There are four vitamins that can only be absorbed by the body in the presence of fat? These vitamins are A, E, D and K. Which means that if we are not getting enough fat in our diet, chances are we are not getting these important vitamins as well.
However, these are also the four vitamins whose dose should be given by your doctor. This is because the body cannot get rid of excess fat soluble vitamins easily. This excess can be dangerous.
All the other vitamins are water soluble. Hence, the body just pees out the excess. Ever noticed how you urine looks that bright yellow almost fluorescent colour after taking a multivitamin tablet?
What is so interesting about vitamins is that scientists are discovering new vitamins each year! The list of vitamins keeps growing longer and longer.
Nutrition science is so fascinating to me because it is always changing. New things are being discovered all the time! We are learning new ways in which the body functions. Just think about the complexity of the body. The number of moving parts, the way in which the blood flows or the brain thinks!
So yes, every few years you will keep hearing new learnings that challenge our old belief systems. We must be comfortable with that fact and be agile enough to change along with it. So the best way to approach our nutrition is like an experiment.
One of the biggest nutritional belief system changes that has taken place is with regards to fats. We have spent the last 20 years demonising fats. Where fats were the believed cause of heart disease. All our products turned into fat free!
The labels of these foods would have a heart logo on them. No fat added, etc. etc. Our cooking oils moved from natural fats to Trans Fats which are artificially hydrogenated. We moved from butter to margarine. As these were believed to be better for the heart. Which we later found out was not true.
Then the prestigious Times magazine published an article saying sorry we got it wrong, butter is good for you! This shook up our belief systems again! It threw us into a tizzy because now we have no idea who to trust! What the hell is going on! The world went crazy.
I was one of them! I was confused and enraged! How can we have so blindly followed one advice only to be told later on that it was wrong. How many other things are the experts going to be wrong about?
So the way I have made peace with these changing nutritional facts is to mix ancient wisdom with whatever the new learnings are. This way I realise that it is a learning process and an experimentation process. And I have made peace with the fact that science will grow and my beliefs will change again. So today we will talk about the new learnings about fat.
For decades we have been told to fear fat. Fat is the enemy because it will give you a heart attack or make you put on weight.
Lets deal with the heart attack conversation first. I don’t want to spend too much time discussing it because I am not a medical doctor. In fact I will soon have a medical doctor on the podcast to discuss fat and heart issues.
New studies are showing that the cholesterol from the food or fat from the food is not what causes the plaque build up in the arteries.
Infact, HDL and LDL are High density or low density Lipoproteins a combination of fat and proteins. Not Fat!
We have been taught that as soon as you eat fat it will emerge in your arteries and clog them up. Not true, the cholesterol there is actually a repair tool of the body. Repairing the damage caused by inflammatory foods, sugar primarily.
As I said we will dive deeper into this another time.
The next big learning is that eating fat does not become fat on the body instantly. The issue is that we refer to fat from food and fat on our bodies with the same name. We call everything fat. We even call ourselves fat!
Fat is a useless word! Especially if you use it as a way to describe yourself. You are not fat, you have excess fat on you. Just changing this one simple style of referring to yourself will increase your self confidence.
Now imagine a world where all the fat we got from food was called Lipids instead of fat. I fry my egg in a lipid called ghee. Olive oil is a lipid I put on my salad.
We have to break the negative associations with fats.
Fats are an essential building block for the body. Our brain is made from fat, our nerves and cell walls are made from fat. Fat is also used as insulation for our internal organs. Fat is where the body stores toxins it can’t get rid of. If you don’t eat enough of the right kinds of fats the body function at it’s best.
So we have to give our body good quality fats to use. The best fat sources are the natural ones that require no processing. Nuts like almonds, pistachios, animal fat, ghee, butter, olive oil, MCT oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, mustard oil and if you are fancy Avocado oil.
Most other oils can be inflammatory in nature, groundnut oil, soya bean oil, rice bran oil, safflower oil, margarine and other hydrogenated oils.
After my own extensive research of talking to experts in the field, I have arrived at the list mentioned. As always some oils will come as shockers, like most people are shocked that groundnut oil is inflammatory in nature.
As your habit coach I want you to stop fearing fats. Fats are not the problem. It is the mix of fats and carbohydrates that is the problem. So when you put the butter on a slice of toast, the butter is good for you, the toast is what is bad and inflammatory.
So I want to leave you with 3 guiding principles.
Never mix your carbohydrates and fats. Which is why cakes and biscuits are so bad.
Stop buying low fat products, they are useless
Make sure you are eating nuts or some form of olive oil everyday. This is easy if you eat a salad everyday by default! Check out the salad a day podcast!
So embrace fats, they are not the enemy, our brains are made of fat for heaven’s sake!
The only word of caution is that there is one rare genetic mutation that causes you to increase the plaque in the arteries very quickly if you eat a lot of fat. So do routine blood tests and keep your doctor informed.
Humans have been eating fat for centuries and fat was always the most prized part of the meal. So let’s embrace our ancient wisdom and begin to fall in love with fat again!