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When a diet is wrong...let's talk about eating fat.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

You need to eat fat...REALLY.

First, I want to mention cholesterol. There are two kinds. HDL (high density lipoprotein), which is GOOD to have and a high HDL number is means you are doing a lot of things right. A good HDL number is above 60. Below 40, means you need to work harder on your diet. The other kind is LDL (low density lipoprotein), and the higher this number is, the worse it is for you and your body. A good LDL number is between 100 and 129. Under 100 is optimal. Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body, mostly in the arteries, mostly obtained by eating bad fats.

Now, let's talk about fat. The kind you eat, the kind that raises or lowers that cholesterol. There are certain types of fats, we will call them "bad fats", or if you want to get realistic, saturated fats and trans-fats, that should really be avoided at all costs. They are lousy for you. They make you fat. They harden your arteries, they raise your cholesterol, they increase the chances of heart disease alarmingly, so they couldn't be a worse choice for your daily dietary plan. These bad boys are all over the place. They are in any candy bar you buy. They are in anything that is cooked in oil that you can get in a fast-food restaurant (I would suggest avoiding every single fast food restaurant forever, but I know, that one is a tough one), they are in so many foods that are processed or eaten at restaurants, it would be impossible to name them all. Saturated fats are found in meat, dairy, eggs and seafood. The leaner the meat, the less saturated fat will be in it. Fat-free dairy products do not contain cholesterol. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, and should be seen as one. I know, you have seen all that stuff about coconut oil. Please, don't eat it. Put it on your skin, by all means, but it IS a saturated fat, and it will raise your cholesterol. I have never read any article that says that coconut oil is not a saturated fat, and that it lowers anything. Read everything on the internet with a jaundiced eye.

Then we have Trans-Fats, the worst of the worst. They are an invention by some evil scientists, who "hydrogenated" liquid oil, so it was easier to use in food production, and made for a much longer shelf-life. ANYTHING that has a long shelf life, besides honey, should be avoided. Longer shelf life is a clear indicator that something is filled with chemicals so you can eat it a year from now. Let that scare you, please. Fats to be avoided always are palm oil and palm kernel oil. Never, never eat trans-fats. They can probably harden your arteries just by getting them close to you (kidding, but not by much).

Trans-fats are found in most commercially packaged food, are what most french fries are cooked in, and all margarines are all trans-fats. You are so much better off using butter, just because it is not filled with chemicals, even though it is a saturated fat. Of course, it is better to eliminate this entire block of awful fats entirely. Your body will thank you for it, forever, and so will your Doctor, when your cholesterol levels improve. If it says "hydrogenated oil" it is a trans-fat and avoid it entirely.

Now, for the good fats, and the reasons we need some fat in our diets. Eliminating fat completely from your diet is the wrong approach, because some of the very important vitamins needed for critical body functions are only absorbed in the body by fat molecules. They are called "fat soluble vitamins", and are A, D, E & K. Most of us are now deficient in Vitamin D these days, because we use sunscreen (damned if you do, damned if you don't!!). Vitamin D is so important, and if you have a physical coming up, get checked to see if you are Vitamin D deficient. I was, even though I don't really use sunscreen, but live in Minnesota, and don't see as much sun as I did living in Southern California!! I take Vitamin D daily.

Now, the amount of fat you need to absorb these vitamins is small. A teaspoon a day is good enough. Here's the interesting part.

Monounsaturated "good fats" actually lower cholesterol, and help destroy all those artery hardening trans fats that have been sitting in your circulatory system. They are GOOD for you, and help to change your cholesterol levels, all to the good. These things have been proven to be helped by a diet using monounsaturated fats: Breast cancer, lower risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, less pain from arthritis, and reduction in arthritis joint swelling, decreased weight and decreased belly fat. Some good fats are: olive oil, avocados, canola oil, any nut oils, or nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts), flax seed and its oil.

Polyunsaturated fats are also good fats, but are not AS good as the monounsaturated fats. They are way preferable to the bad fats, and some are very beneficial. Some polyunsaturated fats contain Omega-3 fatty acids, found in some fish, nuts good oils, seeds and dark greens contain "essential fatty acids", acids that are critical for body function, but cannot be manufactured by the body. Walnuts, canola and hemp oils, flaxseeds and it's oil and soybeans.

There is much more, but if you take away one thing from this, it is that you, your body, your long-term health, and yes, your weight will all benefit from eliminating bad fats from your diet.

Last time I had my cholesterol checked a few months ago, my HDL was 77, and LDL was 112.

Spark on.
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