This bad advice is still being parroted by health experts


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This bad advice is still being parroted by health experts


I recently saw an article on Facebook that talked about harmful foods that people should avoid. 

Of course that caught my attention, and I wanted to see what this doctor saw as “harmful” and why, so I read on. 

I agreed with the first few items—soda, processed foods and artificial sweeteners.   

Good going so far!  Especially with artificial sweeteners, since I know they are still being pushed by many in the health field as good choices for diabetics.  

But then the article took a wide left turn and sadly, I wasn’t surprised. 

The next “harmful food” on the list was—you guessed it—saturated fat.  Specifically red meat, full fat dairy and butter. 

The same old, same old verbiage was regurgitated: “Saturated fats raise your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease.” 

Since it’s a bloody disservice that this garbage advice still continues to be repeated, I thought I would share my little crash course in fats today. 

We’ll start with the different types of fats and common misconceptions. 

The 2 types--Saturated vs. Unsaturated fats

Saturated fats 

Examples of saturated fats from Nature include fats from animal sources (meat, butter, lard, full-fat dairy, tallow, suet, eggs and cheese). 

Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature.  They're stable and hold up to heat well without becoming damaged (called oxidation).   

They're dense, sticky and can be a challenge for your body to eliminate.  But your body needs them because they help stabilize your cell membranes.   

In addition, trans-fats (hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils found in many processed foods) are also structurally considered a saturated fat, although they provide no health benefits whatsoever and are actually harmful. 

Unsaturated fats—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated  

Sources of monounsaturated fats are olive oil, avocados and nuts (peanuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts and pecans). 

Polyunsaturated fats include Omega-3 fats (fish oil, flaxseed, pumpkin seed, hemp seed and walnut oils) and Omega-6 fats (safflower, sunflower, sesame, grapeseed, borage, evening primrose and black current oils). 

Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, but monounsaturated fats become solid if refrigerated. 

Unsaturated fats move through your body much more fluidly than saturated fats and are easier to eliminate.  They're critical because they help provide flexibility to your cell membranes and enhance cell communication. 

The Omega-3 and Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats are called "essential fatty acids" because your body can't produce them--you must get them from your diet.  And the balance between the two is very important--they work best together in your body to control inflammation when they're in about a 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3.   

Unsaturated fats are very sensitive to heat and can get oxidized, so they are best not to be used in cooking. 

3 Common Fat Misconceptions

Here are three of the most common and harmful misconceptions about fats: 

Misconception #1: Fats are bad for you 

Nothing could be farther from the truth. 

Your body MUST have fats--especially your brain and nervous system! 

You also need fats to transport nutrients, to protect your internal organs, to keep your cell walls healthy, to make hormones and to create energy. 

Misconception #2: Fats make you fat 

Although there are many contributing factors to our obesity epidemic, the predominant one from a food perspective is not fat—it’s sugar—especially high fructose corn syrup (which is in practically every processed food and soda on the planet). 

Also guilty are refined carbs like white bread, pasta and rice as they turn to sugar upon digestion! 

On the other hand, although fats are calorie-dense, they can be used as a source of energy (especially with a keto-type diet), they add flavor to your foods, and they help fill you up and keep you satisfied longer, so you’re less likely to overeat or snack. 

That sounds like a recipe for weight LOSS to me. 

Misconception #3: Saturated fats increase your risk of heart disease 

That depends on what kind of saturated fat you’re talking about. 

If you’re talking about trans-fats, you’re absolutely right.  Make your appointment with a cardiologist now and have your affairs in order if you eat a lot of these. 

But saturated fats from Nature (including red meat and real butter) are health supporting.   

They have been wrongly demonized and implicated as being a primary cause of heart disease over the last several decades, but that’s simply not true.   

The true culprits behind heart disease (in addition to trans-fats) are sugar, refined carbohydrates and grains, processed vegetable oils (which are high in inflammatory Omega-6 fats), and margarine—all of which have been heavily pushed over the last several decades as being “healthy choices.”   

