Episode 34 - All About Fats
Understand the MYTH of the Diet/Heart hypothesis and also ease your mind about adding fats back into your diet. We come from a fat-phobic diet mentality and that, perhaps more than anything, has contributed to the poor health of this nation.
Learn about the different types of fats - MUFA, PUFA, SFA, Omegas, etc. and which ones to eat and why. You have FOUR actionable coaching assignments this week. Get 2023 off to a nice healthy start!
FREE 35-page Keto and Low Carb Planner
Are Vegetable Oils bad for you? (article)
How Canola Oil is Made (You Tube)
Fat Fiction (You Tube documentary)
Breaking Free From Diet Prison Book
Breaking Free Facebook Page
You are listening to the Keto and Low Carb Success podcast, Episode 34.
Hi Everyone! I want to welcome you to Season 2 of Roadmap to Diet Success, except the new name of this podcast is Keto and Low Carb Success. Let me tell you a bit about why I wanted to make the change.
Some of you know me from way back, when my business was Granny Keto.
During that time, I trademarked a program that I called Granny Keto Transitions Program.
It was a program to help people transition out of the Standard American Diet, known as SAD. SAD has no limits on carbohydrates and junk food. I wanted to help people transition to a healthier way of eating that concentrated on lower carbs so that insulin and other hormones would get into a healthy place so that cravings and hunger could be significantly diminished.
It walked you through cutting down on, or eliminating, sugar, baked goods, grains, legumes and fruit. It showed you how to add healthy fats to your diet and to make sure you were adding enough protein to your day. Then, it was up to the person going through the program whether they wanted to make a further transition all the way into Keto. And, if that was the case, if you transitioned the way I was telling you to, you would never have the dreaded Keto flu, and you would easily diminish cravings for sugars and grains.
Anyway, when I started my podcast last year, Roadmap to Diet Success, I thought I could take a more generic route to teach all this, but found I was missing sharing with my listeners some of the important components of the transitions program plus other useful information. All my work has had the mindset component so that wasn’t a problem, no matter which route I took.
But I was missing the important things like adding healthy fats back into your diet – which is important no matter which eating plan you follow – unless it is a ridiculous low-fat one – but I felt I couldn’t speak specifically to what you need to do for Keto and Low Carb. I didn’t want someone to be listening to the podcast and go “WOAH – I didn’t sign up for Keto information!”
So anyway, I felt I would be truer to my interests and knowledge if I scaled back from general diet information even though, from the feedback I had gotten, was extremely appreciated and useful. I also was running out of generic diet stuff to talk about but the well runs deep with Keto and Low Carb information.
So welcome to Keto and Low Carb Success. And, let me add here, no matter what eating style you are following – from Mediterranean Diet to Weight Watchers – the information in this podcast will be invaluable for your success! Mindset work aside, it’s important to learn about eating fewer carbohydrates and why, what are your healthy fats and proteins, and to learn about flawed studies such as the Diet-Heart hypothesis which has done more damage to this nation’s health than maybe any other thing.
Today’s episode, number 34, is “All About Fats” and I hope you learn some interesting new information! Also, stay tuned to the end because I am offering you my free, newly designed, 35-page Keto and Low Carb Planner!
If you are following a ketogenic diet you will learn, or have learned, that fat is an important macronutrient in your arsenal. But no matter what eating style or diet you are following it is important to know that the consumption of good fat is NOT dangerous. It does NOT cause heart disease or hardening of the arteries. As a matter of fact, your own body produces most of its own cholesterol — you can't blame eggs anymore now that the science has caught up with the truth of the matter!
Understanding which types of fats you are choosing to eat is crucial. In the last episode’s coaching advice, I asked that you start defining and refining your identity. If your identity is to be a healthy eater, then it is important that you understand that you must have fat in your diet and which fats are best.
NOT ALL FATS ARE BAD FOR YOU
The MYTH (known as the Diet-Heart hypothesis) is that fats (especially saturated fats) are bad for you. As a matter of fact, they serve very important functions such as building cell walls. They are essential to mineral absorption and conversion. For instance, the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K, are called fat soluble for a reason! If you eat low fat or no fat, you don’t get the full nutrients of these vitamins. If you are constantly Vitamin D deficient, take a look at your fat intake and make sure you are including enough in your diet. There are other reasons for the deficiency, of course, but when I came out of my fat-free stupor, my D levels improved.
LET’S START WITH THE BAD AND THE UGLY
There is no argument that trans fats are bad for you and their consumption has contributed to heart disease and hardening of the arteries. In most cases, these are not natural fats and your body does not know what to do with them. Trans fats have given the bad rap to fats in general.
Trans fats, found in many foods — including fried foods like doughnuts and baked goods including cakes, pie crusts, biscuits, frozen pizza, cookies, crackers, stick margarines and other spreads, the totally "plastic" whipped toppings, Crisco, and hundreds of processed food products – have now been banned in the United States.
