What impact has low-fat eating had on women's health?
How many of you were a kid in the late 70's/1980's and grew up eating low fat everything? Low fat milk, cheese, yoghurt, no avocados, no chicken skin, no eggs..... does this sound familiar to anyone else? Fat is a macronutrient essential for human development since our first walking day on Earth. Why after 2.3 million years would we all of a sudden remove it from our diet? That answer lies unfortunately in the "science" and reporting in the 1960's. The more important question to ask however is what has this done to our health and how can we turn this around?
Removing dietary fat has been described as possibly the worst nutritional advice in human history by physicians and researchers. Not only was it recommended to permanently live low fat/high carb, but the case of trying to lose a few kilos, fat was almost TOTALLY restricted. Yet looking physiologically and biochemically; fat is not making us fat.....
Dietary fat is super important for brain function, creating and maintaining almost every cell in our body, storage of vitamins, energy and it is ESSENTIAL to make our steroidal hormones.
Steroidal hormones are made in "steroid glands" such as the adrenal glands, ovaries, testes and the placenta in pregnancy.
Hormones produced include testosterone, oestrogen, progesterone and cortisol. We need them to maintain pregnancy, control our response to stress, regulate our salt and water excretion by kidneys, regulate our sexual function and they influence our response to inflammation.
How could this look today for a woman who has grown up low fat:
* hormonal issues of any type - changes in testosterone, progesterone and oestrogen
* difficulty conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy
* reduction in tolerance to stress - high likelihood of "burnout" or adrenal fatigue - exhaustion
* increase in inflammation in gut, vessels and organs
* changes in microflora of the gut - can lead to inflammation of gut, leaky gut, food intolerances, autoimmunity, allergies, sensitivities, ezcema
* secondary hypothyrodism to adrenal insufficiency (can lead to elevated LDL, anemia,
* mood disorders including anxiety, depression, teariness, anger
Then we go and build a baby......... a baby who has a brain which is composed of almost 60% fat, a baby who is built from the dietary fats of the mother. It stands to reason to ask what effect has low fat for a generation in women had on their children? Especially in brain health, inflammation, behavioural issues, developmental issues, gut health and hormonal health.
What can we do for our health and the health of our children?
Eat fats and oils sourced from nature - include with most meals fat/oil of some description such as:
* flaxseed oil
* nuts - walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, macadamias, pecans, cashews
* seeds - sunflower, sesame, pumpkin
* coconut products
* wild caught fish
* organic, free range, grassfed animals (conscious that there will still be the presence of the animals hormones especially if trying to minimise excess oestrogen).
Fats/Oils to avoid (man-made and highly processed sources):
* farmed fish (hormones, antibiotics added)
* yellow polyunsaturated oils in a clear plastic container including canola oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, rice-bran oil, sesame oil - this is the GMO processed form(cold pressed used on salads is great), rapeseed oil, sunflower oil (again cold pressed in dark glass can be used on salads)
* margarine and fake butters.
The great thing about adding these beautiful fats and oils from nature is they go a long way in satiating us so you may find you are full sooner and have less time between pantry trawls.