THE SKINNY ON FAT
A major heist occurred in the U.S. in 1965. It didn’t involve guns and grappling hooks or a 3D schematic of a secure building. It happened on paper when the sugar industry wrote up the findings of their “research” that downplayed sugar’s link to obesity and heart disease. Did you catch those sarcastic quotations around “Research?”
It was recently uncovered that the sugar industry paid for studies that took the focus off of sugar’s connection to diet-related health issues (1). The problem was, something had to take the blame for the damage sugar was causing, and FAT fit the bill. How easy must it have been to sell that argument? “You don’t want to be fat, right? Then don’t eat fat.” Suddenly, fat was being stripped out of foods and a giant, shiny label started appearing in its place: FAT FREE or REDUCED FAT (2). Words that make Ketoer’s cringe. But do you know what happens when you take the naturally occurring fat out of food? It takes every ounce of flavor with it. The world would have been left discussing the nuanced cardboard-esque flavors of their favorite dishes if not for the mighty sugar industry who stepped in and said, “sweet can add some flavor back in!” Thus, sugar became the new normal while fat was told to sit in a dark corner and think about what it had done. Now, over half a century later, we can see the side-effects that this decision has wrought. The nation is facing an actual epidemic of obesity and heart health (3)… that’s right, epidemic, a word usually reserved for diseases with ‘flesh-eating’ in their description.
FAT IS LIFE
Yes, ‘Fat is Life’ would make for a cool shirt, but fat is literally your life, especially on Keto. Fat creates ketones that make for a more efficient form of energy. Carbs create glucose which are such simple molecules that they burn off as energy too easily. This creates spikes and crashes of energy. Fat energy is more consistent. Fat is the delivery system for vitamins throughout your body (4). Nothing else can fill this role.
Fat makes your internal computer functional: Myelin is the material that coats your nerves and allows for the transmission of electrical signals from the brain (5). Want to take a guess the major component of myelin is?
It ain’t sugar.
Fat is the beautifier from within: Hair and skin owe their healthy shine and soft touch to the fat you eat (6, 7). Without fat, skin loses its glow and hair gets brittle.
You need fat.
HOW TO EAT FAT
Fats come in many forms:
Unsaturated fats - (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated) including fish, avocados, nuts, and many oils. The Keto gold standards. This group is where the Omegas live.
Saturated fats – Basically those fats that solidify at room temperature like dairy items, meat fat, and tropical oils such as coconut and palm. Things that belong on every Ketoer’s shopping list.
There is always an evil twin to ruin the party (in this case triplet). Trans fats – a trans fat is a frankenfat, a good fat that was hydrogenated to make it last longer on a shelf (11). Beware of any use of the word hydrogenated and avoid these foods at all costs. On keto you read your nutrition labels and hydrogenated is one of the words that make scrutiny of the label so important; it’s a camouflage word that hides what it really is, trans fat. In 2013, the FDA classified trans fats as “not generally recognized as safe” (12) and as of June 2108 they are being banned. But banned doesn’t mean zero trans fats, it means acceptable levels. Basically, each serving is allowed to have .5 grams. So stay sharp, Ketoers, and read your nutrition labels for the words hydrogenated and trans fat.
WE’RE SORRY, FAT
It’s time we stop treating fat as the F word, and beg fat to take us back. Let’s start showing fat some thanks for making our skin glow and for helping our brains…uh…do… good… stuff (13).
Uh-oh, time to eat some fat.
(1) O’Connor, A. (2016, September 12). How the sugar industry shifted blame to fat. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/well/eat/how-the-sugar-industry-shifted-blame-to-fat.html.
(2) Berge, L., & F, A. (2008). How the ideology of low fat conquered america. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 63(2), 139–177. https://doi.org/10.1093/jhmas/jrn001.
(3) Mitchell, N., Catenacci, V., Wyatt, H. R., & Hill, J. O. (2011). Obesity: overview of an epidemic. The Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 34(4), 717–732. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psc.2011.08.005.
(4) Westman, E. C., Mavropoulos, J., Yancy, W. S., & Volek, J. S. (2003). A review of low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets. Current Atherosclerosis Reports, 5(6), 476–483. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14525681.
(5) Morell, P., & Quarles, R. H. (1999). The myelin sheath. Basic Neurochemistry: Molecular, Cellular and Medical Aspects. 6th Edition. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK27954/.
(6) McCusker, M. M., & Grant-Kels, J. M. (2010). Healing fats of the skin: the structural and immunologic roles of the ω-6 and ω-3 fatty acids. Clinics in Dermatology, 28(4), 440–451. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clindermatol.2010.03.020.
(7) Nutrition and hair health | the trichological society. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2018, from https://www.hairscientists.org/hair-and-scalp-conditions/nutrition-and-hair-health.
(8) 17 science-based benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. (2017, June 18). Retrieved September 26, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3
(9) Omega-6 fatty acids | michigan medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2018, from https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-10007437
(10) Fotuhi, M., Mohassel, P., & Yaffe, K. (2009). Fish consumption, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and risk of cognitive decline or Alzheimer disease: a complex association. Nature Clinical Practice. Neurology, 5(3), 140–152. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncpneuro1044.
(11) Beware of frankenfats: they’re lurking in your food. (2016, October 28). Retrieved September 26, 2018, from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/beware-of-frankenfats-theyre-lurking-in-your-food-infographic/
(12) Nutrition, C. for F. S. and A. (n.d.). Food additives & ingredients - final determination regarding partially hydrogenated oils (Removing trans fat) [WebContent]. Retrieved September 26, 2018, from https://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/FoodAdditivesIngredients/ucm449162.htm.
(13) Chianese, R., Coccurello, R., Viggiano, A., Scafuro, M., Fiore, M., Coppola, G., … Meccariello, R. (2018). Impact of dietary fats on brain functions. Current Neuropharmacology, 16(7), 1059–1085. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570159X15666171017102547.