Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Dr Anonymous

A Discussion on the ‘High Fat’ Diet Fad and Health Benefits of Good Fats and Cholesterol

*Pic: daniellehelm, Gluttony, Flickr

First published July 2

I confess I’m not a fan of using the terminology ‘high fat’ diet. I am concerned people will think it’s a license to eat as much fat as they like, or worse, as much junk food as they like.

It would be more appropriate to term this approach to food ‘The Right Fat Diet’.

For years health experts promoted a diet that was dangerously low in fat. The ‘Low Fat Diet’ was promoted. There is a tendency to overcompensate for mistakes. We went from ‘low fat’, to ‘high fat’ in our dietary discussion, when in fact, we should actually be talking about the correct amount of fat, or balanced fat.

It’s not that a person can eat a diet extremely high in any sort of fat and expect to lose weight, be a healthy weight, or even be healthy.

Eating the right amount of fat and the right type of fat is actually the take home message with dietary advice.

Secondly, I’m not a fan of using the term ‘diet’. Diet implies it’s a temporary state of affairs, to be abandoned at some point. This is not the case. To be healthy you need to eat healthy. Forever. It is a ‘right fat way of life’, or ‘right fat approach to eating’ that we need to promote, not a ‘high fat diet’.

Semantics aside, while the obesity epidemic confronting Australians might have turned some people towards a low fat diet, or have many people thinking that fat is bad, far from it, fat is essential to life itself.

When we examine the very basics of what we know of the human body, it makes sense that a diet consisting of the right type of fat is fundamentally essential to good health.

Let’s start with the brain. It’s at least 60% fat.

The limbic system, which is the part of the brain that regulates emotion and mood, plays a central role in the initiation of movement, involves the reward and addiction pathway, is essential to memory, and is even involved in the regulation of chronic pain is influenced to some degree by omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. (In the correct ratio, of course).

The retina of the eye and the cerebral cortex of the brain are rich in a type of omega 3 fat called docosahexaenoic acid. This fat is also essential for healthy sperm production. Most of the body’s essential organs are surrounded by a protective coating of fat including the heart, the kidneys and the liver. Nerve cells are covered in a fatty myelin sheath that protects them and aids in neural conductivity.

Cholesterol is a fundamental chemical in many essential physiological processes and is required to make the lipid biolayer that surrounds and protects every single cell in the body. It forms the basis of our sex hormones, oestrogen and testosterone. Cholesterol is also essential in vitamin D synthesis, without which, bone weakening occurs and immunological dysregulation develops. Talking of fats and immune dysregulation, the role of fats in the immune system is incredibly complex and fascinating. While bad fats and too much fat can produce a state of inflammation and contribute to the pathogenesis of some autoimmune conditions, the right amount of good fats have a positive effect on the immune system, contributing to anti-inflammatory effects and improved immune functioning. Many vitamins that are essential to good health are fat-soluble. A diet that is too low in fat means that it is not possible to absorb the vitamins A, E, D and K. For healthy, strong, smooth and well-oiled skin, good fats, particularly omega 3 fatty acids are essential.

In summary good fats in the right amounts are essential for healthy physiological processes in the body.

The right ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats is of great importance in the ‘right fat healthy approach to eating’. You might already know that the fats in the modern Western diet have the completely wrong ratio for the omega fats. In a nutshell, there is a tendency to for foods to contain 10 to 20 times too much omega 6 fats compared to omega 3 fats. The wrong ratio has shown to actually increase the risk for d developing obesity and for the development of inflammation and pain in the body. Omega 6 fats are pro-inflammatory, while omega 3 fats are antiinflammatory.

To resolve this problem, it is important to eat foods that have the correct balance. The Heart Foundation has published information on which foods are rich in omega 3.

See: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/images/uploads/main/Programs/Sources_of_omega_3.pdf

As with any nutritional advice, remember the principle of balance is essential.

Too little is not good for health, but neither is too much.

Resources …

Recommendations on dietary intake of omega 3 and omega 6 fats:
https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/fats-total-fat-fatty-acids

The benefits of omega 3 fats in cardiovascular health:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1780156/

The role of omega 3 fats in treatment of depression:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213422015005387

Dietary omega-3 fatty acids aid in the modulation of inflammation & metabolic health
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4030645/

References available on request

*Dr Anonymous is known to the Editor

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Leonard Colquhoun

    September 13, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Two other fads (and, no Gwynneth’s latest brain-fade this time) got rubbished this week: the ‘power nap’ and being ‘fat but fit’. “Snooxe alarms” also copped it – better to get up when you wake up (presumably not after a midnight trip for a pee).

    Most of these fads illustrate Mr Pope’s “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” wisdom.

  2. Leonard Colquhoun

    July 18, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Bravo for Comment 5’s history lesson, but two questions.

