For the past six weeks, we have been sharing the reasons why the ‘World’s Diet’ is such a dangerous diet. In this Health Tip we are going to examine another substance that contains no fiber and has potentially serious health damaging consequences, yet is consumed by almost every man, woman and child each and every day of their lives if they consume the World’s SAD Diet.
Did You Know?
Fats, in one form or another, are found in almost everything we eat. Fats are in almost every fruit and vegetable grown in the garden, in high amounts in avocados, seeds and nuts, and exceedingly high in most sea and land animals? Before doing some 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. In fact, every 8 oz glass of carrot juice I drink has nearly a gram of fat. And just a 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; these should be avoided. But there are good fats that are essential for keeping us alive and 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. Just 3.5 ounces of extra lean hamburger contains 16 grams of bad fat; 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 in their raw state by carnivorous animals, or their raw milk by the offspring of animals. But when these same flesh and dairy fats are cooked and 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, even to the extent of causing their death. Any fat in flesh or dairy becomes a dangerous bad fat when exposed to air, light, and heat.
Good Fats Can Heal
The body needs good fats and without them life on earth cannot be sustained. Good fats are found 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 they must be consumed in their raw, unprocessed form. It is also possible to utilize some fish oils when properly processed. However, while fats as found in living plants and some fish are good fats, when these fats are processed with heat, or exposed to the air and light, they become bad fats.
Why Good Fats Are Essential
- The body can’t make them.
- They are required for normal cell, tissue, gland and organ function.
- Deficiency results in progressive deterioration.
- Their absence from the body will eventually cause death.
- Adding essential fatty acids to a deficient diet reverses the symptoms of deficiency and restores health.
- Energy production
- Proper brain function
- Weight management
- Healthy digestion
- Inflammation prevention
- Stress prevention
- Improved sleep
- Improved hormone function
- Proper reproductive function
- Cancer risk reduction
- Proper insulin function
- Improved gut integrity
- Improved skin, hair, and nail quality and growth
- Improved vision
Three Types of Essential Fatty AcidsThere are two kinds of essential fats: omega-3 and omega-6. The body can’t make them, absolutely requires them, and must obtain them from food. Lack of either results in physical deterioration. Both omega-3 and omega-6 are polyunsaturated fats. All other fats, including monounsaturated and saturated, can be made by the body. Omega 3 Fatty acids are an essential polyunsaturated fat found in fish, nuts, and plant oils. There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids
- ALA or alpha-linolenic acid – available from flaxseed, walnuts, canola, and soybeans.
- EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid – available from human breast milk and fish oils. Can usually be converted by the body from ALA, but sometimes poorly.
- 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.
- LA or linoleic acid is an unsaturated omega-6 fatty acid available from plants, seeds, and nuts.
- 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’s and 6’s in the diet promotes health, while an excess of Omega-6’s promotes inflammation and contributes to the development of disease. The Standard American Diet (SAD) typically contains 10 to 30 times more omega-6 fatty acids 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’s, 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 wellbeing of the body.
Processing Of Fats
Processing 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, pressed from organically-grown seeds to avoid toxic pesticide residues, and bottled in brown glass and boxed for protection against light. Most of the health problems blamed on 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 (EFA’s, Omega 3’s, 6’s, and 9’s) 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, lard and coconut oils were condemned for being saturated fats 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 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: French fries, fried chicken, donuts, cookies and pastries typically 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.
Canola 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 label that reads “WARNING: this product may 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.
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the safest of the oils. However when buying olive oil there are certain things to look for: Make sure the label reads “Extra Virgin.” Extra virgin means the oil came from the cold pressing of the flesh of the olive. If the label just says “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, but only in its cold form in salad dressings, etc. Cold pressed "Udo’s" brand oils and flax oils are other safe oils if processed properly. They are bottled in dark containers, and refrigerated. Again, these oils should only be used for low temperature food prep (nothing above 107F). Fish Oil is a safe oil if properly processed and comes from non-mercury sources. 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 fish oil to be the very best and purest of all the fish oils available today. Organic virgin coconut oil is probably the safest and best oil available, and is the only oil recommended for frying and cooking purposes. It has a sweet coconut scent and flavor, and though a saturated fat, is heart healthy (due to medium chain fatty acids or MCFA). It is health promoting and does not require refrigeration. When shopping for coconut oil, look for "virgin" or "extra virgin" but not just "coconut oil" or "refined" coconut oil (these last two have been heated in processing). Incidentally, "extra" virgin coconut oil is no different than "virgin" coconut oil. The coconut oil industry does not have the same wording standards as the olive oil industry, which indeed has different standards for the use of the terms virgin and extra virgin.
For those who might be interested, here are the fats I consume on a daily basis:
- A quarter cup of ground flax seed and 1 teaspoon Finest Pure Fish Oil go into my green smoothie each morning.
- I consume at least a half an avocado each day.
- Some seeds and nuts are consumed but in limited amounts.
- Some extra virgin olive oil in salad dressings and added to foods after cooking.
- Virgin coconut oil is the only oil used in healthy stir fries and for other cooking purposes.
In addition to the above, most all the fruits and veggies I consume contain varying amounts of good fat. I consume no foods containing refined fats, hydrogenated fats, or trans fatty acids – that means no conventionally fried ANYTHING (donuts, French fries, onion rings, fried chicken) or margarine for that matter. I have not knowingly consumed any bad fats in the past 36 years. Although I have been on this 85% raw to 15% cooked, plant-based diet for 36 years, and am only two years from my 80th birthday, I am very healthy! Other than the smile-induced wrinkles on my face, my nails and hair are strong and shiny, my scalp is not dry nor do I have and dandruff, and the skin on the rest of my body is smooth, soft and without blemish, with zero liver spots on my hands.
The Bible says “My people are destroyed for lack of KNOWLEDGE.” (Hosea 4:6) And when it comes to what kinds of fats we should and should not allow into our bodies there is for sure a great “lack of knowledge” in the land. I trust what we have shared in this Health Tip has increased your knowledge! Now you know what kinds of fats should be allowed and what kinds of fats should not be allowed into your fabulous, God created, physical body! After all, God has given us the responsibility of maintaining our bodies so that we can be fit for the Master's use.
“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, Lord willing and if the creeks don’t rise too high, we will bring you another exciting and informative Health Tip. Trust you will join us. I invite you to share these Health Tips with neighbors, friends, relatives and church members who might not have this knowledge!