So is fat ok now?

So is fat ok now?

Salmon.There has been a lot of new information coming out lately regarding fat and sugar. First fat was the big nasty and everyone steered clear of any fat, often favouring low fat or “lite” versions of food believing we were doing the right thing for our arteries. Now it seems this was the wrong thing to do as these products generally have had the fat content replaced by extra sugar. And sugar is now the new demon.

Latest findings show that sugar is the thing doing us the most damage these days because it is so readily converted to fat for storage within the body, including within the liver. It is pro-inflammatory and causes oxidation which accelerates damage and aging throughout the body. So, does this mean we can now eat all the fat we like? After all, it has been shown that populations with some of the highest fat intakes also exhibit some of the lowest incidence of cardiovascular disease.

Well, when it comes to cardiovascular risk, yes, eating fat is fine. However there are a couple of guidelines which we’ll look at later.

Bottle of olive oilSo what is the interaction between sugar and fat in the blood? Sugar (including that readily obtained by the body from breaking down excessive carbohydrates) can cause oxidative damage to the fats circulating in our blood. This is the time when high blood fat and cholesterol levels become a problem. When blood fats are in good condition and circulating in healthy, undamaged blood vessels, they are protective. It is only when inflammatory damage has occurred (usually from excessive sugars), that plaques can form, leading to heart attack and stroke.

The other interesting thing is that excessive carbohydrate and sugar intake is more likely to cause an increase in your blood fats than eating dietary fat. This is because one of the ways the body deals with excessive carbohydrates is for the liver to convert it into fatty acids.

So don’t feel guilty about including fat in your diet. Stop buying low fat versions of food just because you think it’s best for your health. Simply follow these 5 guidelines:

  1. Trans fat intake is the only fat shown to have a significantly detrimental effect on cardiovascular risk. This should be avoided wherever possible. (See below for a list of the different types of fats and their main sources)
  2. Omega-3 has been shown to have a significantly protective impact on cardiovascular risk and should be included wherever possible.
  3. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 intake is 2:1. The average dietary intake is closer to 20:1 and this imbalance promotes its own inflammation. So enjoy eating sources of omega-6 but make sure you are also eating good sources of omega-3.
  4. Only if you are already suffering insulin resistance and inflammatory damage should you moderate saturated fat intake, taking care not to subsequently increase your carbohydrate intake to compensate.
  5. Fat is an essential nutrient and generally only detrimental when consumed in excess, along with excessive calories overall, inadequate exercise and inadequate fruit and vegetable intake.

The Types of Fat:

 

  1. Saturated fat – found in meat, dairy, eggs and coconut oil
  2. Monounsaturated fat – found in meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil and canola oil.
  3. Polyunsaturated fat:
    1. Omega-6 – Found in nuts, seeds, poultry, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, sesame and soybean oils.
    2. Omega-3 – Grassfed beef, dairy, seafood, fish, flaxseeds, fish oil and flaxseed oil.
  4. Trans fats – partially dehydrogenated fats, deep fried foods, commercial cakes, biscuits and pastries.

The brilliant thing is that most natural foods contain a variety of types of fat, not just saturated or unsaturated, and they are generally in the best ratio for your body’s health. What’s more, natural, unprocessed foods are also packed with all the antioxidants needed to offset any oxidative damage that may occur to the fats they contain. This is the beauty of nature.

 

First posted by Rebecca Steven Naturopath. Rebecca is the Naturopath at The Centre of Wellbeing in Knoxfield. If you would like a consultation with Rebecca call 03 9763 0033.

Do you feel not quite right???

Have you ever felt “not quite right” or suffered vague, non-specific symptoms, but been told by your doctor they can’t find anything wrong? Until doctors can name your illness, they can’t give you their matching treatment.  However, in the meantime your body may be busily heading in the direction of an illness. Wouldn’t it be better to stop that process in its track now before it becomes such a big problem that it can be medically ‘named’?

When your doctor orders blood tests, they are generally only interested when your test results fall outside of their reference ranges.

 

Reference ranges graphic

 

Optimal health is actually represented by a much narrower area within these reference ranges. Lets refer to this as the ‘gold zone’.  Often this is in the centre, although depending on what is being tested, this may fall towards the top or bottom end of the reference range. This ‘gold zone’ also varies from individual to individual according to things such as your gender, age and genetics. Your Naturopath can advise you where the optimal ‘gold zone’ should fall for you.

When your results are in the red zone, well outside of the reference range, this is when your doctor is fantastic at identifying a disease process and giving you potentially life saving treatment.

The in between, blue zone, which is still within the reference range but not indicating optimal health, is where your Naturopath can work their magic. It is the zone where you don’t feel yourself and know something is not quite right. This is generally your body’s way of letting you know that something is either lacking or out of balance and now is the time to right that before it progresses into something more serious.

So next time you get the all clear from the doctor but you still feel that something is not quite right, take your results to a Naturopath and find out what it feels like to get back into the ‘gold zone’ of optimal health.

 

Rebecca Stevens is the Naturopath at the Centre of Wellbeing. Please do not hesitate to contact Rebecca for more information or to make an appointment for a consultation. 03 9763 0033.