Josh Billings, U.S. humorist, once said, “It’s not what you don’t know that gets you into trouble—it’s what you know that just ain’t so.”
How true, especially when it comes to our health. After all, when we know we’re making unhealthy choices we can expect our health will suffer. But what about when we’re convinced we’re making healthy ones when they’re actually anything BUT healthy?
Sadly this is the case for countless folks who believe their low-fat lifestyles are going to make them slim, healthy and happy. When the truth is their fat choices could be putting them in harm’s way.
Toppling the top 4 dietary fat myths
There’s clearly a lot of confusion about what is and isn’t healthy when it comes to fat in our diet. Today I’m going to shed some light on the four most common—and dangerous—dietary fat myths I hear every day from my own patients.
Fat Myth #1:
The best ways to lose weight, and protect your heart, is to cut back on fat.
Fat Truth #1:
This myth reminds me of the “Telephone Game.” You’ve probably heard of it before.
It’s a fun party game where a group sits in a circle and the first person whispers a sentence into the ear of the person sitting on their left. That person then whispers what he believes to be the same sentence into the ear of the person to his left.
The game continues in this way until it reaches the last person in the circle who then shares the sentence she was given with the group. When it’s compared to the original, the message has usually become so warped that they bear only a passing resemblance to each other.
This fat myth, like the sentence in the telephone game, does have a grain of the original message in it. But also like the sentence in the telephone game it has become warped. Because while some types of fat are bad for you—others are terrific for your health.
You should cut back on unhealthy fats… but make sure you’re getting a lot of healthy ones at the same time.
Unnatural trans fats—also known as partially hydrogenated fats or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils—are the worst of the worst. These fats were created to allow foods to sit on the shelf longer before spoiling. They’re manufactured by injecting extra hydrogen into vegetable oils.
They do the job, making processed and pre-packaged foods last a disturbingly long time, but they also destroy your body in the process. You see, because they’re unnatural your body has a tough time digesting them and, even worse, they weaken the walls of your cells.
The destruction doesn’t end there. Trans fats also trigger inflammation throughout your body. But unlike the inflammation your immune system creates in response to an infection or injury, this type of chronic widespread inflammation can—over time—literally be deadly.
When you eat hydrogenated fat regularly—even just a few times a week—the chronic inflammation that results makes you more vulnerable to…
- heart disease,
- type 2 diabetes,
- autoimmune diseases,
- and even cancer.
Fortunately, the FDA has banned trans fats, and they’re supposed to be out of our food supply by 2018. In the meantime be on the lookout for them on food labels and make as many meals as you can with fresh natural ingredients.
Trans fats aren’t the only fats you need to be concerned about however. Fat that comes from factory-farmed animals is also pretty unhealthy. Conventionally raised red meat and poultry, as well as the dairy products that come from conventionally raised cows all fall into this category.
These poor factory farm cows and chickens are shot full of antibiotics to keep them standing long enough to be slaughtered, milked or exploited. They’re stuffed with corn and soy to fatten them up cheaply, and exposed to industrial toxins in a thousand different ways.
Neither their meat nor their fat is healthy for you. Instead you should choose organic, pasture raised, grass fed animal meats and dairy products whenever possible. Fats from these sources will be far healthier for you.
Fat Myth #2:
We should try to stick to “healthy” vegetable fats as much as possible.
Fat Truth #2:
This is another myth that sounds right to our ears because there’s a kernel of truth in it. Some plant-based fats are incredibly good for us, but many others are not.
The food industry markets an entire group of what are essentially imposter oils as “healthy vegetable oils.” But these so-called vegetable oils are actually health destroyers. The truth is these manufactured oils—which aren’t even actually made from vegetables—would be totally indigestible if they weren’t so highly processed. They do NOT belong in the human diet and were never in any foods we ate until we began making them.
Many of us are being exposed to these so-called vegetable oils in large, dangerous quantities because they’re commonly used in restaurants and in packaged and processed foods
These industrial oils threaten your health in a number of disturbing ways:
- They’re typically made from genetically modified crops.
- They’re processed using unhealthy chemical solvents to remove flavors and aroma
- They knock your ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s out of balance.
- They’re unstable, which means their likely to cause inflammation.
- They’re refined at high temperatures causing the oil to oxidize creating cell-harming free radicals.
Avoid eating these unhealthy oils whenever you can.
|Unhealthy Industrial “Vegetable” Oils|
Fat Myth #3:
We should just cut all fats out of our diet to be on the safe side.
Fat Truth #3:
You should be making an effort to include plenty of healthy fats in your diet. In fact, they’re critical for your good health. You should aim for at least one to two tablespoons of healthy fats in every single meal.
Fat has earned an undeserved bad reputation in the last decade. But the truth is our bodies require healthy fats to function. Your brain—as well as the walls of every single cell in your entire body—is made up of close to 60 percent fat.
