As a physician, I never thought the day would come when I would be advising patients to eat fat. Even long before I went to medical school, the powers that be in all health matters were advising the American people to avoid eating dietary fat.
This health paradigm has been entrenched in the American health landscape since the 50s when heart attacks were on the rise. On observing the plaques found in the heart’s arteries, it led to the presumption that fat increased blood cholesterol levels. Oh, how so smart we were! This presumption, it turns out, was made in the same way as if an alien from a hovering craft were to observe that ambulances were the cause of car wrecks because one was observed present at every car wreck.
But after an exhaustive study of the available studies on dietary fat, no evidence was found that dietary fat was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke.1 This little medical nugget was initially served up by one Dr. Siri-Tarino in 2009 and was verified by other studies and researchers. This pretty much blew a hole in the narrative that for so long had demonized fat. So much so to the point that in 2016, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which is published every few years, removed restrictions on total dietary fat in a healthy diet.2
Now to those who having read this last paragraph have left their seat jumping up ecstatically and proudly, internally rationalizing their daily consumption of cheeseburgers, chili-pies, and such – not so fast!
Dietary fat comes in two “flavors”. Healthy (Mono- and Polyunsaturated), and Unhealthy (Saturated fat). The Mono- and Poly- is healthy, while the Saturated is unhealthy (in general). Clinical trials continue to show the benefits of eating the one, but not the other.
So, why should you consider eating Healthy dietary fat? Obviously to recommend doing so implies there must be health benefits that come with it. And there are. So, what are they?
Recent studies and clinical trials have revealed the following benefits:
So, what foods are Healthy fats and which ones are Unhealthy? Here’s a short list:
Healthy fats: olive oil, most seafoods, fish, (esp. salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, trout, bass, shrimp, and mullet), avocados, most nuts, most seeds, peanut oil. [Use these foods to replace refined carbohydrates]
Unhealthy fats: processed meats (bologna, pepperoni, salami, etc.), beef hamburger pan-fried, fatty meats (beef short ribs), processed foods (man-made foods), whipped cream, milk chocolate, foods containing milk chocolate, coconut, coconut oil, palm oil, pork ribs, ground pork, veal bratwurst, lamb ribs, pork spare ribs, pork chops (with fat), roasted ham, pork loin, beef and polish sausage, refined seed oils like sunflower, corn, canola, safflower, and vegetable oils.
Studies prove that a reduced-carbohydrate, higher-fat Mediterranean diet reduces the need for medication by 59%.3 I’m living proof this is the case. Working like a left hook and right uppercut, a LOW-CARB, HEALTHY FAT diet reduces glucose toxicity, and insulin-toxicity on the one hand, while providing appropriate energy and satiety on the other, both combining to induce weight loss, excellent glucose control, and much less fatigue.
Here’s a partial list of healthy fats in my personal diet, combined with a focused low-carbohydrate intake, that has allowed me to discontinue my statin medication (for high cholesterol) and fenofibrate (for high triglyceride levels).
Salmon, mullet, trout, flounder, shrimp, crab, olive oil, avocados, nuts, eggs, sausage bacon, mini-wrapped frittatas, arugula salad, pork rind breaded chicken tenders, chicken drumsticks wrapped in bacon, slices of celery and carrots, beef stir fry, scrambled eggs, chicken stuffed bell peppers, BBQ shrimp skewers, almond and coconut flour pancakes.
So, if you’re overweight, obese, have high cholesterol, or high triglycerides, and you want to lose weight, prevent or improve your diabetes, or have a good chance at discontinuing your prescription medication for high cholesterol or triglycerides, and possibly diabetes, then adopt a LOW CARB, HEALTHY FAT DIET. You will be amazed. Of course, consult with your personal physician if you have special conditions.
By the way, to add impetus to your efforts, intermittent fasting, while not absolutely necessary, will move you off the plateau, or get you across the finish line faster than your neighbor, or coworker, who may be in the same wagon.
1 Siri-Tarino, Patty W. Arch Intern Med. 2009, 169(7): 659-669 …the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease.
2 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/executive-summary/.
3 Giugliano, D, et al. Ann Int Med. 2009 Sep 1; 151(5): 306-313. Effects of a Mediterranean-style diet on the need for antihyperglycemic drug therapy….