What the “H”?
What the “H”?
What does the “H” in LCHF stand for? You probably know that it stands for “High”. Thus, the acronym reads, “Low Carb High Fat”. Of course, this is the diet which is slowly becoming popular for it’s ability to treat, prevent, and in some cases reverse diabetes.
Not all fat is created equal! In fact, some fats are actually quite bad for you. Therefore it is not enough to be “High Fat”. To really reap the rewards of a LCHF diet the fats you eat must also be “Healthy Fat”.
If you are new to LCHF, please don’t let this be discouraging news. As if completely flipping your diet upside down wasn’t enough. Now you are finding out there are exceptions to the rule! This diet is like learning the English language!
You have come to the right place! In this post, I will try my best to set you up for success with a “Low Carb Healthy Fat” diet as much as a “Low Carb High Fat” diet. Please bear with me because I will be challenging convention that currently dominates the health industry. You may not believe what I have to say, that is a good thing. Blindly, listening to the status quo is what got us into this mess.
However, before you completely write off everything I am about to tell you, I encourage you to look further into this information. Have an open mind. This is certainly not the first time in history humans have been misinformed!
What are Healthy Fats?
If you are new to LCHF, then this may come as a surprise. In fact, with the negative stigma around these fats, you may be compelled to exit out of this blog post without reading any further. What I am going to tell you will certainly go against everything you have been taught about a healthy diet.
Yes, I am talking about saturated fats.
If you are anything like me, then you are in disbelief right now. Your whole life you have probably been taught that saturated fats cause heart disease, obesity. You may even have been trained to look for items in grocery store that are “reduced saturated fat”. Now I am telling you that saturated fats are good for you.
Why Should You Believe Me?
What do I know? I am not a dietitian. I am not a doctor. If you take this information to your doctor tomorrow, I can almost guarantee they will tell you saturated fats are bad. So surely they are right and I am wrong. I mean they are the professionals.
Not so fast! It is true that I am not a doctor or a dietitian. However, in many ways that makes me a more reputable source of information. I have talked to doctors who have taken the time to do their own research on LCHF instead of blindly accepting what they are taught in medical school. What they have told me is shocking.
I have been told by several practicing physicians that they spent “less than 15 minutes” learning about diet and nutrition in school. To make matters worse, they were only introduced to the metabolism of carbohydrates without being introduced to fats as a source of energy. Doctors have described their time in medical school to me as, “only learning how to prescribe medications based on symptoms and vital signs.” Do you see a problem here?
Not only are the majority of doctors oblivious to facts and research about diet – the ones that are not get condemned for preaching what they have discovered to be true. There are several incidences of doctors being put under a microscope for recommending LCHF diets to patients. Even put on trial with their medical licenses in jeopardy. The fear of losing a career is a good motivator for doctors to keep their mouths shut about LCHF.
So, should you believe everything your doctor tells you about diet and nutrition? I am not going to tell you not to. All I can do is give you all of the facts and research that have led me into believing in a LCHF diet and let you be the creator of your own destiny.
What Does Research Conclude?
The common argument against saturated fats is that they raise LDL cholesterol levels which causes heart disease. Research does in fact conclude that eating saturated fats raises LDL cholesterol levels. So then am I contradicting myself?
Not at all!
Even though research has concluded that saturated fats do increase LDL cholesterol levels, there is absolutely no conclusive research that proves cholesterol – by itself – blocks coronary or cerebral arteries, causing heart attacks or strokes. I have yet to meet anyone, including doctors, that can find research proving cholesterol is the cause of heart disease.
Instead, it is theorized that the damage to arterial vessels caused by hyperinsulinemia is the leading cause of heart disease. Without this damage, cholesterol can’t even access the cells that line organs like the heart. Therefore, cholesterol does not pose a threat unless hyperinsulinemia is present.
The other common argument against saturated fats are that they contribute to obesity. If a long history of humans surviving and thriving off of all natural fats like saturated fats is not enough evidence, there is also scientific research that disproves this argument. Actually, research is proving that saturated fats protect against obesity.
An entire book could be written about the proposed mechanism that proves saturated fats protect against obesity. Instead of taking this post to the cellular level, I will leave it up to you to contact Beta BIOS at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to learn more. For now just know that there is evidence to support this outrageous claim!
So why are saturated fats so attacked? If what I am saying is true then why are saturated fats so demonized in our society today? To answer these questions we must take a look back into history.
The Demonization of Saturated Fat
Around the 1950’s the nation was experiencing a significant increase in heart disease. To make matters worse the president of the time, President Eisenhower, suffered a heart attack in 1955. Of course the nation went into a panic about heart disease.
