Confused about all of the latest warnings regarding coconut oil and other fats in your diet? Siskiyou Vital Medicine Nutritionist Ron Veitel, BSc, gives you the skinny on fats right here. Learn about the truths and myths surrounding the connection between saturated fat consumption and cardio vascular disease. Click on the video image below for more on this subject.
by McClane Duncan, ND
I’ve had several patients and friends approach me about a new documentary proclaiming the evils of fats and proteins and singing the praises of sugar. Of course being that I’m a naturopathic physician who treats cardiovascular disease and diabetes with diet and lifestyle modification, I had to investigate.
What I found was a little shocking and, quite frankly, a little irritating. The film featured physicians proclaiming sugar was not to blame for diabetes and heart disease. Despite the film’s agenda-driven half-truths to lambasting fats and proteins, it did talk about the importance of eating clean environmentally friendly food.
In an effort to clear up some confusion here are some of the facts that I believe the film misrepresented:
MYTH: Fats cause diabetes and raise cholesterol leading to heart disease.
TRUTH: Fats alone do not cause diabetes and heart disease. Diabetes is a result of too much sugar remaining in the blood stream due to either insulin resistance or lack of insulin. It is true that fatty acids do reduce insulin sensitivity. However, fat and sugar should not be consumed together in equal parts. Eating sugar causes an increase in insulin levels in the blood. Insulin is an energy storage molecule promoting fat storage and fatty acids are an energy burning molecule. They oppose one another.
TRUTH: Cholesterol does not cause heart disease and is not ultimately responsible for clogging the arteries (atherosclerosis). In the cardiovascular system, cholesterol’s function is to heal damaged arteries and veins. Cholesterol can be compared to a Band-Aid covering a skin wound where they both form a protective barrier to facilitate healing. Cholesterol becomes dangerous in the arteries when it is in the presence of inflammation and oxidation where it hardens, blocking arteries. Blaming cholesterol for heart disease is like blaming gas pumps for empty fuel tanks or firemen for fires.
MYTH: Sugar can be consumed without causing diabetes and heart disease.
TRUTH: Again, sugar causes the release of insulin which stores energy in the form of adipose tissue (fat tissue). The more adipose tissue you carry on your body, the more insulin resistant you become. Sugar is also inflammatory and responsible for the degeneration of the kidneys, small nerves in the hands and feet, eyes and brain. If you don’t believe me, look up the signs and symptoms of diabetes or Type III Diabetes of the brain. Furthermore, the production of energy from sugar produces more free radicals (inflammatory) than does the production of energy from fat.
Not one diet is good for everyone as we are all individuals having our own biochemical idiosyncrasies. I suggest that before you drastically change the way you eat or give up on eating entirely, speak with a functional nutrition expert. The practitioners at Siskiyou Vital Medicine can help you discover what diet is right for you and give you the tools to become your very own nutrition expert.
Eating a low fat diet is not resulting in a low fat nation when it comes to weight, nor is it resulting in better cardiovascular health, less cancer or fewer cases of diabetes. In fact, it seems to be doing the exact opposite.
So why is this happening?
Why is it that Americans spend more money on health care and yet we are nowhere near the top when it comes to international health rankings, and how can it be that Americans make up 6% of the World’s population yet we are responsible for 34% of the World’s biomass due to obesity? Whoa!
Eating Low-fat is to Blame
Well, surely we can blame some of the weight problems on hormones, environmental toxins, sedentary lifestyle and stress but I propose that eating a low-fat diet is largely to blame. When we avoid high quality fats found in nourishing foods we set ourselves up for decreased satiety and food cravings. These food cravings often lead us to eating more, eating more sweets and eating more carbohydrates.
The elimination of fat from our diet is essentially causing us to eat more sugar. Too much sugar causes increased blood insulin levels, increased production of adipose tissue (fat), and increased triglyceride levels, both of which result in obesity, insulin resistance, sexual dysfunction and increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
What’s the Solution?
I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t eat low fat, eat good fat. Good fats can be found in a variety of places like sustainably harvested wild caught fish, grass fed beef, free range poultry and organic-locally grown plants and nuts.
Finally, eat mindfully, enjoy your meals with your friends and family, move your body every day and laugh often.
For more information on how to eat healthy, schedule an appointment with Siskiyou Vital Medicine’s very own Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Stacey Bailey, NTP. You may also join us at Natural Grocers for a FREE evening of cooking, eating and connecting.
McClane Duncan, ND
Dr. Duncan received his Undergraduate Degree, Bachelor of Science in Biology, from the University of Houston-Downtown. He earned his Doctorate Degree as a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University and his Post Graduate Training in Prolotherapy, Neurotherapy, and Ozone therapy from the Klinghardt Academy. He is also trained in Anthroposophical Medicine. His medical approach is rooted in Vitalism, a system of medicine that focuses on cure using the body’s own innate ability to heal. He employs time tested natural therapies as well as the latest medical technology to develop sustainable health plans that empower his patients to take control of their health. It is his intention to make complex medicine simple, reconnect people with their bodies, and teach his patients the foundations of health.