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Essential Fats for Healthier Skin and Body
Many people still believe that a low fat diet is a sensible way to eat especially when it comes to a healthy heart. Hopefully you are not one of those people who are still stuck in the "low fat" zone... talking about low fat or no fat foods as being healthy for your heart and your waistline. If you are, you need to read this article carefully and update your nutritional database. Following the low or no fat approach is actually bad for your health making it harder to lose weight and keep yourself healthy. But don't feel bad, even the American Heart Association can't get it right and still has outdated information on their website about fats, oils and cholesterol.
How did we get where we are? Briefly, in the early 1980's obesity and heart disease were on the rise (they still are). The theory was to reduce total calories by cutting all fats because fats have the highest calorie density (calories per amount) at 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram for proteins and carbohydrates. Most nutritional authorities were substituting carbohydrates for fats, having us eat as much as 80% carbohydrates. This was when everybody in the country had a rice cake in their hands. All fats became the "bad guys" because they were incorrectly seen as the precursor to high cholesterol and heart disease.
The first diet guru to get us off track was Nathan Pritiken. He cut fat almost to zero and people did lose weight and felt better temporarily. But in the long term, his followers were always hungry and their hair, nails and skin got dry. His approach was a bad idea because it was unsustainable and caused other health problems. Even today, many people still follow his teachings to the detriment of their own health.
Fortunately, in 1987, Ann Louise Gittleman, a former employee of Pritiken came along with one of the best books ever written on nutrition. Her book, Beyond Pritikin, was ground breaking talking about the glycemic index, trans fats and many other ideas we hold true today. She also said that not all fat is bad and there are essential fats you need to curb hunger, promote healthy skin, hair and nails and maintain proper hormone function. She set the record straight and helped us come out of our carbohydrate tail spin.
So what is the more accurate story about fats and oils? One of the foremost authorities on fats and oils is Udo Erasmus, PhD. His information is cutting edge and his book,
Fats That Heal Fats That Kill, is one of the best in explaining how to develop and maintain a healthy fat balance for optimum health. So here, in a nut shell, is some quick advice on the use of fats and oils from Udo Erasmus:
- Essential fatty acids, (EFAs) come from fats and oils and are major nutrients. One is (LNA) alpha-linolenic acid (omega 3) and the other is (LA) linoleic acid (omega 6). Both are easily destroyed by light, air, and heat. This is why they become toxic when fried.
- We need a 2:1 ratio in our diet of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids in tablespoon, not milligram, amounts each day.
- Good sources of omega 3' s are flaxseeds and green leafy vegetables. The omega 3's derivatives EPA and DHA are found in high fat, cold water fish such as albacore tuna, sardines, Atlantic halibut and salmon, Coho, pink and king salmon, Pacific and Atlantic herring, Atlantic mackerel, and lake trout as well as oysters and other shellfish.
- Omega 6's are found in sesame and sunflower seeds and other seeds and nuts. Land animal meats and fish are sources of the Omega 6's derivative arachidonic acid (AA). The fish listed above are preferred sources of omega 3's and omega 6's because they are the richest sources, and contain both with more omega 3's.
- Almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts as highly nutritious snacks associated with longevity. To ensure an adequate intake of LNA, good plant sources should be included in the daily diet including green leafy vegetables, seeds, whole grains, beans and nuts.
- The best way to buy and store nuts, seeds and their oils is in very small quantities and to keep them in the fridge. This helps to ensure that they are as fresh as possible. These oils are not suitable for heating as it destroys the beneficial EFAs.
- I recommend against using oils from corn, soybean, canola, safflower, and peanut because they are damaged during processing and the beneficial 'minor ingredients' are removed as well. If oil does not say 'unrefined' on its label, it has been processed through modern manufacturing methods.
- Extra virgin olive oil, while not damaged by processing, is a poor source of essential fats. When extra virgin olive oil is fried, it is extensively damaged. It should not be used for frying, but should be added to foods after they come off the heat.
- When 'cooking oils' are used for cooking (which today means frying), further damage occurs to the oils by light, oxygen, and high temperature. Frying is also associated with increased cancer, cardiovascular disease, and probably inflammatory diseases. If you insist on frying, use hard fat like lard or butter. Hard fats are less toxic when fried than are liquid oils.
Essential fats are an important part of any healthy lifestyle program. Fresh Start introduces dietary changes that increase the natural intake of essential fats and oils.
In addition to dietary changes, Fresh Start incorporates stress reduction and moderate exercise helping integrate these activities into a Fun and easy to follow healthy lifestyle program.
Fresh Start is your complete, healthy lifestyle solution reducing pain, strengthening bones, controlling weight, reducing stress and improving your golf or tennis game. Fresh Start gives you all the tools necessary for increasing strength, vitality and good health.
Contact Woody McMahon at 702-628-2880 or email
Woody@SequoiaHealth.com to learn more about giving yourself a Fresh Start or to schedule your free in-person or telephone consultation.