DR. WENDY CUNNINGHAM: Fats: Toxic vs. healthy

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After decades of being told things like “fat makes you fat,” and fat causes high cholesterol and heart disease, many people seem very confused about the type and amount of fat they should be eating. Eating a low fat diet has not helped Americans lose weight or get healthier, in fact, it has done the opposite.

Instead of focusing on saturated vs unsaturated fat or animal vs vegetable fats, we need to focus on healthy vs toxic fat.

Toxic Fats:

Vegetable oils are toxic fats. The name vegetable oil sounds healthy, but it is very misleading since they don’t even come from vegetables! They are actually plant-based oils that come from grains and seeds like corn, canola, and soybeans. They are full of the refined pro-inflammatory omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) which are delicate and easily damaged. They have been highly refined and chemically altered through industrial processes, making them damaged fats. For example, canola oil is typically extracted and refined using very high heat and petroleum solvents, and then it is degummed, bleached and deodorized (because it stinks!) using even more chemicals. Almost all processed food uses these, even the so-called “healthy” snacks and condiments.

Trans fats (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils) are very similar to plastic. They should not be part of the human diet.

Animal fats from animals full of chemicals, hormones and pesticides. These animals and their fats should be thought of as toxic.

Healthy Fats:

Oils: Olive, avocado, coconut, medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, fish oil.

Foods: Olives, most nuts (almond, pecan, walnut, pistachio, hazelnuts, macadamia) and seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin, hemp), dark chocolate (90 percent cacao), coconut, wild caught fatty fish (salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies)

Animal fats from clean animals that have been grass-fed and organically raised including beef, lard, butter, yogurt, cream, cheese and eggs are a good source of saturated fats. Recent studies prove that saturated fats were never the cause of heart disease and high cholesterol.

Unrefined Omega-6 Polyunsaturated fats are required in very small amounts. Grape seed, sunflower, safflower, walnut and sesame oils should be expeller or cold-pressed because they are so easily damaged in processing.

Forget everything you thought you knew about fats! Focusing on replacing the toxic fats with healthy fats in your diet will help you get healthier and even lose weight.

For more information, contact Dr. Wendy at Haydenhealth@gmail.com.

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