CHOLESTEROL, STATINS, SATURATED FATS & SUGAR….
The New Thinking! 2014
It’s not so new actually. For several years nutritional doctors have come to realise that cholesterol is not as bad as previously believed. A raised cholesterol can occur for several reasons – for example – a fatty liver triggered by ingesting excessive fructose (from too many cakes, concentrated fruit juices, high corn syrup intake etc), plus a low vitamin D status and low essential fatty acid intake. Most heart attacks tend to occur in people with either low or normal cholesterol levels. High LDL (which has always been considered the BAD cholesterol) in fact in the majority of cases only becomes a problem if it Oxidizes. When you peel an apple and leave it exposed to the air, it turns brown, it oxidizes. A similar process happens to LDL cholesterol within the body if you don’t eat a balanced diet that includes fat soluble anti-oxidants such as full spectrum vitamin E which helps prevent the oxidation process. Therefore To make sure you stay healthier, include more wheat germ, avocados, and if you are not nut sensitive, then also eat small amounts of Brazil nuts, Walnuts, plus plenty of millet, buckwheat and quinoa in your diet. Otherwise, you could take approximately 300iu of full spectrum vitamin E three or four times per week. But, if you are taking any blood thinning medication such as Warfarin, then do not take Vitamin E supplements without consulting your doctor- as natural source full spectrum vitamin E acts as a natural blood thinner.
STATINS. Meanwhile, millions of people now take statins to lower their overall cholesterol levels, but finally forward thinking doctors are realising that a high LDL is not the whole story. Those on Statins feel the drugs give them a licence to eat saturated fats such as butter, high fat milk chocolate and animal fats with impunity – and some of the media would now have you believe that saturated fats are now the good guys and that its only refined sugars and white foods that are the truly bad guys. YES white foods ARE a major cause of many health problems because all excess sugars that are not burned off during exercise including fructose (click here for my Sugars help sheet) will convert to fat in the body – and can end up deposited around your internal organs such as your liver, heart and kidneys – hence why your waist measurements are an important health marker.
ALSO, every cell wall in your body is made from fat, but for good health it needs to be the right type of fat! If you eat dairy such as butter for example – it contains several types of fat including Omega 3 and 6 essential fats, especially if the cows have been grass fed. Your body doesn’t require the saturated fat component of the butter per se, for example – it will selectively use the essential fats first, mainly the Omega 3’s to build your cell walls. However, if your diet is high is saturated fats or trans, hydrogenated fats from animal products, mass produced pies, cakes, margarines etc – THEN- any surplus of saturated fats will be used to make cell walls, which in the long term causes cell walls and in turn your arteries, to harden – which I’m sure you all know is linked to heart disease and strokes. Yes, butter is preferable to margarines, but, in moderation. The best ‘fat’ for spreads and cooking would be organic raw coconut butter/oil – which does not raise LDL and is highly beneficial to your cells and your brain.
The take home message here is to eat more foods that are higher in essential fats such as oily fish, avocados, flax seeds and oil, walnuts and walnut oil, krill oil, chia seeds, hemp seeds and raw, organic coconut butter/ oil.
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT on Essential Fats.
Can too Much Omega 6 fats harm you?
I have often mentioned the importance of Essential fats, the Omega 3’s, 6’s and 9’s – but most of you may not be aware that although a certain amount of Omega 6 fats found in nuts, seeds, grains, beans and animal products are needed for proper growth, nerve and immune function, BUT – too much Omega 6’s can trigger inflammation which is now known to be one of the causes of both cancer and heart disease (the two biggest killers in the Western World). In fact the major component of arterial plaque is made from polyunsaturated fats (such as those found in corn and soya oils), not saturated fat!
Our ancestors ate wild game, green leaves, nuts, seeds and fish. Their diet was high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Things started to change over the last 100 years and especially the last 50 years. We now consume far too muchOmega 6 fats and this is having a detrimental effect on our health.
This is because the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is imbalanced. A healthy ratio should be around 2:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3, yet the average person in the West now consumes up to 25 times more Omega 6 fats than the healthier Omega 3 fats. Put simply we are eating far too much Omega 6 at the expense of Omega 3, which is triggering a host of health problems.
It has been estimated that the average person in the Western World eats approximately 70 pounds of polyunsaturated vegetable oils every year. Vegetable oils are very high in Omega 6; the worst offenders being corn oil, mass produced sunflower oil, safflower oil and soya bean oil. Other oils to avoid are canola oil, grape seed, poppy seed, cottonseed, peanut and all margarines. These oils oxidize easily in the body causing more inflammation and because Omega 6 and Omega 3 both compete for the same enzyme process in the body—it leads to a deficiency in synthesizing the anti-inflammatory and brain-building Omega 3’s. Also, meat and chicken are these days commonly grain-fed so they are virtually devoid of Omega 3 fatty acids and unless grass fed, will have high Omega 6 profiles. Also the Omega 3 in farmed fish is displaced by Omega 6.
Foods that are high in Omega 6 are likely to be processed foods (made with polyunsaturated oils) for example cookies, chips, snack foods, cakes, salad dressings as well as foods such as peanuts and other nut butters such as almond and cashew. Remember we NEED some Omega 6’s, but we urgently need to get the ratio more balanced.
This can be done by eating more Omega 3-rich foods. Direct sources include oily fish such as salmon ( try and buy wild salmon), sardines, swordfish, mackerel, scallops and tuna plus Krill oil (not if you are allergic to shellfish) and cod liver oil. Indirect sources (which need to be converted in the body) include flax seed oil and chia seeds.
If you eat meat, make sure it is organic grass-fed and your eggs are from an organic free-range source. Fish should as much as possible be wild-caught and not farmed. At all costs avoid eating too much red meat cooked at high temperatures.
As much as possible eliminate all mass produced vegetable cooking oils and only use raw organic coconut oil, ghee (clarified butter) or butter if frying.
Good fats are obtained from coconut oil, olive oil and avocados. Even though avocados are high in Omega 6, they contain health-promoting medium-chained fatty acids which are great for your heart and will help to raise HDL the ‘good cholesterol. Both Hemp oil and walnut oil can also be taken. Even though they are higher in omega 6, they both contain good amounts of Omega 3 and their ratios are not that high being 3:1 and 4:1 respectively in favour of Omega 6.