The Food and Drug Administration ruled in 2015 that artificial trans fats were unsafe to eat and gave food-makers three years to eliminate them from the food supply, with a deadline of June 18, 2018. Walter Willet, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and one of the first researchers to discover a link between artificial trans fats and cholesterol and heart disease, told the Washington Post that the ban could reduce the number of people who die from heart disease and curb the incidence of diabetes, dementia, obesity, inflammation, IBS and other metabolic diseases.
However, even in 2022, there may still be some foods that contain trans fats even though they have been phased out. This is because there are long shelf-lives for these items, and they could have had use-by dates well into the future. In addition, companies could keep and sell any products that they produced before the ban. They are vegetable shortenings, some varieties of microwave popcorn, certain vegetable oils, fried fast foods, some bakery goods made with margarine and vegetable shortening, and powered nondairy coffee creamers that might still be sitting in your pantry. Other long shelf-life products that you might have that still have trans fats in their ingredients are potato and corn chips, canned frosting, crackers and frozen pizzas.
Do not be fooled and don’t fool yourself: Products can be listed as "0 grams of trans fats" if they contain 0 grams to less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. You will be able to spot trans fats by reading ingredient lists and looking for the ingredients referred to as "partially hydrogenated oils."
Something I learned while researching for this episode is that small amounts of trans fats occur naturally in some meat and dairy products, including beef, lamb and butterfat. There have not been sufficient studies to determine whether these naturally occurring trans fats have the same bad effects on cholesterol levels and other metabolic problems, as trans fats that have been industrially manufactured.
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, abbreviated as PUFA, can be dangerous for several reasons. Because of their structure, they are chemically unstable and susceptible to damage from heat, light and oxygen, causing them to oxidize thus causing high levels of inflammation in our bodies. These are mostly the industrial oils such as corn oil, peanut oil, "vegetable" oil, soybean oil and canola oil. However, many fats have naturally occurring Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids but will be identified as its main source of fat. Bacon is 11% Polyunsaturated fat, but identified as a saturated fat. There are essential Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids such as Omega 3 fatty acids, but there is no need to include excess dangerous Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in your diet intentionally by using corn oil for frying, for instance.
Let me add here, that once you have processed foods out of your life, most of the bad fats will go with them.
MONOUNSATURATED AND SATURATED FATS ARE YOUR FRIENDS
So, you ask, "If I don’t eat trans fats and mostly don’t eat polyunsaturated fats then what do I eat?" Plenty!
Monounsaturated Fatty Acids, abbreviated as MUFA, are found in olives and avocados and their oils, and nuts such as hazelnuts (or filberts), macadamia nuts, pecans, almonds, pistachios and cashews. Be aware that especially with nuts, if you are doing any sort of macro counting, you must count the other categories that are in the food which are carbohydrates and protein. Sesame seeds and sesame seed butter, which is tahini used in dishes such as hommos, are high in monounsaturated fatty acids as well. Lesser sources, but still good, are sunflower seeds and sunflower seed butter, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds.
A little side note on peanuts: Peanuts are a legume and not a nut, and they are very rich in monounsaturated fats. Valencia peanuts and peanut butter are preferred because the chance of fungus is less.
Saturated Fatty Acids, abbreviated as SFA, are mostly found in animal fats but can also be found in some plant foods such as coconut oil and coconut butter. They are in all meats but especially fatty meat such as beef brisket and cuts such as rib eye and prime rib and bacon, and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines. You will find a good source of Saturated fat in duck, various cuts of lamb and pork, and deli meats such as Mortadella and salami. Other great sources are full-fat dairy such as butter and heavy whipping cream. Other Saturated fats are coconut and palm oils, ghee, lard, tallow, and other fats from animals that are good for cooking such as duck fat, lamb fat and chicken fat. These are all rich sources of vitamins and contribute to the lowering of inflammation in your body.
As with the example of bacon having naturally occurring Polyunsaturated fatty acids, many other foods are a combination of Monounsaturated fat, Polyunsaturated fat and Saturated fat but are identified in one category or another according to the highest percentage of which fat it has. For example, coconut oil is 87% saturated so it is identified as a saturated fat even though 13% is not saturated. Whether or not you eat a lot of fats that are themselves combined - and no one would expect you to do this research - you should aim for a good degree of variety between the Monounsaturated Fat and Saturated Fat.
We also hear a lot about omega fatty acid
Omega fatty acids are from a family of fats that commonly are found in vegetable and animal fats. We have all heard of Omega-3 and Omega-6 and the less common Omega-9. The number of the omega comes from its position on the fatty acid chain, alpha being the front of the chain and omega being the end. For instance, Omega-3 has its double bond between the third and fourth link, and the Omega-9 has its double bond in the 9th position. You may have also heard of EPA and DHA. These Omega-3 fats are essential to the functioning of our cells. You will often see them as supplements but are abundant in fish oil, fatty fish and other seafood.
