Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Big Fat Lie

The Big Myth: Fats are Bad...

When I was in college, I studied Exercise Physiology and Nutrition. During these four years, it was constantly pounded into my head that fats are bad. I was taught to teach my clients to eat 'fat-free' foods. In my life, I ate fat-free yogurt and fake butter. 

We learned the guidelines of cholesterol, and what a doctor considers to be too high. I was told that if a person's cholesterol level was too high, then they would be at an increased risk of heart disease. Even at that time, I questioned what they were teaching me. I asked many college professors why the incidence of heart disease was increasing every year while the guidelines of cholesterol levels were decreasing.  They could never explain this to me. More than ever doctors were/are putting their patients on cholesterol medications and successfully lowering their cholesterol, and yet the rates of heart attacks and heart disease were/are ever increasing. This didn't make sense to me. As a matter of fact, it still doesn't. 

It wasn't until my Naturopathic training that I began to learn the truth about fat. While studying basic anatomy, we learned that the liver actually produces cholesterol from fats that we consume from the diet. These fats come from eggs, meat, dairy and other fatty sources. 

The body uses this cholesterol for MANY different processes. Cholesterol is needed for cell walls, membranes, the production of hormones, vitamin D, the myelin sheath of the nerves, the bile acids that help to digest fat, and much more. 


What happens if you don't have enough cholesterol? Well... your body cannot produce those very necessary things listed above. This can look like depression, headaches, multiple sclerosis (since cholesterol is what protects our nerves), Parkinson's disease, and many many others. We wouldn't be able to bear children and we wouldn't be able to concentrate or focus. Since cholesterol also protects our body from toxins like heavy metals (mercury, aluminum, etc), these metals would wreck havoc in our body (sometimes causing some of the above mentioned diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, etc).

This is a very serious thing folks. Good fats are so important to incorporate into our lives so we can live with abundant health. Some of the healthiest cultures consumed animal fat, high fat raw dairy products, and real butter. Everyone should be eating good fats, especially pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding their baby (who especially need fat to build their brain and nerves). 

So, you might ask, what is the truth behind cholesterol's link to heart disease?

They do find cholesterol build-up in artery walls. Yes. However, in order for cholesterol to build-up, your arteries must be damaged. Cholesterol is simply going there to do the patch up work (which might go way out of hand if you are eating a horrible diet). 

Your arteries become damaged by many different toxins in the environment. One of the biggest is cigarette smoke and environmental pollutants. Another cause of damaged arteries is CHLORINE. If you live in a city, you are getting this from your drinking water. Our bodies also absorb this from swimming pools. A third cause is stress/anxiety/emotions. 

A healthy lifestyle is very important to maintain the health of your body. This includes incorporating good fats into the diet like real butter, coconut oil, fish oils and others.When shopping, looking for organic butter where the cows have been grass fed (or even better if you know a local farm that sells it). Buy organic cold-pressed coconut oil and use it for cooking and salad dressings. Eat a healthy diet that has plenty of fruits and vegetables, and exercise! Finally, minimize the stress in your life. I don't think I can stress this enough... stress=illness!

Feed your brain, feed your nerves, and feed your body.
   And, more importantly, throw out the big fat lie that fats are bad!  

**If you are concerned about your cholesterol, please seek the help of a qualified Naturopath or practitioner.**


Svea is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. 

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