I recently got into a debate with someone I care deeply about-- he was questioning my recommendation that people need to eat more fat. He felt that his diet has "enough fat" and that his drinking skim milk was ok. I strongly disagreed. For those of you who have read my book, you know my mantra: eat fat to lose fat. And, eating fat doesn't only help you lose fat, it helps your brain function better, it helps you age more slowly and most importantly--it helps lower cholesterol!
Yes, eating good healthy fats lowers your cholesterol.
The whole fat-is-bad-for-you and causes heart disease myth stems from a study conducted in the 1950's by Dr. Ancel Keys. Dr. Keys' study compared fat intake and heart disease mortality in six countries. What the study showed was that Americans, who ate the most fat had the highest heart disease mortality rate, while the Japanese, who ate the least amount of fat had the fewest heart disease deaths.
However, statistics for this study actually included 22 countries, and when all 22 were analyzed the link between fat consumption and heart disease did not exist.
So, what does this mean?
It means that like most scientific research-- the results were skewed or biased or misinterpreted.
The fact is that science has shown time and again that the real culprit that contributes to heart disease, high cholesterol and a host of other illnesses is trans fat--the kind of fat found in vegetable oils and margarine.
Translation: not all fats are created equal.
Our bodies need saturated fats (like those found in nuts, meats, eggs and olive oil). And, eating saturated fat does not increase our cholesterol. In fact, we need cholesterol of optimal health. The cells in your body need cholesterol to maintain their function. Depriving your body of cholesterol actually causes your body to hold on to cholesterol and, voila...your cholesterol levels will rise and you will need Lipitor or the like.
To repeat myself, yes, we need saturated fat for optimal health. And, no--cholesterol rich foods do not cause heart disease or high cholesterol.
Saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources (such as meat, dairy, certain oils, and tropical plants like coconut) are imperative to optimal cellular function and hormone regulation. And, eating fat keeps you full longer.
As well, eating healthy saturated fats gives you more energy. In fact, health experts (myself included) recommend diets of at least 50% saturated fat. Yes, 50%! Cut down on carbs and eat more healthy fats.
Now, to be clear-- the healthy fats I like and recommend are the following:
*Eggs (organic and pastured)
*Coconut Oil and milk
*Organic nuts and nut butters
*Butter (made from raw organic grass fed milk)
These foods are good for you and your health! Eat them daily!