In addition, we require good fats to properly absorb the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Fat-soluble vitamins will only dissolve in fat, which means that if you don’t put a light coating of healthy fat on your vegetables you’re literally depriving your body of vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Following are the healthiest animal- and plant-based fats you should be making an effort to include in your diet:
|Good for You Plant Fats|
|Avocados and avocado oil|
|Coconuts and coconut oil (virgin or expeller pressed)|
|Olives and olive oil (extra virgin)|
|Red Palm oil|
|Flaxseeds and flax oil|
|Unheated nut oils like walnut oil and macadamia oil|
|Seeds, such as chia seeds|
|Good for You Animal Fats|
|Cold-water fish such as wild salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies, and sardines|
|Organic grass-fed or pasture-raised meats|
|Organic pasture-raised egg yolk|
|Pasture-raised duck fat|
|Grass-fed butter or ghee (clarified butter)|
|Goat’s and sheep’s milk cheese|
Fat Myth #4:
We should cut saturated fats—such as animal fats—from our diet to avoid developing high cholesterol.
Fat Truth #4:
The cholesterol myth is the biggest and most persistent fat myth of them all.
Despite the evidence to the contrary most folks still think of cholesterol as the enemy. They are stunned to learn that cholesterol is NOT the cause of heart disease, or any other disorder for that matter. In fact, your body can’t function without cholesterol. A certain amount of this substance is needed to perform some vital-to-life functions.
If you’re concerned about heart disease you should focus instead on lowering your inflammation by avoiding unhealthy trans fats (see Myth #1) and following the advice in my book, which I will tell you more about in just a moment.
Despite this hard-to-kill myth, long term studies have shown no link at all between saturated fats and blood cholesterol levels. Excessively high cholesterol and triglyceride levels are actually linked to sugars and starches, both of which we eat entirely too much of in the Western diet.
Health myths are making us feel old and get fat
These four fat myths are making us sicker by the day, but they’re far from the only persistent health myths that are harming our health. I’ve dedicated myself to helping people break through these damaging myths so they can make truly healthy choices for themselves and their families. That’s why I wrote my latest book, 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat… and How YOU Can Stay Young, Slim, and Happy!
My book tackles some of the top health-harming myths, real doozies such as…
- “To lose weight you need to mostly focus on calorie cutting.”
- “If a disease runs in my family, there’s not much I can do to avoid it too.”
- “Since I don’t have celiac disease, I don’t need to worry about how much gluten I eat.”
- “Whole grains are an incredibly healthy food we should all be eating.”
- “Juicing is healthy.”
- “When we get older it’s perfectly normal to feel tired a lot of the time.”
- “Stress is just a psychological problem.”
Those are just a few of the many myths that I blow away in my book. It’s astounding how much bad information is being shoved down our throats every day—and heartbreaking that these myths are keeping so many of us from being as healthy and happy as we deserve to be.
If you’d like to learn more about these four fat myths—as well as the real truth behind many other health-harming myths you’ve been told are true—check out my book, 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat. . . and How YOU Can Stay Young, Slim, and Happy!
Becoming more and more aware of both the strengths and the weaknesses of his training, he began to study acupuncture, Chinese medicine, functional medicine, nutrition, herbal medicine, biofeedback, meditation and yoga.
He began to see that the polarization between western modalities and other healing philosophies merely negated positive attributes of both. He saw that true healing lay in a blend between the two. He now practices his unique blend of what he calls “Good Medicine,” combining all the systems in which he has trained.
A New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Lipman has written 4 books:
Total Renewal – 7 Key Steps to Resilience Vitality and Long Term Health ;
Revive – End Exhaustion and Feel Great Again ;
The New Health Rules – Simple Changes to Achieve Whole-Body Wellness ;
and his latest book 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat .
Over the past thirty years Dr. Lipman—known as the voice of sustainable wellness —has helped thousands of patients overcome unhealthy habits that, over time, creep in -- replacing them with new life-affirming ways to enhance life and vitality.
His method is simple. It’s about removing what’s harmful and adding in what’s beneficial. About understanding that the environment you bathe your genes in determines how those genes are expressed.
So what you eat, how much chemical and toxic exposure you’ve had, what stresses you tolerate, what you believe, how you think, how much love you give and get and how you move are critical.
You can change the way you think and feel about aging. Because the truth is our bodies are perfectly capable of remaining slim and vigorous, and our brains can absolutely stay clear and sharp—if we give them what they need.
As he explains in his book, 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat… And How YOU Can Stay Young, Slim, and Happy!, the problem is that most of us don’t do that. We eat the wrong foods, skimp on sleep, and deprive our bodies of the movement they crave.
He believes that with the right diet, exercise, good sleep, stress management and appropriate supplementation, you can take control of your health… it’s never too late.