Day 27: Macronutrients: Fats
DHA and EPA; Flax Seeds and Oils; Hemp Seeds and Oil; Chia Seeds; Fish and Fish Oil; Cholesterol and the Big Fat Lie; Leptins
Welcome to Day 27!
One question that arises with Juice Feasting is, “Where you are getting your fat?” One of your freshest fat sources is actually the greens that you are juicing. Leafy greens are about 7-10 percent fat. Also, you are deriving fat from the tablespoon of hemp oil you are eating each day (or a fish oil if you are not vegan), and there is some fat in bee pollen, if you are using that as part of your Juice Feast.
There are two main reasons that Juice Feasting as a Practice (while you are drinking just juices) is a low-fat approach.
The first reason has to do with weight loss and detoxification. On a low-fat approach for the duration of a Juice Feast, your body will go after fat stores on your body for energy… thus reducing fat. This is good for weight loss, but also for detoxification, as your body uses fat to store toxins (the 65,000 agro- and industrial chemicals we are exposed to…)
The second reason has to do with increasing your body’ sensitivity to insulin and thus reducing your average blood sugar. Insulin, like a FexEx delivery worker, delivers carbohydrate to your cells. But cells can become resistant to the insulin, and don’t want to take the carbohydrate. So the insulin keeps traveling around the blood with its package of carbohydrate. We call this high blood sugar, or diabetes.
We want your cells to be receptive to their FedEx delivery guys, or insulin. But excess fats – and rancid or bad fats – can create a resistance to the insulin, creating high blood sugar. This resistance is caused in part by too much fat in the cells themselves, called intramyocellular lipids, or fat in your cells. We want that fat out of there. Here is a diagram:
So a low-fat Juice Feasting protocol gets the intramyocellular lipds out of your cells and they in turn become receptive to their FedEx guys again (the insulin) and the packages (carbohydrates) are delivered to their destinations (the cells) and get out of your blood. This lowers your blood sugar, and is one of the main reasons that people with blood sugar metabolism issues do so well with a Juice Feast.
Finally, lower blood sugar means reduced inflammation in your whole body, but particularly your cardiovascular system, which reduces your chance of developing heart disease… but also alzheimer’s, dementia, arthritis… it’s good news all around.
Good Fat / Bad Fat
The hype and conflicting information about dietary fats that is out there can be very confusing. Organizations like the American Heart Association and the United States Departments of Agriculture (USDA)—who developed the Food Pyramid—recommend a “low-fat diet” to prevent such conditions as obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
There’s a problem with “fat-free” food labels. Major food manufacturers, in an attempt to profit from the “low-fat” message, have developed all kinds of “low-fat” and “fat-free” food alternatives. For most of these products, the fat is taken out and replaced with undesirable non-nutritive alternatives such as refined sugars, chemical “fat substitutes” like Olestra, and artificial sweeteners like aspartame, Splenda®, etc. And, our health is worse than ever. Conditions such as heart disease, stroke, obesity, and diabetes have been increasing dramatically, due in large part to the unhealthy ingredients that are not food, added to our food.
Despite common misconception, not all fats are bad. Fats in their whole form are excellent.
We need fats to run our immune system, create healthy skin, and build our brains, and even prevent issues such as postpartum depression.
“Good” fats are crucial for good health. The human body cannot survive without fat, since many body processes rely on fat. For instance, fat-soluble vitamins can only be distributed throughout the body by way of fat. It is true that there are some fats that are not good for you. Not surprising, these “bad” fats, also known as trans fats, primarily exist in heavily processed foods.
Food manufacturers are changing their tune. Have you noticed that food manufacturers are changing their labels? As the latest food marketing trend changes, “Fat-free” is being replaced with “No trans fats.” The truth of the matter is that living the “low-fat” or “fat-free” lifestyle is actually very damaging for your health. Understanding dietary fats and making good, natural choices are the only real ways to preserve your waistline, and protect yourself against chronic conditions.
A healthy balance is best. Each person’s protein, fat and, carbohydrate requirements are unique based on his or her individual biochemistry. On balance, however, our macronutrient intake should be about:
+ 50-70% of calories should come from carbohydrates.
+ 10-20% of calories should come from protein-rich sources.
+ 20-40% of calories should come from fat-rich sources.
+ Acceptable ranges for children are similar to those for adults, except that infants and younger children need a slightly higher proportion of fat. During childhood, the brain is the fastest-growing organ and it’s made up of 60% fat. A severe, low-fat diet may have long-term negative health implications.