    Wasn’t all that devoted motherly care based on a now derided and outrageous form of domestic sexism?

    And didn’t it work best when (chronological) ‘adults’ acted more like adults, including broad and deep understanding of “No!”?

  3. John XVII v. 23 - 26

    July 10, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Would you like some mescaline with your vegan fries?
    No? Well, you should!

  4. Just Statin the Truth

    July 9, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    There’s still plenty of quackery out there.

    The prescription of statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) to people who don’t need them is one of the great mistakes of modern times, and has made drug companies rich.

    The huge success of statins is likely fuelled, in part, by the fact people think they can offset a junk diet with a daily pill.

  5. Tony Stone

    July 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Hilarious, typical attempt to push the deranged meat industry agenda by an anonymous supposed doctor. Those who believe doctors know anything outside prescribing drugs, would also believe in the tooth fairy.

    When you look at the health facts between red meat eaters and non meat eaters, it’s a no contest, meat eaters are sicker, mostly obese, addled brains and violent compared to non red meat eaters.

    Red meats by definition and chemical makeup are toxic to humans and the world health situation is witness to those facts. Then you have to take into account the reality of the barbaric and debauched meat industry and its never ending enslavement, torture and deranged slaughter of animal life.

    The only thing supporting the red meat industry, is profit growth for the pharmaceutical industry. With out the consumption of red meats and the associated chemical additives, the drug industry would go broke.

    You can put 98% of illness down to the consumption of red meats, dairies and the complicit junk food industry.

  6. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    July 5, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    The biggest takeaway from Dr Anonymous is that we are always on ‘a diet’ of some sort. And the terrible fact is that three generations of unportioned, unbalanced and undisciplined browse ‘n snack eating, most people are on not just a weight gaining diet, but a lousy one to boot.

    I am old enough to remember when all food was fresh and bought with a budgeted plan for a certain number of meals. Food was rationed and there was no such thing as anyone except an adult going into the pantry for any reason. School lunches were made at home. And fast food takeaway was a very occasional treat. The main beverage besides tea was water, with the occasional cordial. And my family was middle class.

    Nobody was fat.

    Go into any house today and open the pantry and one will find it is full of packaged garbage, packed with a litany of additives no one needs.

    We talk glibly about environmental sustainability. But the same goes for diet; one that will keep one’s gut and wider body in good health over an entire lifetime; fresh, diverse, balanced and portioned, according to a plan and a budget that minimizes waste of food and money.

    If we want to avoid drowning our already stressed health system with a pandemic of protractedly and chronically sick people, we have to go back to not just the diet basics, but the way we manage the culture of food and eating generally.

    And at a more subtle level, we have to start thinking about how we govern our children’s behavior around food. The fridge and the pantry need to be out of bounds and adult supervised. And parents need to control what their children eat and drink at school.

    Sustainable behavior means the end of laissez-faire habits and much tighter management of a critical resource that can be very easily abused if it is not controlled and rationed.

  7. max

    July 3, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    Heart disease
    Is the American Heart Association wrong about their recommendation to avoid foods high in cholesterol and to replace saturated fats, like those found in animal foods, with polyunsaturated fats, like those found in vegetable oils?
    According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we have switched from the consumption of saturated fats to polyunsaturated fats, which are now in almost everything that is consumed. Vegetables oils, partially hydrogenated fats, and fried foods are responsible for the persistently high rate of heart disease. The most effective way to prevent coronary heart disease and sudden death according to these conclusions is to eat fewer commercially fried foods, fewer polyunsaturated fats and to avoid partially hydrogenated fats. Conversely, we should eat more vegetables and fruit as a source of antioxidants.

  8. Margaretta Pos

    July 3, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    OK Dr Anonymous! But what about listing the foods with the fats you are talking about!

  9. Claire Gilmour

    July 3, 2017 at 4:00 am

    Oh to be lucky enough to choose! I use to care … low fat over high fat .. now I just need food – so don’t care what it is ! If I can afford to eat meat and veggies once or twice a week I’m lucky. The fat, any fat I can put on is good in winter! It’s survival …

  10. Duncan Charles Mills

    July 2, 2017 at 6:55 am

    Thankyou Dr Anonymous, for shedding some light on the complex issue of what is healthy.

    I have also used Mercola.com as a good critical review site. While a commercial site, Mercola explicitly declares the extent and nature of his commercial interests, the sale of independently evaluated supplements. His articles are much better written than most institutional websites, and some of have opaque or compromised sources of funding. Worse many in the medical profession have been compromised by “big pharmas” commercial interests, often unwittingly, due to their ruthless systemic invasion of the clinical health institution.

    Further, Mercola personally recommends primary health care, taking personal respomsibility for our own health, by taking responsibility for our own critical learning in the area.
    For example he says time and time again, supplements are no substitute for good diet, but given the dysfunction of the modern food industry, supplements are often necessary.

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