December 15, 2016

Written By: Dr. Mark Hyman Doctors, patients, and readers are often completely confused about fat, clinging to misguided misinformation that prevents them from understanding the latest science to lose weight and achieve optimal health

You’re familiar with many of these myths: Fat makes us fat, contributes to heart disease, and leads to obesity. Saturated fat is bad while vegetable oils are good.

Simply put, these and other fat myths are big fat lies. Thankfully, experts have finally caught on about the importance of fat.


My latest book, Eat Fat, Get Thin, combines the latest research with my own personal experience – based on decades of empirical evidence working with patients – to prove what I’ve long known: The right fats can help you become lean, healthy, and vibrant.

Stop and consider your body contains between 15 and 30 percent fat, and that dietary fat provides an alternative fuel source when glucose isn’t available.

Despite that eating healthy fats satiate you, help you burn fat, and balance numerous fat-regulating hormones, for decades we’ve demonized dietary fat.

Thanks to misguided “experts,” we’ve sheepishly adhered to a low-fat diet that almost always equates into a high-sugar, high-refined carb diet and contributes to insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and many other health issues.

Today almost everyone agrees certain fats like trans-fat are unhealthy. Unfortunately, in the shuffle, all dietary fats – especially saturated fat – got demonized.

That’s unfortunate because high-quality fats provide better cellular fuel. Stop and think about it:  You have more than 100 trillion cells in your body, and every single cell should be constructed of high-quality fat.

When it doesn’t get enough good fat, your body provides signs including:

  • Dry, itchy, scaling or flaking skin
  • Soft, cracked, or brittle nails
  • Hard ear wax
  • Tiny bumps on the back of your arms or torso
  • Achy and stiff joints
  • Memory problems
  • Attention deficit disorder (A.D.D.)
  • Diabetes
  • Weight gain
  • Cancer

Probably the most-studied healthy fats are anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, which research shows improve insulin sensitivity and reduce your risk for metabolic syndrome.

Other research shows these essential fatty acids play a vital role in cell membrane function and brain development. Among their many benefits, optimal levels of omega 3s reduce your risk for heart disease, depression, and inflammatory issues such as rheumatoid arthritis.

When the human diet contained balanced amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, heart disease was almost nonexistent. Today, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the world as consumption of inflammatory, adulterated fatty acids increases.

Omega-3 fatty acids deservedly get respect, but for decades experts erroneously classified saturated fat as harmful. Research that ostracized saturated fat – arguing it was, for instance, a major contributor to heart disease – was later proven flawed.

Among its benefits, saturated fat boosts immunity, prevents cancer, and optimizes cellular receptors (including insulin receptors). Your nervous system demands saturated fat, and over 60 percent of your brain is made up of saturated fat. In fact, a recent article in Psychology Today discusses a study that showed saturated fats could reduce dementia risk by 36 percent.

Newer studies show specific saturated fat-rich foods – keep in mind that no food is entirely saturated fat – like butter, coconut oil, and palm oil are harmless and probably even beneficial.

Among those benefits, coconut oil can significantly reduce abdominal obesity, while traditional saturated fats like butter can protect against cancer, boost immunity, improve thyroid function, and so much more.

In all the saturated-fat hoopla, we’ve missed the real culprit: Inflammatory vegetable oils and other omega 6s. (Proving an exception to every rule, one particular omega 6 – conjugated linoleic acid or CLA – is actually anti-inflammatory and provides fat loss and even anti-cancer benefits.)

Unfortunately, most processed supermarket foods are made with poor-quality omega-6 fats or adulterated fatty acids from refined, processed vegetable oils. They are abundant, very cheap, taste good, and improve texture.

Studies show excessive amounts of these omega 6s increase chronic inflammatory diseases such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), cardiovascular disease, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). By increasing the amount of omega 3s, researchers believe we could reduce many of these chronic inflammatory diseases.

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.