The public wanted answers about what was causing the alarming increase in heart disease. Then, out of the shadows appeared Ancel Keys. Ancel Keys was a pathologist from the University of Minnesota who was the first to propose that the problem lied with saturated fats.
Ancel Keys went on to perform a study known as the “Seven Country Study” that became the evidence behind the American Heart Association recommendations for a heart healthy diet. The recommendations that they still stand by today.
The Seven Country Study
The Seven Country Study took place in – you guessed it – seven countries around the world. Mainly Ancel Keys focused on European countries but also the US and Japan.
The study involved sampling about 13,000 men from the different countries; noting their diet and cholesterol levels. He then waited to see which of the participants died of heart disease.
First off, it is clear that Ancel Keys picked only countries that would support his hypothesis. Before the study he had done several pilot studies and clearly figured out where people were not eating a lot of saturated fats and had low rates of heart disease. He cherry picked those countries while intentionally leaving out countries like Germany, Switzerland, and France that had low rates of heart disease but ate a lot of saturated fats.
From the Seven Country Study, Ancel Keys concluded that low saturated fat consumption was “associated” with low rates of heart disease. Not that saturated fats “cause” heart disease. In fact, it is true that in the countries with low heart disease the people also ate a lot less sugar. Conveniently, that was not emphasized in the study.
It is not talked about in the Seven Country Study proved that there is more of a correlation between sugar and heart disease than saturated fats and heart disease. In fact, there has been billions of dollars spent on clinical research trails attempting to prove Ancel Keys’ hypothesis. All have been unsuccessful at proving that saturated fats cause heart disease.
Unfortunately, because of this bias study, saturated fats have been demonized. Instead of eating healthy fats, our society has increased carb consumption tremendously. Is it a coincidence that the steep increase in carb consumption over the years is exactly in line with the increase in heart disease and the decrease in consumption of saturated fats?
Other Healthy Fat
Saturated fats are not the only healthy fats. Some unsaturated fats are also healthy. Instead of getting carried away explaining the metabolism of different kinds of fats, I will simply list some of the healthiest sources of fats.
- Meat! (Beef, Pork, Poultry, and Seafood)
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Nuts and Seeds
- Heavy Cream
- Butter / Lard (Not Margarine!)
This is not an all-inclusive list for sources of healthy fats. This is just a list of some of my favorite sources of healthy fats. To know what fats are healthy it is probably more important to know what fats you should avoid. Let’s talk about those fats now.
The most important sources of fats to avoid are “industrial seed and vegetable oils”. Industrial seed and vegetable oils are high in Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats. These oils are made with extensive processes that utilize harsh chemicals throughout the process. The most common oils of this type are:
- Soybean Oil
- Canola Oil
- Corn Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Cottonseed Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Peanut Oil
- Sesame Oil
- Rapeseed Oil
- Rice Bran Oil
Just imagine trying to extract the oils out of something like a sunflower seed. It is going to take some serious processing to get any sort of usable oil out of it! Thus, these industrial seed and vegetable oils go through some pretty gross and unnatural processing before making it to a bottle that can be sold at a grocery store.
These types of fats are similar to trans fats, which are also heavily processed and unhealthy. The difference between trans fats and industrial seed an vegetable oils is that trans fats are actually accepted as being unhealthy. Unlike canola oil, which is considered the “healthy” alternative to fry french fries instead of beef tallow.
Trans fats are not as common anymore due to the health controversy around them. However, some foods that claim to have 0g trans fats still contain trans fats today. This is common in heavily processed “junk” food – chips, candy, ice cream, etc. So, by avoiding these foods which are also high in carbs, you will avoid any trace amounts of trans fats.
Lastly, don’t use margarine as a butter substitute. Margarine is made from industrial vegetable oils and is absolutely not a butter substitute. Where butter and lard are actually good for your health, margarine is not!
In this post I have attempted to convince you that saturated fat is good, introduced you to sources of healthy fats, and labeled some sources of fats as unhealthy. Because this isn’t a medical journal, I did all of this without explaining any of the science to back up my claims.
That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. In fact, it is abundant! If you are interested in then simply contact Beta BIOS at email@example.com. Otherwise, lets just consider everything I have claimed logically.
The common trend in what I have posted here is to get your fat from “natural sources”. By “natural sources” I mean things that had the least amount of processing possible. I don’t think it comes as a huge surprise that processed foods are unhealthy. Fats are no different. Heavily processed trans fats and industrial oils are not healthy.