by DR. PAMELA REILLY
I’m often amazed to read recipes labeled “healthy” that include ingredients that are either nutritionally void (such as egg whites) or which contain harmful toxins (such as fat-free sour cream). The reason I’m amazed to see these potentially harmful ingredients labeled “healthy” is because fat-free foods have finally been proven to be harmful to health instead of being helpful. This article explains how this myth became perpetuated and what the truth is. The bottom line is that your body requires fat for the health of every cell. The type and quantity of fat is what determines whether or not the fat you consume improves your health of harms it.
And – YES – you have my permission to eat organic, nitrate-free bacon in moderation. Here’s why: Health Benefits of Bacon.
It is an absolute myth that fat causes heart disease and weight gain. There is no scientific proof to support claims a low-fat diet is healthier. So why is this myth so prevalent? Simply because a single, flawed study was conducted whose results were twisted. The study drew conclusions which could not be supported by the study’s design. Multiple other studies conducted since then confirmed that fat is essential to the health of body, mind and spirit.
A recent study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reviewed the results of over twenty different studies. The reviewers tracked tracked the health of study participants over a span of 5-23 years. Their final conclusion was there is NO connection between consumption of saturated fat (or any fat, for that matter) and coronary disease. Other studies found people with the highest consumption of natural fat (either saturated or unsaturated) had lower death rates from any cause. We’ve obviously been lied to. Living to a ripe old age requires the fat myth to be busted and laid to rest.
I’ll save my rant about the “Cholesterol Myth” for another day, but you can learn more about cholesterol in the article: Six Surprising Facts About Cholesterol.
The truth is that the body requires fat and finds it essential for:
- Proper nerve function
- Production of hormones
- Building and maintaining healthy blood vessels
- Maintaining body temperature
- Cushioning and protecting internal organs
- Maintaining healthy skin
- Normal, efficient cognitive function
So what’s the difference between a healthy fat and an unhealthy fat? It’s very simple:
- Fats made by God and found in nature are safe and have health benefits.
- Fat made in a lab (such as hydrogenated oils) are unsafe and can have negative health effects.
The one caveat to natural oils being healthy is that some vegetable oils are extremely high in Omega 6 fatty acids that are known to be highly inflammatory. Those oils include corn, soy, canola, etc. Those oils also have fatty acid bonds which are very easily broken by high heat, which means they tend to deteriorate when used for cooking. (Olive oil also deteriorates at high heat, but is not inflammatory.) For best results, use olive oil for cold foods such as salad dressings, and use extra virgin coconut oil for cooking. (If you’ve never tried popcorn cooked in organic, extra virgin coconut oil, you are missing out on quite a treat!)