Healthy my foot—these foods stir up inflammation in your blood vessels and invite cardiovascular disease to come knocking. 

Helpful fat DON’Ts and DO’s 

Here are some fat DON’T’s and DO’s that can help guide you in making wise choices: 

# 1: Cook with the right fats 

DON’T use margarine, spreads, or any type of unsaturated oil for cooking, as they are extremely sensitive to heat and form toxic lipid peroxides, carcinogens and mutagens when heated.   

DO use butter, lard, tallow, chicken fat, bacon fat and coconut oil in cooking.  Unsaturated oils may be used in non-heated environments such as in a salad dressing, as a bread dip or drizzling over already-cooked vegetables or meats.   

# 2:  Read labels 

DON’T buy products that contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.  Also avoid ALL margarine (even those marketed as “trans-fat free”) since polyunsaturated oils are heated when margarine is produced, and this creates harmful compounds similar to trans-fats.   

DO read food labels carefully.  If you must buy packaged foods, choose organic varieties to help minimize harmful ingredients.   

# 3:  Get healthy sources of saturated fats 

DON’T swear off saturated fats like meat, eggs, cheese and butter.   

DO enjoy a variety of meats including beef, chicken, turkey, pork and bacon, as well as eggs, cheese, butter and full-fat dairy.  Try to get organic as much as possible and/or seek out local farmers.   

# 4:  Get the right sources of Omega-3 essential fatty acids  

DON’T rely on fish like swordfish, shark, mackerel, tuna or farmed-raised salmon as sources of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, as they have been shown to have high levels of contaminants including mercury and PCBs. 

DO get sources of Omega-3 EFAs including wild salmon, walnuts, flaxseed and flaxseed oil.  Supplement with an outstanding fish oil formula like VitalMega-3 to ensure your body has sufficient levels of these crucial fats to effectively control inflammation and help decrease your risk of heart disease. 

# 5:  Use caution when dining out 

DON’T assume that restaurants make healthy fat choices.  Fast food restaurants are notorious for using polyunsaturated oils for frying their French fries, chicken strips, fish fillets and other deep-fried items, and even higher end restaurants commonly use polyunsaturated oils in cooking.   

DO ask questions of your server as to how the meals are prepared and request that your entrée be baked, broiled or sautéed in butter.  Any restaurant worthy of your business will accommodate your request.   

# 6:  Be aware of rancid, oxidized oils 

DON’T buy unsaturated oils that are packaged in clear glass or plastic containers, as they may be rancid.  Oxygen, heat and light can all cause unsaturated oils to become rancid. 

DO buy unsaturated oils in dark (green or brown) containers.  Store them in a dark cabinet or in the refrigerator and recap them quickly and tightly after using. 

Now you are an expert in fats and know what you need to make tasty, healthy choices!  

To your health, 

Sherry Brescia 

PS:  If you want to read more on fats, I highly recommend the book “Deep Nutrition” by Dr. Cate Shanahan.  I read this book as part of my coursework for my nutrition master’s and it’s extremely enlightening and entertaining.  

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  • Wow I know you said this before and I appreciate it. I recently watched a video blood pressure solutions. It’s a book and I are put out by Dr. Marlene. She basically said the same thing you said my real concern here cause I just started a high blood pressure medicine, which I don’t really want to take and hope this book for help me see how to eliminate that pressure medicine. I’ve been following you for over 10 years and appreciate all your research, thank you for helping us to have a healthier lives. Sincerely, Sally Brown.

    Sally Brown on

  • Thank you so much for sharing this information! It is so important for good health.

    Carol on

  • I would like your opinion of CinnaChroma. I just watched a long video on the topic of type 2 diabetes and how this natural combination can help lower blood sugar.

    Mary Rivell on

  • Just had a question about fats. What about olive oil? Is that ok to use?

    Stacie Bayham on

  • Excellent article! 5 STAR!

    Jeanie Longmire on

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