What is interesting about these ratios is that they will change for you from season to season, biogregion to bioregion, and from decade to decade in your life. Colder seasons demand more fats, hotter climates demand more carbohydrates… later in life we do well with a lower-glycemic diet.
When it comes to fats, we want whole fats coming in, and in the context of a diet high in leafy greens (about 1-2 lbs per day), fresh vegetables and fruits.
We will return to this topic of dietary balance with The Four Means to Get Your Greens on Day 83.
Good, Beautiful, Whole Fats
Saturated Fats. Saturated fats differ from unsaturated fats because the molecules of saturated fat have only one single bond between carbon atoms. Our healthiest sources come from tropical plants, such as coconut oil. They tend to be solid or semi-solid at room temperature, and are stable so they do not easily become rancid. Coconut oil is about 300 times as resistant to rancidity as flax oil, meaning that coconut oil can sit in your cabinet, and flax oil needs refrigeration and a dark container, as it will photo-oxidize. Although they have received a bad rap, Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, PhD, of the Weston A. Price Foundation, have been leading the charge to systematically and scientifically reveal the importance of saturated fats. In a study entitled, “The Skinny on Fats,” they cite the following:
+ Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50% of the cell membranes. They give cells their necessary stiffness and integrity.
+ Saturated fats play a vital role in the health of bones. For calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure, at least 50% of dietary fats should be saturated.
+ Saturated fats lower lipoprotein (a) – A substance in the blood that indicates proneness to heart disease.
+ Saturated fats protect the liver from alcohol and other toxins.
+ Saturated fats enhance the immune system.
+ Saturated fats are needed for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids. Specifically, omega-3 essential fatty acids are better retained in the tissue when the diet is rich in saturated fats.
According to the USDA, any fat that that is solid at room temperature is considered harmful. This is not true, as we have learned from our study of coconut oil. Trans fats are different from saturated fats. Trans fats are processed oils that are hydrogenated so that they become solid, such as margarine, which is essentially like eating plastic since it does not melt at body temperature. The process of hydrogenating oils turns liquid oils into unhealthy solids. So eliminating the hydrogenated margarine from your diet is actually a far better option for you than avoiding the natural, healthy saturated fat like coconut oil. Even though butter is not the best fat choice, one particular study does illustrate the harmful effects of margarine clearly. It was revealed that men who ate butter ran half the risk of heart disease as those using margarine.4 There is more information on Trans Fats (like those found in margarine, french fries, and pastries) below.
Unsaturated Fats. Unlike the saturated fats that have a single bond between carbon atoms, unsaturated fats contain a double bond between carbon atoms. Studies have shown that unsaturated fats help decrease inflammation, reduce heart disease, reduce blood clotting (and/or thick blood), and help regulate blood pressure. Unsaturated fats also lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the good cholesterol (HDL). HDL is manufactured by the liver to repair blood vessels and help transport fat-soluble vitamins to the cells of the body.
There are two types of unsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats have two or more double bonds between carbon atoms, while monounsaturated fats have one double bond.
Polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Great sources include flaxseed oil, hemp oil, pumpkin seed oil, and sesame oil.
Polyunsaturated fats are divided into two types: omega-6 and omega-3 oils. Americans consume far too many omega-6 essential fatty acids derived from polyunsaturated fats, and consume far too little omega-3 essential fatty acids derived from leafy greens, nuts, and seeds.
The omegas need to be in balance. The typical American diet has a 15:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, and for some it can be as high as 50:1. For ideal health, this ratio should actually be closer to 1:1. An inappropriate balance of these essential fatty acids contributes to the development of disease, while a proper balance helps maintain and even improve health. That’s why research is beginning to show that omega-6s and omega-3s only have a beneficial effect if you consume balanced amounts of both.6
Since the Western diet supplies plenty of omega-6, it’s usually not necessary to supplement those. On the other hand, supplementing your diet with omega-3 will help create the necessary healthy balance of these two essential fatty acids. High-quality flax oil, hemp oil, flax and hemp seeds, and leafy greens are your best sources.
Monounsaturated fats are the other type of unsaturated fats, and are also liquid at room temperature. They include olive and avocado. Olive oil is a mainstay of the Mediterranean diet (considered by many to be one of the healthiest known diets).
Processed, Nasty Fats
Trans Fats. Trans fatty acids are produced when vegetable oils are heated under pressure with hydrogen and a catalyst, in a process called hydrogenation. Therefore, these fats are often referred to as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.
