In last week’s Health Tip I shared how in 1998, Dr. Michael Donaldson, a PhD graduate of Cornell University, joined our team here at Hallelujah Acres to help us continually evaluate the accuracy of The Hallelujah Diet, based on the latest information. This week, we're going to talk about what Dr. Donaldson's research revealed about fat! Dealing with fats reminds me of the saying: “You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.” Let’s talk about the reason I make that statement...
Did You Know?Fats, in one form or another, are found in almost everything we eat — almost every fruit and vegetable grown in the garden, in high amounts in avocados, seeds, and nuts, and exceedingly high in the flesh of most sea and land animals. Before extensive research, I would never have dreamed that the half a banana I put in my green smoothie each morning contains a quarter gram of fat, that every 8 oz glass of carrot juice I drink has nearly a gram of fat, while that quarter of an avocado I put in my blended salad each evening contains approximately 7 grams of fat. As we begin this journey into understanding fats, we need to be aware of how different types of fat can affect our health. For instance, there are the bad fats that have the potential of doing great harm to our body and which should be avoided, and there are the good fats that are essential in keeping us alive as well as being essential for the proper nourishment and functioning of the body.
Bad Fats Can KillBad fats are the primary cause of approximately half of all deaths in America. Remove these bad fats from the diet and you could almost eliminate any fear of ever having a heart attack or stroke, or the need for medications to control high blood pressure, or the need for stents or by-passes. These bad fats clog up the arteries and cut off blood flow. Bad fats are found in all animal flesh and dairy foods. Are you aware that 3.5 ounces of extra lean hamburger contains 16 grams of bad fat; or that 3.5 ounces of dark chicken meat contains 15.8 grams of bad fat; or that a 3.5 ounce serving of pork roast contains 21.5 grams of bad fat? Pasteurized cow milk derives 50% of its calories from bad fat. Dr. William C. Roberts, editor of the “American Journal of Cardiology” writes: “Human beings are not natural carnivores. When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings, who are natural herbivores.” Animal source fats are good fats when consumed by carnivorous animals in their raw state, or in the raw milk consumed by the offspring of carnivorous animals. But when these same flesh and dairy fats are cooked, pasteurized, and consumed by herbivores (we humans) they become bad fats that clog up our arteries and do great harm to the body. By the way, when these animal fats are cooked and consumed by carnivorous animals, they become bad fats for the animals that consume them as well, even to the extent of causing their death. Any fat in flesh or dairy or even fat coming from plants for that matter becomes a bad fat when exposed to air, light, or heat.
Good Fats Can HealInterestingly, if we were to remove all bad fats from our diet and do it perfectly, we would die if we did not consume the good fats that are essential for the proper nourishment and functioning of the body. The body needs good fats — without them, life on earth cannot be sustained. Good fats are found exclusively in plant source foods, the very foods God so clearly told us in the Bible we should nourish our bodies with in Genesis 1:29, but only if consumed in their raw, unprocessed form. Fish oils, when properly processed, are also good fats.
Why Good Fats Are Essential
- The body can’t make them (that's why they're called "essential").
- They are required for normal cell, tissue, gland, and organ function.
- Deficiency results in progressive deterioration of the body.
- Their absence from the body will eventually cause death.
- Adding essential fatty acids to a deficient diet reverses the symptoms of deficiency and helps in the process of restoring health.
Reasons Good Fats Are Essential For Body Health
- Energy production
- Brain function
- Weight management
- Inflammation prevention
- Stress prevention
- Improved sleep
- Improved hormone function
- Required for reproduction
- Lowers cancer risks
- Required for proper insulin function
- Improves gut integrity
- Improves dry skin, hair, and nail quality
- Required for proper hair growth
- Improves vision
Three Types Of Essential Fatty AcidsEssential fats are of 2 kinds: omega 3 and omega 6. The body can’t make them, absolutely requires them, and must obtain them from food. Lack of either of these essential fatty acids results in physical deterioration. Both omega 3 and omega 6 are polyunsaturated fats. Omega 3 Fatty Acids – an essential polyunsaturated fat found in fish, nuts, seeds, and plant oils. There are three types of omega 3 fatty acids (1) ALA or alpha-linolenic acid – available from flaxseed and walnuts. (2) EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid – available from human breast milk and fish oils. Can usually be converted by the body from ALA, but sometimes poorly. (3) DHA or docosahexaenoic acid – available from human breast milk and fish oils and algae. Can be converted by the body from ALA, but often poorly. Omega 3 fatty acids correct imbalances created by unhealthy diets, by lowering risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer. ALA helps reduce heart disease and stroke by reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels. DHA & EPA help with brain and eye development, prevent cardiovascular disease, and can help prevent Alzheimer’s. Omega 6 Fatty Acids – are also polyunsaturated fats essential for human health and can be found in most animal source foods, nuts, and plant based oils. There are two types of omega 6 fatty acids: (1) LA or linoleic acid is an unsaturated omega 6 fatty acid available from plants, seeds, and nuts. (2) AA or arachidonic acid is available from nuts, meat, eggs and dairy. Most omega 6 fatty acids are obtained from animal sources and vegetable oils. However, excessive amounts, especially from animal sources, can contribute to inflammation, narrowing of the arteries, and result in heart disease, cancer, asthma, arthritis and depression. A proper balance of 1:1 or 1: 2 between omega 3 and omega 6 fats the diet promotes health, while an excess of omega 6 promotes inflammation and contributes to the development of coronary heart disease, cancer, and the development of Alzheimer’s. The Standard American Diet (SAD) typically contains 10 to 30 times more omega 6 fatty acids, (almost all damaged by processing and heat) than omega 3 fatty acids, contributing to the increasing rates of inflammatory disorders so prevalent today. Omega 9 Fatty Acids – are known as oleic acids or monounsaturated fats. They are unsaturated fats found primarily in vegetable oils and almonds. Unlike omega 3 and 6, omega 9 fatty acids are produced by the body, but can also be beneficial when obtained from foods. Although omega 3, omega 6, and omega 9 fatty acids all serve different functions within the body, incorporating balanced proportions of both essential and non-essential fatty acids are necessary for maintaining overall heart health and the general well-being of the body.
