When I think about how I fell prey to mainstream dietary messages and American Heart Association advice that low fat or no fat processed foods are so much better for total health, I cringe. We were told that red meat and saturated fat is bad, eggs cause heart disease via skyrocketing cholesterol, and avocados and coconut would make you fat.
Unfortunately, it was this exact advice that sunk my health in the crapper some 15 years later.
Here’s our reality since adopting a low fat, no fat American diet:
- Diabetes and obesity rates have skyrocketed - these two alone affect almost a billion people worldwide. Cultures that have never had these problems, now do thanks to the international presence of American fast food franchises and other dietary influences.
- 4 out of 10 deaths are attributed to heart disease (this has actually gone up, not down, since doing the low fat, no fat thing).
- Half of America is overweight.
- 30% of Americans now have high blood pressure.
- Brain and neurological issues such as depression, ADHD, and Autism continue to escalate (yes, nutrition has A LOT to do with mental functioning).
- Most Americans are nutrient deficient and full of sugar, which = increasing illness.
So after years of a mostly grain based (because “whole grains” are supposedly so great for you) and occasional meat but mostly tofu abundant diet, my grand prize was insulin resistance and ovarian cysts. Good times.
Now I am back to being a healthy saturated fat and meat eater. And you should see the expression on people's faces when I tell them to eat more Kerrygold butter and pastured bacon! (Because really, butter and bacon do make everything better!)
Five reasons why we need healthy saturated fats:
1. The body was meant to burn fat for fuel. Right now, we are so full of sugar, our body is trying to burn that first. But we eat more sugar than the body can burn, so now the sugar is being stored at fat. Too much “junk in the trunk” anyone?
The more processed foods and simple carbohydrates we eat, the fatter we get. The more meat and healthy fats (avocado, nuts, coconut, olives) we eat, the more satiated we are, the more balanced our blood sugar is, the less cravings we have, the less we eat, and the body can return to burning fat rather than sugar on top of fat. Phew, what a mouthful!
2. A complete Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products. This vitamin is very important for brain health. There’s no vitamin B12 in pasta, pancakes, or fake chicken nuggets.
3. Grass-fed red meats pretty much are the only source of EPA and DHA which protect you from diseases such as cancer, asthma, depression, heart disease, ADHD, and autoimmune disorders.
4. Seafood, animal and organ meats, dairy, and eggs are the main sources for fat soluble vitamins A & K, which protect your immune system, eyesight, fertility and hormone function, and skin.
5. And finally, despite what misguided info has been drilled into our brains over the last couple of decades, saturated fat intake actually prevents risk of heart disease by reducing lipoproteins, particles in your blood that ARE associated with potential heart issues.
It can be challenging to change your mindset about meat and healthy fats after years of happily chowing on fat free pretzels thinking you are doing the body good. It will take some getting used to! But coming from someone who now has balanced blood sugar levels, restored my fertility without taking a “pill”, and is sugar and carb craving free, the proof is in the avocado pudding.
I would love to hear from you! In the comments below tell me:
What’s the single biggest insight you’re taking away?