UNDERSTAND THE BALANCE OF FATS YOU'RE EATING
More than you wanted to know but here is what you do want to know: If it is an essential fatty acid it means we need to get it from our food. If it is a non-essential fatty acid our body can make what it needs. We should work to balance the 3 and 6 omegas, for maximum health. Not only do we tend to be deficient in Omega 3s but we tend to have an over-consumption of Omega 6. There are both Omega 3 and Omega 6 in Polyunsaturated fat, but the ratio of 3 to 6 is top heavy on the 6. This imbalance, especially if you do not consume healthy fats, causes inflammation, poor gut health, and contributes to IBS (inflammatory bowel disease), heart disease, diabetes and liver disease. However, you do not have to eat pounds of salmon or take Omega-3 supplements to balance out this ratio. The thing to do is to eat less Polyunsaturated fat thereby lessening the load of Omega 6 in your body.
In addition to trans fats being bad for you, it is equally important to stay away from "industrial oils" such as corn oil, peanut oil, “vegetable" oil, soybean oil and canola oil. These are the polyunsaturated oils and are also usually the “fryolator" fats that not only are bad fats for you. Because they have been used over and over again to the point where they oxidize, they become even more dangerous sources of damage. These oils can contribute greatly to inflammation in your body. It is this inflammation that is a source of heart disease and many other illnesses.
Many vegetable oils (from plants, nuts and seeds) are harshly processed. Edible oilsare extracted from plants using either a chemical solvent or oil mill. Then they are often purified, refined, and sometimes chemically altered. The show notes and transcript contain a YouTube link that shows the mechanical and chemical extraction of canola oil. After watching this you may want to stay away from industrial vegetable oils, if you have not already been convinced that they are not the best choices for you.
You might have heard the term “cold-pressed oils.” These are oils made by first grinding nuts, seeds, fruits or vegetables (depending on the oil being made) into a paste. Then an oil stone or other tool is used to press the paste which forces the oil to separate. When you have the choice, always look for cold-pressed, as it is a much better alternative when buying any plant oils.
Another concern is the high omega-6 content in some of these oils. Consider avoiding the following plant oils due to their high omega-6 contents: soybean, corn, cottonseed, sunflower, peanut, sesame and rice bran oils. Observational studies have associated a high intake of omega-6 fat to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease. On the other hand, to have full disclosure here, some studies investigating the effects of omega-6 fat consumption generally do not support the idea that these fats increase inflammation, which is at the root of a lot of these problems. However, remember the term confirmation bias that I talked about in Episode 24. Always look to see the funding source for some of these studies.
Another important issue with some of these oils is oxidation. The problem with polyunsaturated fats is that all the double bonds in their structure make them susceptible to oxidation where the fatty acids react with oxygen in the atmosphere and start deteriorating. The fat you eat isn’t only stored as fat tissue or burned for energy — it’s also incorporated into cell membranes. If you have a lot of polyunsaturated fatty acids in your body, your cell membranes are more sensitive to oxidation.
With the oxidation issue, the problem is not just how these fats move through your body, but the more immediate issues of degradation due to light and heat.Always try to get your oils in dark bottles or cans. Then with cooking, when you’re cooking at a high heat, you want to use oils that are stable and don’t oxidize or go rancid easily. Saturated fats have only one bond, monounsaturated fats have one double bond and polyunsaturated fats have two or more. It is these double bonds that are chemically reactive and sensitive to heat, while saturated fats and monounsaturated fats are fairly resistant to heating. Coconut oil is the winner with high heat.
I want to circle back to the caution about sesame oil. This is a very popular oil in Asian cooking, but my own practice is to add it after most of the frying is finished. I use it as a flavoring. I do my primary frying with avocado oil which imparts very little flavor at all, or I will use coconut oil if that subtle flavor blends well with what I am cooking. Other seed and nut oils can be used cold to dress salads or to be used as a finish like what I do with the sesame oil. Many of the nut oils such as walnut or hazelnut oils are used in pastries and other baking, where the heat is not as intense as on the stovetop, which makes them safer to use even though there is heat involved.
The link to an excellent article on cooking oils is in the show notes and transcript.
Using fats to reach satiety helps control your insulin
To lose weight and get rid of belly fat and other fat stores, you must control your insulin. Fat is the one macronutrient that has no effect on your insulin and so it is the primary macronutrient that you will be eating to reach satiety if you are following a ketogenic diet. Doing so significantly cuts down on hunger.