In the past few decades, many food manufacturers have added trans fats into processed foods to prolong their shelf life, and to replace the regular saturated fat that has wrongfully gotten a bad rap, thus making their products appear more healthy. Trans fats are commonly found in processed foods including commercially baked goods, icing, margarine, “snack” foods (potato chips, cookies, crackers, microwave popcorn), and fried foods like french fries and fried chicken.
The following list is a compilation of the adverse effects reported in humans and animals from the consumption of trans fatty acids. This information is based on decades of research done by Dr. Mary Enig and has been confirmed by others.
+ Trans fats lower “good” HDL cholesterol in a dose response manner (the higher the trans fat level in the diet, the lower the HDL cholesterol in the serum).
+ Trans fats raise the bad LDL cholesterol in a dose response manner.
+ Trans fats raise the atherogenic lipoprotein (a) in humans (increases blockages in the arteries).
+ Trans fats raise total serum cholesterol levels 20-30mg.
+ Trans fats lower the amount of cream (volume) in milk from lactating females in all species studied, including humans, thus lowering the overall quality available to the infant.
+ Trans fats increase blood insulin levels in humans in response to glucose load, increasing risk for diabetes.
+ Trans fats increase insulin resistance thus having an undesirable effect in diabetics.
+ Trans fats affect immune response by lowering efficiency of B cell response.
+ Trans fats decrease levels of testosterone in male animals, increase level of abnormal sperm, and interfere with gestation in females.
+ Trans fats cause alterations in cell membranes, including membrane fluidity.
+ Trans fats cause alterations in fat cell size, cell number, and fatty acid composition.
+ Trans fats escalate adverse effects of essential fatty acid deficiencies.
Unfortunately, many people do not fully comprehend the seriousness of trans fats. Institutions including the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rightly recommend a low intake of trans fats, and FDA labeling requirements to show the amount of trans fats will be fully in place by the year 2006.7,8,9
[You might like to read the article: How partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats destroy your health or by Mike Adams, or all of Mike’s articles on hydrogenated oils and fats]
+ When preparing cooked food, use a healthy saturated fat such as organic virgin coconut oil as a Vegan, and Raw Grass-Fed Butter or Ghee as a Non-Vegan
+ As a healthy snack alternative, choose sprouted nuts and seeds that are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids.
+ Incorporate organic raw hemp seeds into your favorite recipes, since it’s a great source of omega-3 essential fatty acids and fiber.
+ Supplement your diet with mercury-free high-quality hemp seeds, which are a rich source of omega-3.
+ If you are using fish oil, use a pharmaceutical grade product made from small fish
+ Use avocado, sesame tahini, and hemp oil as health ingredients for salad dressings. Using avocados to make guacamole is our personal favorite.
Foods to AVOID:
+ Avoid “low-fat” or “fat-free” versions of all foods. They are all processed, pre-packaged, advertised, so-called foods that have no health benefits for you. Eat natural foods that don’t require tricky advertising.
+ Completely eliminate trans fats from your diet. Avoid margarine and other butter substitutes. Check food labels carefully before purchasing food items. If you see the words “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated”, then simply put the product back.
DHA: A Special (and Essential) Omega-3 Fat
This is an important nutrient created from Omega-3 fats that is often overlooked. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is essential for the growth and functional development of the brain in infants. There is new clinical data available on this front regarding Vegan diets and DHA:
Numerous studies have shown that vegetarians consume far lower levels of long-chain omega-3 fats–not surprising considering their avoidance of meat and fish [Rosell MR, et al]. Studies of pregnant women show that, compared to omnivores, vegetarians have significantly lower levels of DHA in their breast milk, with vegans displaying the lowest levels of all. These negative fatty acid profiles are reflected in infants, with vegan newborns displaying significantly lower red blood cell levels of DHA. This is an ominous finding, given the critical role that omega-3 fats play in healthy immune function and cognitive development [Williams C] [O’Connor DL] [Helland IB] [Moriguchi T] [Dunstan JA]. (Fully cited in the DHA file for today)
DHA is also required for maintenance of normal brain function in adults.
The inclusion of plentiful DHA in the diet improves learning ability, whereas deficiencies of DHA are associated with deficits in learning. DHA is taken up by the brain in preference to other fatty acids. The turnover of DHA in the brain is very fast, more so than is generally realized.
The visual acuity of healthy, full-term, formula-fed infants is increased when their formula includes DHA. During the last 50 years, many infants have been fed formula diets lacking DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids. DHA deficiencies are associated with fetal alcohol syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cystic fibrosis, phenylketonuria, unipolar depression, aggressive hostility, and adrenoleukodystrophy. Decreases in DHA in the brain are associated with cognitive decline during aging and with onset of sporadic Alzheimers disease.
