A critical ‘secret’ to improving your health is to increase your intake of fat.
- Fats are good
- Eating more fat will make you healthier
- Eating fat will help you lose weight
- Eating fat will reduce your craving for sugar (and foods that act like sugar – bread, pizza, pasta, and cereal)
Good, healthy fats, that is.
For years fats have been at the center of nutrition confusion and bad science. You’ve been (falsely) told that all fats are bad, that they increase your chances of heart disease, that they cause cancer and promote weight gain and obesity. This is simply not true – fats are critical for health.
In fact, eating the right fats has been proven to reduce the inflammation associated with artery disease, normalize blood lipids and cholesterol, reduce multiple forms of cancer, and actually combat obesity. Although that may seem terribly counter-intuitive, the intake of the right fats can actually be one of the best health strategies you could ever adopt.
Fats are commonly categorized as either ‘good fats’ or ‘bad fats’. They could be more accurately designated as either ‘great fats’ or ‘terrible fats’. All hydrogenated oils – found in nearly all packaged foods – are terrible fats – they promote inflammation associated with heart disease, as well as many types of cancers.
Good – healthy – fats:
- Raw nuts
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Wild-caught cold-water fish
- IFOS certified omega-3 fish oil
- Pastured beef, pork, chicken and lamb
- Butter from pastured cows
The discussion around healthy vs. unhealthy fats can get a bit complicated or technical (for more in-depth coverage visit Fat is good). Suffice it to say that if man made the fat in a laboratory – this would be processed vegetable oils (canola, soy, corn, cottonseed, margarine) – you should avoid them at all costs.
- Processed vegetable oils (canola, soy, corn, cottonseed)
- Deep-fried foods – this includes chips
- Hydrogenated oils
- Margarine (a hydrogenated oil)
- Raw nuts, seeds and avocados are excellent sources of healthy fats (not roasted, salted).
- Eat cold water, wild fish (they provide a great source of omega 3).
- Avoid farm-raised fish – they are fed absolute shit food, have inferior fatty acid profiles and their farming practices impact the environment negatively.
- Eat grass-fed beef, wild game and range-fed chickens and eggs.
- These foods are what our ancestors ate. In fact, they considered the brain and organ meats a priority – no doubt due to innately being aware of their high essential fat content.
Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are essential fatty acids found in fish oil. Nutrients are considered essential if a) they are required by the body for health; and b) the body cannot make them, and therefore they must be consumed in the diet.
Unfortunately, omega-3 fatty acid deficiency is extremely common today. Our diets are terribly low in this vital nutrient. To make matters worse, we over-consume omega-6 fatty acids, upsetting the delicate balance in the very important omega-6 : omega-3 ratio. This imbalance creates silent inflammation in the body which leads to a litany of chronic disease issues.
Deficiencies in omega-3 have been linked to breast, colon and prostate cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and strokes, diabetes, arthritis, digestive disorders, vision problems, dementia, hormonal and reproductive problems as well as osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
DHA and EPA deficiencies have been shown to be a causal factor in development and behavioral issues with children – even ADD and ADHD. DHA is one of the most critical elements in human breast milk.
Our over-consumption of vegetable oils, combined with our consumption of processed grains and cereal grains, both of which are high in omega 6 fatty acids contributes to this imbalance. A diet high in grains (breads, pastas, baked goods and cereals) is considered highly pro-inflammatory.
In other words, grains promote inflammation in your body and should be reduced or avoided. Unfortunately, the food pyramid has promoted a diet-style that has lead to the greatest heart disease, diabetes and obesity epidemic that the world has ever seen.
It is difficult to consume sufficient amounts of omega 3 to re-balance and maintain a healthy fatty acid ratio. Additionally, the oceans have been polluted so dramatically that many fish are too toxic to safely consume. A vital behavior to ensure fatty acid sufficiency is to take a high quality fish oil supplement. The oil should be pharmaceutical grade, pure and in natural EPA/DHA triglyceride forms and ratios (we sell a high quality fish oil here).
Remember, consuming fish oil every day causes sweeping health benefits you’ll receive. If that doesn’t work, you can always go back to eating the brains, organ meats and bone marrow that your ancestors enjoyed.
∗∗ Must read/watch: The Big Fat Fiasco by Tom Naughton