Shocking Facts on Fats to Transform You from Flab to Fab
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, fat is a good thing. We need it - just not so much of it. Whether it comes from a cow, a fish, a vegetable, a seed, or an olive, too much fat adds fat to our fat. Worse than that, fat can be deadly. It pulls the trigger on our biggest health killers: heart disease, cancers, diabetes, stroke, and atherosclerosis.
Here are some surprising facts.
1. Where should almost all the fats you need come from?
Beef, chicken, turkey, cheese, fish, vegetable oils, olive oil, or whole plant foods? This may shock you, but fats don't "come from" anywhere - your body makes them! No kidding. While you are agonizing over the good fat/bad fat debate, fueled by the "fat" industries and our own ignorance, your body is making almost all the fat you need from the carbohydrates you eat.
What does this mean? It means you need to eat very little fat, and especially not added oils and high fat foods. If you eat a variety of whole plant foods every day, you don't need to think about fat - your body thinks for you.
2. What's the worst fat? What's the worst kind of fat - butter, margarine, oil, beef, plant, saturated, or hydrogenated? Bar none, the worst kind is too much fat - made by too many consumed calories.
The bottom line is your body doesn't care where excess calories come from. If you overload and tip the calorie-intake, your body efficiently turns extra calories into fat and dumps fat into storage - your fat cells. When your fat cells get too fat, your clever body will simply make more fat cells to accommodate the influx. These cells do get skinnier with weight loss, but they never disappear! Once you make a fat cell, that cell is embedded in your hip, thigh, tummy, butt, arm, breast, or chin for life. Remember, fat goes from your lips to your hips, so get a grip. Stop eating when your brain tells you to!
3. But isn't olive oil a good fat? If you listen to the creed of the day, you would think so, but let's use simple logic.
If your body makes almost all the fats it needs, then it serves no purpose to add more fat to your ready-made fat, especially a highly concentrated, refined fat without any nutrition. Added oils, including olive oil, offer you one thing only: calories, and those calories come with a price tag - more fat. Between 14 and 17 percent of olive oil is saturated fat. How can extra calories, and some from saturated fat, possibly be good for you?
4. But what about essential fats that you must get from outside sources? There are only two essential fatty acids (essential means your body can't make them) - linoleic and aipha-linoleic acids, which your body needs in very small quantities.
Linoleic fatty acid is an omega-6 fat, a familiar buzz word, and alpha-linoleic is an omega-3 fat. Let's skip the omega details here. No matter what kind of fat we discuss, if you add too much fat to already-made fat, that fat is bad and shows up on you - right where you don't want it.
The best sources for those two essential fatty acids that you need are whole plant foods. The whole, plant foods richest in linoleic acids are sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds, walnuts, butternuts, soybeans, and corn. Alpha-linoleic acids are sourced by dark, green-leafs' vegetables, broccoli, ground flax seeds, soybeans, walnuts, and butternuts. However, if you eat a varied diet of mostly whole, fresh fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, beans, and a significantly lesser amount of raw nuts and seeds, you can get plenty of essential good fats without having to choose special foods.
As John McDougall, M.D., author of several books, including "The McDougall Plan'- 12 Days to Dynamic Health," says, a plant-based diet provides all the essential fats we need. George Eisman, registered dietician, author of "The Most Noble Diet" and "Diet Against Cancer," tells us that a diet rich in just whole fruits and vegetables offers an average of five percent calories from essential fatty acids, more than the three percent he government recommends.
5. How can plants possibly provide enough fat? Again, tour body makes almost all the fats it needs, without thinking about how much fat is in plant foods. But to satisfy curiosity, let's take a peek at the fat numbers. They speak volumes louder than hearsay and big fat lies.
Oranges contain two percent fat, apples four percent, bananas lour percent, berries 10 percent, brown rice seven percent, almonds 74 percent, kidney beans three percent, broccoli nine percent, and Romaine lettuce 10 percent - yes, even lettuce has fat! On the wrong side of the fat tracks are salmon with 48 percent fat, beef 67 percent, chicken 48 percent, cheddar cheese 73 percent, eggs 62 percent, and two percent milk has 35 percent fat. Way too much fat and saturated fat at that - the kind that clogs arteries and sets the unpleasant stage for killer diseases, not to mention adding layers to our layers.
If you fill up on nature's best-for-you foods - whole plant foods, with the emphasis on fresh, fruits and vegetables - you can cut the internal and external chatter about which foods provide which fats and all the other nutrients, micronutrients, fiber and enzymes. Nature has done that higher nutrient math for you! When it comes to fats, the only thing you have to remember is: "Extra cals are not your pals."