Do not skimp on fats and oils no matter what eating plan you are following. Even Weight Watchers, during one of the smarter incarnations of its programs, gave you two teaspoons of olive oil for free, even though that is not nearly enough fat consumption.
And speaking of Weight Watchers, or any program that encourages fat-free eating, remember what I have told you about all calories not being equal quality. You are not doing your body or weight-loss efforts any favor by eating fat-free junk. For goodness sakes, even a package of Twizzlers has the big bold claim that it is fat free. As you help yourself to all that sugar and chemicals, don’t think you are doing yourself any favors by picking fat-free Twizzlers or any other fat-free candy
Instead, have salads with real full-fat dressings, or olive oil and lemon. Put cream in your coffee instead of manufactured fat-free creamers. Have the real cheese and real butter. Have the skin on chicken and forget the boneless skinless chicken breasts. Have real mayonnaise.
Of course, don’t be a glutton with all this, and don’t combine the higher fat intake with high carbohydrate intake. Although good fats will not harm you, their consumption along with a high level of carbohydrates is obesogenic. This means that this combination of high fat and high carbohydrate consumption will promote weight gain. Remember, although we are not machines and cannot calculate every single calorie in and calorie out, they still do add up.
If you still need convincing or are puzzled by what you have learned and heard all your life about the dangers of fat, specifically saturated fat, please take the time to read Cholesterol Clarity by Jimmy Moore and Dr. Eric Westman. Even consider taking the book to your doctor! The link to purchase it is in the show notes and transcript.
For now, just please understand that fat — especially in the presence of low carbohydrate intake — is not dangerous!
THIS WEEK’S ACTIONABLE COACHING ADVICE
There are three things that I want you to do this week.
Your first assignment, if you have not done so already, is to have a dedicated place to record everything from your coaching advice. This can be a journal, loose leaf paper in a notebook, notes on your phone, or a document on the computer. It is one thing to listen to the advice. A deeper level is to do it, but the deepest level is to record it.
Second, read labels on any processed foods in your fridge, cabinets or pantry. Although the amount of trans fats in food has significantly declined since the FDA’s ban of trans fats went into effect, trans fat can still be found in some products.Read labels and check ingredients lists for partially hydrogenated oil, especially if you have any foods in your pantry that you purchased before the ban took effect. You don’t have to go crazy with this, pulling everything from the shelves, but at least check things at the store before you bring them home.
Your third assignment this week is to add a good fat to each meal of the day. If you come from the fat phobic era like I did, this might be easier said than done. Remember, fats that you once considered off limits you can enjoy. Scramble those eggs in real butter – forget the PAM. Use a good quality mayonnaise, such as Primal avocado mayonnaise or make your own – there are so many recipes on the internet. Have that on your sandwich instead of the mustard that you might have learned to eat because it had no fat. Do you have a favorite mustard? Go ahead and mix it with a little mayo. At dinner – enjoy a full fat dressing such as blue cheese or ranch. Make your own – again so many recipes are on the net for vinaigrettes using high quality olive oil. Have olives and avocado slices in the salad. Believe me, once you get rid of your fear of fat, it IS as easy to do as to say.
Actually, I lied… there is a fourth assignment: Go to your journal (if you have already been keeping one) and read over your identity statement I asked you to do last week. List five things you did this week that matches that identity. If that identity is to eat like a healthy person, then don’t forget, adding good fats to your meals this week is part of that new identity!
I am signing off a little differently today because I don’t want this podcast to run too long. First of all, as usual, I do want to thank you so much for joining me today and for staying with me through my adventure of changing this all over to what I know best – Keto and Low Carb.
Second, I am excited to announce that I have a brand-new course, also called Keto and Low Carb Success, that I am putting the finishing touches on. I would appreciate if you would sign up on the wait-list – no obligation to purchase at all – it just gives me a way to let you know when the course is ready. As my thank you gift to you, I will send you a 35-page Keto and Low Carb planner that, honestly, is fantastic. It is not just about tracking your food, if that is what you want to do, but has space to explore your goals and rewards you might like, daily, weekly and monthly planners, a space to use for grocery lists and another one for recipes, and everything in between like journaling and tracking habits, vitamins and supplements, and of course your weight and measurements. The page I like the best is one entitled “Keto and Low Carb Food List” and on that page are a column for foods you won’t be having and a matching column for foods you can replace them with. Seriously, this has been a work in progress and I think it is one of the best trackers you will come upon. I am making the Keto and Low Carb Planner part of the course offerings, but I want to offer it to you now to say thank you for taking a look at the course now.
See you next week for Episode 35 of Keto and Low Carb Success. I will be talking about carbohydrates and what you need to know to find your best success with any eating program!
So go share the show with your friends – especially those who have an interest in Keto and Low Carb, let them know that’s coming up in the next episode, and invite them to tune in with you.
Until then, go live free from diet worry — I’ll see you back here next time.