Nutrition Tidbits

by Lisa Metzgar, PhD


Not all Fats are Created Equal


All our life we have heard that fat is bad for us. That you need to eat a low-fat diet in order to lose weight and stave off heart disease. Why is it that we have more heart disease than ever, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity? We have a grocery store full of low-fat products and still, our epidemic goes on. Well, fats have gotten a bad name.

Fats can actually help you lose weight, clear arteries, lower cholesterol, and reduce inflammation in the body. Of course, it depends on the types of fat you eat. Not all fats are created equal. There really is such a thing as a “good” fat.

The fats that cause the damage in the body are the hard fats, saturated fats, and partially hydrogenated fats. These include fat from marbled beef, cheese, and processed foods. These are the fats that clog the arteries and cause our blood pressure to go up. They contribute to high cholesterol and high blood triglycerides.

One of the best fats you can add to your diet is extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin is the least processed olive oil making it as close to natural as you can get. If you just replace most of your fat consumption, ie…butter, lard, processed vegetable oils, and high-fat beef with olive oil you will see and feel the difference.

Olive oil has been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease. One of the main causes of cardiovascular disease is inflammation in the body. Olive oil is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can also help eliminate joint pain as well. Olive oil has also been shown to improve brain function, decrease cancer rates, improve liver function, and protects all cell membranes.

This amazing oil helps to decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases HDL (good) cholesterol levels. It does this by improving liver function, decreasing cholesterol absorption from food, and increasing bile production to help eliminate cholesterol.

Adding olive oil to your diet can help you lose weight by stimulating the production of fat-digesting enzymes in the pancreas. It is a delicious addition to your diet. I use it in place of butter on my toast, in salad dressings, and drizzled over steamed vegetables. A healthy fat added to every meal can slow down the absorption of carbohydrates, lowering their glycemic index. This means your blood sugar remains at a more constant level avoiding the dramatic rise and drops associated with too many simple carbohydrates. This also helps you to lose weight.

Another very beneficial oil to add to your diet is fish oil. At least 2 meals of fish a week, as well as fish oil capsules taken every day, is recommended. Cold water fish like salmon (wild) and trout are great sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. Fish oil is also a great anti-inflammatory. I give fish oil capsules to my dog who is getting arthritis in his hips.

Cold water fish also contain EPA and DHA which they get from the brown and red algae they eat. EPA and DHA is needed in our brain cells, nerve synapses, eyes, and various glands in our bodies. When my child was born 6 years ago they had just started adding DHA to baby formulas to help with brain and nerve development.

EPA and DHA helps disperse saturated fat and helps platelets from getting “sticky” to open up our arteries. Fish oil can lower our triglycerides by as much as 65%, lower LDL cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. Our bodies make hormones from EPA that lowers risk of heart attack, stroke, and other blood clotting disorders. It has also been shown to inhibit growth and metastasis of cancer tumors.

Essential fatty acids, Omega 3 and omega 6, found in olive oil, avocados, flax seeds, almonds, peanuts, borage seed oil, grape seed oil, and evening primrose oil can increase your metabolic rate, help kidneys to eliminate excess water weight from tissues, and increase fat and glucose burned. You get more energy which makes you more and active and helps you build lean muscle which all leads to…..WEIGHT LOSS!

Here are a few yummy ideas to add healthy fats to your diet…
Apples with peanut butter
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing
Whole Grain Cereal with flax seeds
Handful of raw almonds
Fruit Smoothy with a tablespoon of peanut butter
Salmon drizzled with a little olive oil and dill
Steamed veggies drizzled with olive oil
Whole grain bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Oatmeal with a tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter

So, start replacing all that unhealthy fat with healthy fat! It tastes great and you won’t feel hungry all the time like you do on those dreadful low fat diets!

For more information on healthy fats read Fats that Kill, Fats that Heal
by Udo Erasmus. It is pretty technical reading but very informative. The author also has his own blend of oil that you can find in health food stores called Udo’s Choice.

More About Nutrition:

Lisa Metzgar

Nutrition Tidbits by Lisa Metzgar, PhD
LisaMetzgar, PhD,she received her BA in Biology from UCSD, is a certified Holistic Health Practitioner, and received her Ph.D. in Holistic Nutrition.

Lisa has taught body mind retreats in San Diego, Seattle, and Australia and currently has a practice in Reno, NV where she does nutrition counseling.Lisa's passion is to educate families about a healthy lifestyle.
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