Processing Of FatsProcessing damages poly- and mono-unsaturated fats, and further damages already-damaged trans-fats. Because of their sensitivity to damage by light, air, and heat, oils for health and performance should be made under protection from these elements, pressed from organically-grown seeds to avoid toxic pesticide residues, bottled in brown glass and boxed for protection against light. Most of the health problems blamed on these fats should be blamed on the destructive processing of fats used to obtain longer shelf life and when these fats are used in cooking. Essential fatty acids are extremely sensitive to destruction by light, air (oxygen), and heat. These destructive influences produce molecules that change natural and healthy fats to unnatural and toxic fats. In past years, coconut oil was condemned for being a saturated fat and were replaced with vegetable oils called polyunsaturated. These processed, polyunsaturated fats were touted as being heart healthy, and the gullible American public bought into the propaganda and still does to this day. The bible says “My people are being destroyed for lack of knowledge”. And how true this statement is today with regard to fats. But what the people did not and many do not understand is the effect processing has on these oils. Processing turns good fats into refined fats, hydrogenated fats, and trans-fats. Trans fatty acids are formed when vegetable oils are hydrogenated (had hydrogen pumped into them), and hardened to make margarine and shortenings. Trans fatty acids are now recognized as a leading cause of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic or fatal illnesses. Any processed food that contains hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil contains trans-fats: most French fries, fried chicken, donuts, cookies, and pastries contain between 30% and 50% trans-fats. These fats, when exposed to light, produce thousands of free radicals, and lead to changes in oil molecules. Exposing these fats to air (oxygen) produces oxidation and rancidity. Heat speeds up the damage done by light and oxygen, and at high temperatures does its own unique kind of damage.
Destructive FatsCanola oil, corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oils are advertised as being heart healthy, yet they too are processed with heat, exposed to light and air, and usually sold in clear glass or plastic containers. Every one of them should carry a “WARNING” label, “Can be harmful to your health.” All of the above oils, even if they are organic, cold-pressed, unprocessed, and stored away from heat and light and in clear glass or plastic, are potentially damaging to the body. They have very little shelf life and go rancid in days if not refrigerated. And if not pressed from organic seed, GMO becomes a huge issue also.
Healthy FatsExtra virgin olive oil is one of the safest of the oils, although not significant sources of omega 3 as some believe it to be. However when buying olive oil there are certain things to look for: Make sure the label reads “Extra Virgin”! These words preceding the words “olive oil” mean the oil came from the first cold pressing of the flesh of the olive. If the label just reads “olive oil” it means the oil came from the heat processing of the seed. “Extra virgin olive oil” should be packaged in dark glass and never used for the frying of foods; use it only in its cold form in salad dressings, etc. Cold pressed Udo’s Oils and flax oils are other safe oils if processed properly, are in dark containers, and refrigerated. It is important they be in dark glass containers, be found in the store refrigerator, and kept refrigerated at all times. These oils should never be used in cooking. Fish oil is a safe oil if properly processed and comes from non-mercury sources (i.e. small fish like sardines and anchovies). Beware of fish oils in capsule form as they are often rancid. It is important fish oils come in a dark glass container and once opened kept refrigerated. We have found Pharmax Fish Oil to be the very best and purest of all the fish oils available today. Organic virgin or extra virgin coconut oil is probably the safest and best oil available for cooking and is the only oil recommended for frying and cooking purposes. It has a sweet coconut scent and flavor and though it is a saturated fat, it is heart healthy and health promoting (antibacterial, antimicrobial), and it doesn’t require refrigeration.
In conclusion...For those who might be interested, here are the fats I consume on a daily basis:
- A quarter cup of ground flaxseed and 1 teaspoon Pharmax Fish Oil go into my green smoothie each morning.
- At least a half an avocado each day.
- Some seeds and nuts in limited amounts.
- Some extra virgin olive oil in salad dressings and added to foods after cooking
- Extra virgin coconut oil for cooking purposes.
- No donuts
- No French fries
- No onion rings
- No fried chicken
“I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. AND BE NOT CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2Next week, the good Lord willing and if the creeks don’t rise too high, we will take a look at Dr. Donaldson’s next discovery... A nutrient that is vital to every person’s health but is too often lacking not only in a vegan diet, but also in a person who consumes a meat-based diet. Trust you will join us.