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healthy fat, saturated fat, good vs bad fat, holistic, naturopathic medicine, charlotte nc

The Truth about Fat

Many people are still under the assumption that a low-fat diet is best for your health.  This belief is false.  Our bodies require fat to function, but not all fat is created equal.  Fat provides the body with the proper nutrients for hormone development, cell growth and energy production.  Proper nutrition can be achieved through a diet rich in fats, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.  Fat itself is an essential nutrient.  Our bodies need the appropriate ratio of nutrients; this includes fats, protein and carbohydrates.

Fats are composed of building blocks called fatty acids.  These fatty acids fall into two categories: saturated,  and unsaturated fats (further divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated).  There is also a fourth type of fat known as trans fat.

Saturated vs. Unsaturated Fat

Unsaturated fats are mostly liquid at room temperature and come primarily from plant-based foods.  Unsaturated fats protect against heart disease as they do not raise blood cholesterol levels.

Unsaturated fats can be divided further into two groups: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.  Examples of monounsaturated fats are olive oil and almond oil.  These are safe for consumption but due to their chemical makeup, they should not be heated to high temperatures.  Polyunsaturated fats are those consisting of omega-3s and omega-6s such as walnuts, green vegetables and fish.

Saturated fats are derived from animal-based products and are solid at room temperature.  Saturated fats leave little room for free-radicals to intervene, thus these require minimal processing, which in turn makes them very good for our consumption.  The most known examples of good saturated fats are butter and coconut oil.

The Most Harmful Fats: Trans Fat

Trans fats are the fats most harmful to cholesterol levels and provide the most increased risk to heart disease.   As discussed, unsaturated fats are found liquid and saturated fats are found solid.  Trans fats are naturally liquid oils but become solid at room temperature by the addition of hydrogen.  This process is known as hydrogenation.

Hydrogenation turns relatively healthy oils into solids for the purpose of extending a food’s shelf-life.  Indicators of trans fats are foods with ingredients containing words such as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated.  The most well known hydrogenated fat is margarine or shortening.

You should avoid refined oils such as canola oil or other vegetable oils as these go through extreme processing.  Also avoid “junk food” and fast food or anything that is pre-packaged such as cookies, muffins, pies and cakes as these often contain high amounts of trans fats.  Most fast food chains use shortening and hydrogenated oils for frying food because they are inexpensive, readily available and they do not go rancid.

Avoid foods advertised as “fat-free” or “low fat”.   These foods are usually chemically modified and may have harmful effects.  When buying meat, chose the fattier cuts as this is more naturally occurring fat.  For example, get ground beef with 20% or 30% fat instead of 3% or 5% percent.  The best fats are natural and include real butter (with no oils added), olive oil and coconut oil.

Good Fat vs. Bad Fat

It is not always easy to differentiate between a healthy fat or an unhealthy fat.  Some examples of good fats and bad fats are listed below:

Good fats – eggs, coconut oil, avocados, olive oil, nuts, butter, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids

Bad fats – soybean oil, margarine, butter substitutes, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, flax oil


Recipes Using Good Fat

Salmon with Mango and Avocado Salsa Lettuce Wraps

FOR THE SALMON

1-pound fresh salmon fillet or 4 (4-ounce) fillets
2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1 fresh lime, halved
1/4 chili powder
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

FOR THE WRAP

Green leaf lettuce (butterhead lettuce or large spinach leaves work well)

FOR THE MANGO AVOCADO SALSA

1 mango, pitted, peeled and diced
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
1/3-cup finely diced red bell pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 1 whole lime
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Transfer salmon to the prepared baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze lime juice over the entire fillet.  Rub the chili powder into the salmon, and season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through.  Remove from oven and let stand couple minutes.

To prepare the salsa, combine diced mango, avocado, pepper, cilantro, lime, oil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl; toss to combine.

To finish, wrap salmon and salsa into lettuce wraps.

Baked Egg in Avocado

Avocado
2 eggs
Sea salt & pepper
Seasoning, optional

Instructions:

Cut avocado in half, remove pit.  If necessary scoop out some avocado to make room for egg.  Crack eggs into a bowl.  Place yolk and some egg white (with a spoon) into the avocado’s hole.  Place in muffin pan or similar so the avocado will stand up and not spill egg.  Bake in oven on 425 for 13-15 minutes.

Healthy Pesto Spread

3 cups basil (moderately packed)
juice of one small-medium lemon
1/3 c walnuts or pine nuts
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
3/4 tsp himalayan salt
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

In a food processor, combine all ingredients except the olive oil.  Pulse until evenly chopped.  Slowly add in the olive oil through the top of the processor.  Pulse until evenly combined, but not completely smooth.

Resources:

http:// braveforpaleo.com

http:// diethood.com

http:// dontwastethecrumbs.com

https:// draxe.com

http:// drhyman.com

http:// goodinthesimple.com

http:// health.harvard.edu

unhealthy eating, healthy eating, food additives, natural health charlotte, naturopathic doctor, charlotte nc, natural health clinic in charlotte, nc

The 12 Worst Food Additives to Avoid

When you eat processed, pre-packaged foods, you can guarantee that you’re also consuming a large amount of food additives.

Additives are often used in food processing to slow spoilage, prevent fats and oils from going bad, prevent fruits from turning brown, to improve taste, texture and appearance and even to enrich the food with synthetic man-made vitamins and minerals to replace the natural ones that were lost during processing.

