February 2009 Newsletter
February 1, 2009 By Billy
Fat in the diet is essential for life. It is vital to many of the body’s functions. Fat is needed in order for the body to absorb many nutrients, commonly referrerd to as fat-soluble nutrients. Fats are needed for healthy joints and strong connective tissues. Consider that the human brain is 80% fat; this alone makes proper fats in the diet critical. Most importantly, fat is needed for fueling the body and balancing the your metabolism.
However fat has also been named the “culprit” of obesity and other diseases. This certainly can be true, but truly it’s the lack of understanding fats that is the real problem. As a general rule, excessive cooked fats tend to the primary cause of excessive weight gain. This is because most fats break down under high temperatures. Even at room temperature, fats break down over time, and heating the fat simply accelerates this process. Some fats are more heat stable than others, thus making them more suitable for cooking, and I’ll discuss that later. As a simple law of nature, when any fat is heated whether nut, seed, meat or pure oil, electrons break off of atoms that are referred to as free radicals. We ingest free radicals constantly as they are produced from many sources other than food including direct sunlight, environmental toxicity, and even stress. Our bodies can deal with these free radicals via antioxidants in the diet, fresh air, pure water, and rest. However in general we consume too many fats containing these free radicals. The excess of free radicals in the body is costly to one’s health in several ways. One, it suppresses the immune system. It can also be the cause of mutated cell growth leading to cancer. But mainly, free radicals suppress the body’s thyroid function, which is a primary cause of obesity.
We can easily reduce our intake of these free radicals by being more discerning of what kinds of fats we consume. The basic principle is to add more raw fats to the diet thus consuming less cooked fats. Examples: avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and cold-pressed oils. It is especially important to reduce intake of hydrogenated vegetable oils. Food production companies selling products at conventional grocery stores use this oil in nearly everything as a cheap butter alternative. The hydrogenated vegetable oil is produced by heating the oil to 700 degrees and then mixing it with hydrogen gas. The oil becoming unstable at such high temperatures allows the hydrogen atoms to bond with the oil. The oil now becomes a solid at room temperature like butter. Any time we consume hydrogenated oils we are essentially ingesting buckets of health compromising free radicals. Yuck! Become a food label reader and protect yourself from consuming this low grade product.
The best oils are cold-pressed organic oils. Cold-pressing means what the name implies; the oil is extracted under cool temperatures, thus protecting the potential health creating quality of the oil. In general the healthiest oils are oils high in essential fatty acids. This is fatty molecule in the oil that literally dissolves excess saturated fat out of the body. Some of these oils include: olive, flax, hemp, and almond. These oils are not at all heat stable and quickly lose their healthy qualities once heated that feels too hot to touch with your hand. And since all oils break down slowly even at room temperature, no oil has a shelf life longer than a few months. After such time the oil will be rancid (although undetectable by smell) and should be thrown away.
Coconut oil and ghee (also known as clarified butter) are the two exceptions to the heating rule. These oils are far more heat stable than all others making them the best choice for any cooking. Ghee is a pure oil made from butter that is completely heat stable making it perfect for stir frying. And it contains much less cholesterol than butter. Ghee is generally available at any natural food store. Coconut oil deserves special attention as well as a place in
every kitchen pantry. In addition to being very heat stable, it has a tremendous healing effect on the Thyroid. If you suspect that you are overweight due in part to a suppressed Thyroid, then try taking raw, cold pressed, organic coconut oil. It may sound counter-intuitive that a saturated fat such as coconut can help with weight loss, so try it for yourself! Take 1-2 tablespoons daily in a smoothie or by melting the oil into a warm bowl of food. It also lubricates the joints, helps the bowels move, and is an anti-inflammatory to all the body’s tissues.
Implement more raw, cold-pressed, organic oils in place of cooked oils and fats and feel the amazing difference for yourself!