Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 4

(Information obtained from Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly by Larry McCleary, MD, renowned neurosurgeon)

Previous posts:
Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 1
Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 2
Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly – Part 3


This article is about fats. I would like to point out that this is a Weight Watcher Good Health Guideline. You are supposed to consume 2 teaspoons of healthy oil every day. This is WHY!

I'm going to quote the book here because he says it so well:
On Friday, January 14, 1977, Senator George McGovern announced the publication of the first Dietary Goals for the United States. He called them “the first comprehensive statement by any branch of the federal government on risk factors in the American diet.” It was also the first time the government had sent a message to all Americans that they could better their health by eating less fat. Their intention was to diminish the fat content of the diet from approx 40 percent, what it was at the time, to 30 percent. Although the Dietary Goals admitted the existence of a scientific dietary controversy regarding their sweeping recommendations, it was insisted that Americans had nothing to lose by following them.
The government was strikingly successful in achieving its objective. Current fat intake is about 30 percent of calories consumed. However, if one examines obesity statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control over the ensuing years, there has been a progressive rise in the number of obese children and adults. Adult and childhood obesity have more than doubled since the Dietary Goals were announced. This bears repeating: a 100 percent increase in obesity that correlated with a 10 percent decrease in fat content in the diet. Although calorie consumption has increased a bit, it alone cannot account for the obesity epidemic we are experiencing today.
Included in the most recent (2010) dietary recommendations from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are additional impassioned pleas to purge still more fat from our plates – recommendations inextricably linked with a reciprocal increase in carbohydrate calories in the diet. Given the soaring obesity rates, the committee that approves the recommendations must be thinking they haven't restricted fat enough to make us all thin.

Sounds to me like we can blame Senator George and his bad idea for a lot of these poor little kids who are seriously overweight. They even said in that ridiculous statement that there was scientific controversy regarding their recommendations and they STILL sent it out. Goodness!
Am I the only one who is bothered by the fact that they are still thinking that we should cut our fat intake even more?

Fat Is Good!!

Fat has many important functions as a nutrient. It is a concentrated source of energy and provides essential building blocks for the cells in the body. Fat is a carrier for fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and it contains the essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6). It is also needed by the body to support natural growth, and for the maintenance of healthy skin, reproduction, immune function and development of the brain and visual systems. Dietary fat also improves the taste and texture of food.

Different Kinds of Fats

There are different kinds of fat. One type of fat that should never be eaten because it is so damaging to your health is trans fat (aka partially hydrogenated oil). Your body can't tell the difference between healthy and bad fats and will use either one. Your body's cells are built using fat and when you consume bad fats, your body will use it anyway since it doesn’t see it as toxic. You can imagine the havoc this can cause for your body, being built with bad materials.

Animal Fats

Although he notes that animal fats should be minimized, he goes on to say that it has  nutritional benefits. It has the ability to raise your good cholesterol. Also, “it is one of the few ways to lower lipoprotein(a), a potent risk factor for heart disease – something that no medications currently on the market can accomplish.” That's really something!
I would agree that our animals have more fat than they should due to farmers fattening their animals on purpose and we probably get more on our steak than we should. However, I know that animal fat is good for us (as he stated). This is great news if you love bacon, sausage, juicy burgers and a big juicy steak – right?

Omega 6 and 3

I'm sure you've heard of the omegas. But do you know what they are and why you need them? Fish oil... flaxseed oil... blah, blah, blah.

Omega's are EFA, or essential fatty acids, meaning our body does not produce them and they have to be obtained from our food. They are essential and not consuming enough can cause all kinds of health problems.

Omega's need to be balanced. He says we should be getting a 1:1 ratio of omega 6 and 3. Unfortunately, we get a lot of 6 but not much 3. (Omega 6 sources include safflower, sunflower, corn, and soybean oil as well as nuts and seeds).
The reason people take fish oil is because the fats in fish is a good source of omega 3 fat. Other good sources of omega 3 are walnuts, flaxseed (especially flaxseed oil), deer and buffalo. Chicken, eggs and beef used to be good sources, but because most are grain fed instead of grass fed, they're not so much any more.

By the way – here are some symptoms of low omega 3 levels:
Fatigue, poor memory, immune weakness, dry skin, eczema, hair loss, heart problems, reproductive problems, mood swings or depression, poor circulation.

MUFA's

...Or monounsaturated fat is a very healthy kind of fat. It is a liquid at room temp and becomes solid when refrigerated. Olive oil is one example.

“MUFA's can speed up belly fat loss. In one study, dieters who consumed MUFA's lost 56 percent more central body fat than those on a low-fat diet. And this was accomplished without cutting calories or doing additional exercise! Findings in another study showed that a meal containing MUFA's enhanced fat-burning for the next five hours.”
How incredible is that?!

MUFA's help normalize blood sugar levels.

Good MUFA sources: Flax oil, olive oil, sesame oil, walnut oil. Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pistachios, walnuts. Avocados, dark chocolate, olives. (No wonder Weight Watchers talk so much about eating almonds and really push the oil Good Health Guideline).

Coconut Oil

I am so excited about coconut oil. I have kept it on hand for a while now but didn't really use it. For one thing, I didn't really understand just how good it was for me, and another reason is my husband is allergic to coconut oil. He's allergic to a lot of things, but especially coconut oil. So I have to be careful when and how I use it.
Now that I have been using coconut oil, I literally have noticed being able to think more clearly. I'm sure there's more benefits that I haven't noticed as specific to coconut oil too.

Dr McCleary calls it a miracle oil. He says “Olive oil is good, but coconut oil is truly superb.”

Benefits include:
Increases metabolism
Stress relief
Improves cholesterol levels
Weight loss
Increased immunity
Improves digestion
Relieves problems in kidneys, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, cancer
Builds stronger bones
It is antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial
May treat Alzheimer’s disease
Treats candida

Read more about coconut oil in this article: Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

When farmers tried to use coconut oil to fatten their cows because it was inexpensive, the cows lost weight. I find this hilarious fact very helpful.

Note: Coconut oil is mostly saturated fat. Dr McCleary points out that not all saturated fats are the same. The lengths of the chains (blah, blah, blah) are the good kind. :)

Coconut oil is a bit pricey but well worth it since it is not only going to help you lose weight, but has many more health benefits than I listed here.

Bottom line: Add coconut oil to your shopping list, stop eating low-fat food as a habit and start eating fat to lose weight!!

Next post: Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly - Conclusion

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