You can get DHA from pharmaceutical-grade fish oil, and as a Vegan from products like Omega-Zen. Look ’em up, but don’t be without this valuable fat no matter where your Center of Gravity is on the Spectrum of Diet!
Under-Emphasizing and Over-Emphasizing Fats
From an Integral perspective, we find ourselves agreeing with many of the partial perspectives on fats from both the plant-based and Weston A. Price, paleo and whole foods advocates. We agree that:
Whole food fats are important.
Healing many western diseases does necessitate a mainly plant-based low-fat approach for the duration of the healing period.
Long-term we need adequate fats in our diets.
Animal fats do provide some beneficial omega-3 fats and even essential nutrients like Vitamin K2.
Hydrogenated vegetable oils, rancid vegetable oils, and overcooked fats such as trans-fats are a health menace.
The lipid hypothesis is wrong: cholesterol and fats from whole foods do not create heart disease
A high-carbohydrate diet of refined sugars creates inflammation which renders otherwise beneficial cholesterol harmful to the cardiovascular system.
Fats in the diet need to be complemented with a diet high in antioxidants to protect the cardiovascular system and the whole body
Some nutrition/dietary camps underemphasize fats, such as fruitarians (which we covered yesterday).Others recognize the importance of lowering fats for healing heart disease or diabetes (such as Caldwell Esselstyn, T. Colin Campbell, and many Vegan advocates) but see a low-fat Vegan approach as a life-long approach, and yet we find in light of research by the Weston A. Price Foundation and clinical data from indigenous cultures that low-fat approaches are not necessary or advisable long-term to maintain health.
Some nutrition/dietary camps, such as Weston A. Price, Sally Fallon, and the paleo community over-emphasize fats from animal products. In the presentation by Dr. Donald Miller at right, he sites the Maasai, the Inuit, the Rendille, and the Tokelau as being examples of high-saturated animal fat eating cultures with low heart disease and diabetes rates, and suggests we should eat that way too. But he forgets these cultures exercise a LOT – and a lot more than we do in western society. They also have not eaten a history of processed foods, and do not eat processed foods with those high-fat diets, hence a low rate of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. While his presentation skillfully illustrates that saturated fats do not necessarily create heart disease, you probably can’t take the fat intake of the Inuit and apply it to your desk job in Florida, New Jersey, Europe, or China. The weather is different, your dietary history is different, your current health is different, etc.
The bottom line: Whole food fats are crucially important: nuts, seeds, leafy greens, microalgaes, macroalgaes, hemp oil in dark bottles, grass-fed butter, ghee, and yes, animal fats from fish and grass-fed animals. Humanity has eaten it all. And from the Inuit in Alaska to the plains indians in North America to the Maasai in Africa, the Japanese, the Norweigans… everyone has accessed whole foods fats from everywhere in the environment we could find them. And we have created beautiful cultures and amazing bodies and brains.
Our health went south when over-processing of foods came into the picture. THAT is the cause of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, etc. Not the whole foods fats, not the amounts. The PROCESSING of foods (fats, carbohydrates, and proteins), and the eating of foods out of season or out of sync with our activity level, lifestyle, local culture, and more.
That is your Integral Perspective on Fats, and we look forward to a continuing discussion on this and more with you soon!
See you in The Green Room!!
The Powerful Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Preventing Diseases of Inflammation: The Experts Speak by Mike Adams
What do the top authors, doctors and health experts have to say about the realtionship between omega-3 fatty acids and inflammation? I asked my Private Research Library that question recently and was overwhelmed with the remarkable wisdom it revealed.
Below, I share the top quotes from noted authors about omega-3 fatty acids and their relationship to inflammation (and the diseases of inflammation). It’s an astonishing tour through the highlights of how omega-3s affect the body’s response to inflammation, and you’ll learn important information about the role of inflammation in diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, eczema, asthma and many others.
