly. Know your fats. Some are ‘bad’, some ‘good, some have a bad rap for no reason, and some are put in your food without knowing it.

The Good: Monounsaturated & Polyunsaturated fats.

These HELP to lower total cholesterol, the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and glucose (diabetes) levels and to increase the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. Unsaturated fats have at least one double bond in the fatty acid chain. A fat molecule is monounsaturated if it contains one double bond, and polyunsaturated if it contains more than one double bond. Where double bonds are formed, hydrogen atoms are eliminated.

Examples of Monosaturated fats: Olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds
Examples of Polyunsaturated fats: Fatty fish, eggs (Blasphemy –Eggs are good for cholesterol!) seeds, nuts, and flax seeds

Saturated fats.

By definition, these fats are ‘saturated’ with hydrogen. Sounds bad – and there are still many dissin’ these fats. These help to improve the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and serve to improve the ‘size’ of the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. The size you ask?? Yes- this is the time you do want fat & fluffy … the fatter and fluffier, the less possibility for the LDL to ‘stick’ in the vessels. In fact, the smaller denser LDL appears to have a 300% increase in cardiac risk. This explains particle size well.

(By the way, if you are being told you need a Statin for your cholesterol- ask for the VAP lipid panel from your provider to get data on the size of your LDL and therefore true risk to your health –you may need to take the article with you and ‘beg’ them to appease you but most insurance companies pay for this). Saturated fats help to improve liver, lungs and brains.

Examples of Saturated fats: Coconut oil, Butter (Blasphemy), Beef, Poultry skin, full fat Dairy, nuts, seeds.

The Bad: Vegetable oils.

Get the yellow oils out of the house. Yes, even the ‘omega heart healthy’ ones! We realize they belong in the ‘polyunsaturated’ club but – they are crap.  The ‘good’ they could offer from the seed/plants is highly compensated by the chemicals (“solvents”)  used to pull the oils from the plants. And they tend to be high in the ‘poly’ level which means they have many double bonds.  The more double bonds the quicker the rancidity (rotting).  Pretty sure you don’t want to sign up for rotting organs (cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia and autoimmune). No need to ‘use up’ what you have.  Think health-not rot.

Trans fats

Or hydrogenated oils.  The “partially hydrogenated” oils snuck into in most processed foods. These oils help the ‘food’ stay fresh a long-long-long time. Hmmm, does that mean it stays in our body for a long-long-long time? These fats increase the risk of heart disease because the fat molecules on their bond structures line up in a line which leads to plaque formation.

Most people know these fats are ‘bad’.  The news and FDA have finally clued in stating partially hydrogenated oils are not “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS).  Psst… Yes, you… we have a little secret for you.  Food manufacturers can claim “No trans fat!” and still include them as long as it has less than 0.5g per serving size (let’s go back to my ‘monstrous portion size issue… no one is following them!). So PLEASE read ingredients and PLEASE stop eating them. We did not say decrease. We said stop.

Examples of Trans Fats:

Many peanut butters, margarine and ‘spreads’ (even the ‘heart healthy ones’), fake and flavored coffee creamers, packaged foods, (Cookies, crackers, cakes, muffins, pie crusts, pizza dough, cake and pancake mixes, donuts, French fries, taco shells, chips, microwave popcorn, frozen dinners), and breads/buns.  And most foods that come through a car window. This Broccoli soup mix has 2 trans fats listed in the ingredients.

Eat the Fat!

80% of your health (or disease) status comes from what’s in your grocery cart, what’s in your kitchen and what’s on the end of your fork. Fats should be a part of your diet. But don’t eat the fats that are adding to disease. (Those that contain Trans or poorly processed polyunsaturated fat). Don’t eat too much.  Sure, some salad dressings have the ‘bad’ fat, so shop wisely, read ingredients and put the good stuff in your grocery cart and in your body!

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