Vilma Brunhuber, Holistic Integrative Nutrition and Health Coach

Vilma Brunhuber, Holistic Integrative Nutrition and Health Coach

The Fat Myth: “Eating Fat makes you Fat”

Health news. We are told saturated fats cause heart disease, so we trade butter for vegetable oils:  yet heart disease is still skyrocketing. We are told saturated fats cause bone to lessen, so we drink low-fat milk: yet osteoporosis is widespread. We are told saturated fat isn’t good for our brains, so we stop eating traditional fats like coconut oil: yet depression, ADHD, dementia and autism are more prevalent than ever before. Are saturated fats really the villain here?

In a study published in the September issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation, scientists report unraveling a central biochemical mechanism behind fat’s effect on the mammalian brain. They found that after only three days on a diet high in saturated fat—like butter—the brains of rats and mice became resistant to leptin and insulin. In contrast, unsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil, did not trigger resistance (1).

After decades of believing the myth that butter clogs arteries and causes heart attacks, people are now beginning to realize that partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarine, and shortening – the so-called “heart healthy spreads” — are the culprits, not wholesome saturated fats like butter. This is very good news, as butter, especially raw organic butter from grass-pastured cows, is a wealth of nutrition and nourishing fats. It’s hardly the only saturated fat that’s good for you, of course. Other important sources include:

  • Organic pastured egg yolks
  • Grass-fed meats
  • Coconuts and coconut oil
  • Raw dairy

Coconut oil is amazing for hormone health. It provides the necessary building blocks for hormone production, can assist weight loss, reduce inflammation, and even has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

Hormones are produced using good fats and cholesterol, so lack of these important dietary factors can cause hormone problems simply because the body doesn’t have the building blocks to make them.

Saturated fats positively affect hormonal function. To be more specific, free testosterone levels tend to be higher in those who include saturated fats in their diet. Free testosterone should be a big deal to you, as it helps with muscle growth, tissue repair, immune system strength, and your sexual function. (2)

Low-fat diets also increase Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin levels (SHBG). SHBG is a protein that grabs or binds to testosterone, effectively making less free Testosterone available for your body. Diets rich in saturated fats are the best way to deliver increased strength and size by natural means.

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

“Many people need to increase the healthful fat in their diet to 50-85 percent of daily calories” – Dr. Mercola. About ¼ to 1/3g of dietary fat per 1lb of lean body mass is a good place to start. This includes not only saturated fat but also monounsaturated fats (from avocados and nuts) and omega-3 fats. If this sounds like a lot, remember that mounting scientific evidence supports saturated fat as a necessary part of a heart healthy diet, and firmly debunks the myth that saturated fat promotes heart disease.

If you forgot everything else about nutrition, and only implemented one specific core principle, you would probably end up with a decent physique, be happy and feel great. That one basic principle is this: Your consumption of carbohydrates (particularly sugars and starches) and dietary fat should be inversely related.

In other words, the more carbohydrates you eat, the less fats you should eat. The more fats you eat, the less carbohydrates you should eat. Like everything else with nutrition, the theory is simple; it’s the real life implementation of that theory that is difficult.

Be careful though, it is easy for you to overeat these added fats and shoot past your daily totals. Portion control is key.

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To your health,~ Vilma B