Unfortunately, many of these additives have been linked to health concerns, while others have been granted “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) status without any approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

12 Worst Food Additives to Avoid

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a great resource to help you sort through the questionable compounds on food labels, as well as many other products we use on a daily basis such as shampoo, toothpaste, etc.

Please visit their website for more information and receive up-to-date facts on your favorite foods and products: http://www.ewg.org/

 

  1. Nitrites and Nitrates

Sodium nitrite is a synthetic preservative added to meats like hot dogs and deli meat to help them maintain their color. In the presence of heat, chemical reactions occur which can damage cells and are very harmful to your health. Nitrates are present in many vegetables, which has led to some confusion. Nitrites and nitrates are not naturally bad for you, they can actually help to lower blood pressure and have anti-inflammatory effects. It is when nitrates are heated and form nitrosamines that they become dangerous.

  1. Potassium Bromate

Nearly every time you eat commercial breads you are consuming bromide, an endocrine-disrupting chemical commonly used in flours. Commercial baking companies use it because it makes the dough more elastic. Studies have linked potassium bromate to kidney and nervous system damage, thyroid problems, gastrointestinal discomfort, and cancer. It is banned for food use in Canada, China, and the European Union (EU).

  1. Propyl Paraben

Propyl paraben is an endocrine-disrupting chemical used as a food preservative. It’s commonly found in tortillas, muffins, and food dyes and may also contaminate foods via packaging. Research has shown that 91 percent of Americans have propyl paraben in their urine, and is found in approximately half of beverages, dairy products, meat, and vegetables. It has been found to accelerate the growth of breast cancer cells, impair fertility in women, and reduce sperm counts and testosterone levels.

  1. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a preservative that affects the neurological system of your brain, alters behavior, and has the potential to cause cancer. It can be found in breakfast cereal, nut mixes, chewing gum, butter spread, meat, dehydrated potatoes, popcorn, chips, and beer, just to name a few. BHA may also trigger allergic reactions and hyperactivity. It is banned from infant foods in the UK and is banned from use in all foods in certain parts of the EU and Japan. In the US, the FDA considers BHA to be a GRAS (“Generally Recognized as Safe”) additive.

  1. Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)

BHT is chemically similar to BHA and the two preservatives are often used together. While BHT is not considered a carcinogen like BHA, it has been linked to tumor development and thyroid changes in animals. In the US, BHT is given GRAS status.

  1. Propyl Gallate

Propyl gallate is a preservative used to prevent fats and oils from going bad. It’s often found in sausage, frozen pizza, and other processed foods that contain edible fats. Propyl gallate is associated with tumors, including rare brain tumors, in rats.

  1. Theobromine

Theobromine is an alkaloid found in chocolate. It has effects similar to caffeine, and is the reason why chocolate is so highly toxic to dogs. Theobromine was granted GRAS status, without the approval of the FDA.

  1. Natural and Artificial Flavors

What’s particularly alarming when you see a word like “artificial flavor” or even “natural flavor” on an ingredients label is that there’s no way to know what it actually means. For example, strawberry artificial flavor can contain nearly 50 different chemical ingredients. Most people assume that a natural flavor describes something natural like strawberries, garlic, or chili pepper used to naturally season food. In reality, most natural flavors are created in a laboratory, just like artificial flavors. In the end, natural flavors often have little resemblance to the natural product they came from. One exception is certified organic natural flavors, which must meet more stringent guidelines and cannot contain synthetic or genetically engineered ingredients.

  1. Artificial Colors

Every year, food manufacturers pour 15 million pounds of artificial food dyes into US foods. Nine of the food dyes currently approved for use in the US are linked to health issues ranging from cancer and hyperactivity to allergy-like reactions. For example, Red # 40, which is the most widely used dye, may accelerate the appearance of tumors in mice, while also triggering hyperactivity in children. Blue # 2, used in candies, beverages, pet foods and more, was linked to brain tumors. And Yellow # 5, used in baked goods, candies, cereal, and more, may not only be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals, but it’s also linked to hyperactivity, hypersensitivity, and other behavioral effects in children. Even the innocuous-sounding caramel color, which is widely used in brown soft drinks, may cause cancer.

  1. Diacetyl

The artificial flavoring called diacetyl is often used as a butter flavoring in microwave popcorn. It’s also used to flavor dairy products, including yogurt and cheese, and exists in some “brown flavorings,” including maple, strawberry, and raspberry flavors. Research shows diacetyl has several concerning properties for brain health, respiratory damage, inflammation and may trigger Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Phosphates

Phosphates are added to more than 20,000 products, including fast food, baked goods, and processed meats. Phosphates have been linked to some concerning health conditions, including heart disease.

  1. Aluminum Additives

Sodium aluminum phosphate, sodium aluminum sulfate, and many other aluminum additives are found in processed foods as stabilizers. This metal can accumulate and persist in your body, especially in your bones, and animal studies show aluminum may cause neurological effects, including changes in behavior, learning, and motor response.

If you are concerned with what you’re eating or you think it may be time for a detoxification to rid your body of harmful food additives, call The Lifestyle Clinic (704-334-3761) for Natural Healthcare in Charlotte, NC to schedule a free phone consult with Dr. Parkes!

By: Dr. Kivette Parkes, Naturopathic Doctor

 

Resources

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/11/26/12-worst-food-additives.aspx

http://www.ewg.org/