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have reported that omega-3 fatty acid is highly effective in treating children with ADD, ADHD and bipolar disorder. The study was reported in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology in February 2007. “Results from this prospective, open study…
Supplementing with an omega-3 fatty acid called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) may lower the risk of non-fatal coronary events by 20 percent, according to a new Japanese study published in The Lancet. Researchers followed 18,645 Japanese high-cholesterol patients for four and a…
Omega-3 fatty acids boost bone density in men by NaturalNews
The presence of omega-3 fatty acids in young men is linked to “peak bone mass” or bone mineral density, according to a study published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study found that 22-year-old men with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids had the greatest bone density…
Omega-3s beat depression by Mike Adams
You’re probably already aware of the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids on cardiovascular health, but did you know that omega-3s are also extremely beneficial for moods and cognitive function? In fact, there’s a tremendous amount of good evidence demonstrating that omega-3 fatty acids can help enhance brain function and prevent depression.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Prevent Heart Disease, Slow Aging and Delay Telomere Shortening by Melanie Grimes
Research has now shown that adding Omega-3 fatty acids to the diet can increase the survival rate of those with coronary heart disease. Omega-3s have also been shown to slow down the aging process. The marker used to determine these findings was a part of the DNA strand called telomeres. The research concluded that high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in the blood slowed the aging process by as much as five years.
Just how good are fish oils, flaxseed oils and other omega-3s at preventing prostate cancer? According to the experts quoted below, they may represent some of the most powerful anti-cancer nutrients available today!
Read this large collection of quotes on omega-3 oils and prostate cancer, and you’ll learn how boosting omega-3 intake while reducing omega-6 intake can help halt prostate cancer tumor growth and end the chronic tissue inflammation that ultimately contributes to prostate cancer.
UCLA study shows altering fatty acid levels in diet may reduce prostate cancer growth rate (press release) by NaturalNews
UCLA researchers found that altering the fatty acid ratio found in the typical Western diet to include more omega-3 fatty acids and decrease the amount of omega-6 fatty acids may reduce prostate cancer tumor growth rates and PSA levels. Published in the Aug. 1 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer…
This is an exclusive story about one of the most exciting new superfoods you’ve probably never heard of. It is a selectively-bred superfood seed derived from chia. Chia is a well-known ancient grain or seed used by the Aztecs as a superfood source, and by itself it is very nutritional. It’s something…
It’s no secret that long-term diet and nutrition choices have an effect on the way we look and feel; but new studies show that nutrition can also affect the way we think. As it turns out, there really is such a thing as “food for thought.”
It may seem strange that what we put in our stomachs can have such a powerful effect on what goes on in our minds, but research is increasingly showing that emotional, mental and psychiatric disorders like depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia may more likely be the result of dietary deficiencies than genetic predispositions. The same is true of people who struggle with memory loss, have trouble learning new tasks, have Alzheimer’s disease or simply suffer from a lot of blue moods. The dietary deficiency that tends to frequently show up in these patients is a lack of omega-3 oils — abundant fatty acids found in…
Nutrition: Brainpower Tied to Omega-3 Levels by Nicholas Bakalar of the New York Times
Low blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with smaller brain volume and poorer performance on tests of mental acuity, even in people without apparent dementia, according to a new study.
DHA as a Brain Food by Dr. Sears
Fats make up sixty percent of the brain and the nerves that run every system in the body. So, it stands to reason that the better the fat in the diet, the better the brain. So, with all the fat eaten by the average American, why don’t we have more geniuses in this country? The average American brain is getting enough fat, but it’s not getting the right kind of fat.
Media, Films, & Documentaries
[Documentary] $tatin Nation
[Audio Talk/Interview] Udo Erasmus, PhD on Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
Audio Talk/Interview] David Wolfe and Dr. Dave Woynarowski on Essential Fats DHA and EPA
David Rainoshek, M.A. : This is a Post-Raw/Vegan conversation, and important to note that David Wolfe has shifted into a Post-Raw/Vegan perspective… quite a journey from his days of Nature’s First Law and his (necessary) fundamentalist expression of Raw/Live Vegan. Very important listening for a full-bodied perspective on the entire Spectrum of Diet.
[Audio Talk/Interview] David Wolfe on Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) Nutrition
Check out this audio interview and discover the following:
The powerful substance (Astaxanthin) that has been known to assist with macular degeneration and protective nourishment for the eyes.
Important and helpful tips on how to avoid being deceived by misleading labeling on products.
The primary deficiencies that vegans and vegetarians suffer from and how to easily correct this (and find out what happens if you don’t!).
The top four omega 3’s that are absolutely critical for experiencing optimal health and how to get them into your diet easily.
[Audio Interview] The Palm Oil Miracle with Bruce Fife on Underground Wellness
Bruce Fife, author of The Palm Oil Miracle, stops by UW Radio to discuss how palm oil can help protect against many common health problems. Topics will include how palm oil can help reverse heart disease and fight cancer, what makes palm oil one of the world’s healthiest oils, and why it is the perfect substitute for hydrogenated and trans-fat-laden vegetable oils for cooking.