When was the last time you ate an avocado? Last night with your bun-free burger, perhaps? Or this morning, smashed on a slice of gluten free bread and with two scrammbled eggs? Thinking this is the way to weight loss?
You wouldn’t be alone. Last year, for the first time since shopping lists began, avocados outsold oranges in the UK. By March, sales were up 39% year-on-year, making this fatty fruit (yup it's a fruit) worth millions . In 2016, more photos of avocados were pinned on taste-making social media site Pinterest than any other food. It’s official: avocados, along with other fatty treats such as coconut oil and peanut butter, are having a moment. They’re delicious, nutritious –
oh, and they’re ruining your weight loss efforts if you are eating them in excess. Let me explain........everything in moderation!! Some healthy fats are the BOMB for your body YES! But recently I had a client say that she was eating avocado on everything, at every meal......up to 4 a day!! What? Then she was using EVOO on salads and vegetables also, and coconut oil in her shakes and coffee!!! She was taking what I told her about good fats to the extreme and expecting it to work even better!!! Let's be clear.......MORE IS NOT BETTER! Calories do count in your weight loss efforts, what every diet has in common.......
To lose weight (or body fat) you must consume less calories than you burn on a daily, weekly, monthly basis!! PERIOD!
Fat’s new popularity came about due to the news about triglycerides . First, the scientists. A 2003 study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed those on a low-carb diet lost more weight than those on a low-fat plan. A raft of similar studies confirmed it: carbs were out, fat was back. Next came the paleo-pushers, who eschewed grains in favor of nuts, seeds and as much meat as they can handle. Then how about social media "influencers" taking tons of pics with avocado (me included) coconut oil on everything and in everything, making the public think doing it more than once a day will help with weight loss or overall fat loss! NOPE!
The message was clear: if you want to lose weight, ditch the carbs and chew the fat. Yet, gram-for-gram, fat is far and away the most calorific macronutrient. For every gram of protein or carbohydrate that passes your lips, you consume four calories. For every gram of fat, it’s nine. Take that burger – lose the brioche bun (185 calories) and replace it with lettuce, bacon and avocado, and you’ve just gobbled a net increase of 350 calories. Yes avocado is loaded with vitamin E and potassium but each one also packs 300-odd calories.
Nutrient-rich, sure. Weight loss-friendly, not quite. Likewise, if you think scooping a spoonful of coconut oil (115 calories) and one of butter (100) into your ‘Bulletproof’ Americano will rid you of the love handles, you’ve got another chin coming. Ultimately, weight loss relies on maintaining a calorie deficit – burning more energy than you consume. And the best way to do that is through hard-won sweat. The tougher your workout, the more energy you use, the more fat you burn. And then comes the fuel. Not fat, which your body can’t break down quickly enough to harness for energy, but good old-fashioned carbs.
How about what to cook with?
Don’t get me wrong, coconut oil’s high smoking point – 177ºC versus olive oil’s 160ºC – makes it a healthier option for your frying pan . The selenium in your walnut-based snack bar is vital for cognitive function. And avocado, the faddiest fatty food of them all, is as versatile as it is nutrient-dense. But you can have too much of a good thing – especially when that thing is stuffed full of calories. It’s time to reconfigure your serving sizes.
So eat your healthy fats. Smash that avocado onto your sourdough. You can even butter it first. Just remember, if weight loss is your ultimate goal, the most important thing you can exercise is portion control.
Let's see how the confusion starts...........
In the book, Engine2 Engine, written by Rip Esselstyn, his assertion that we should avoid all fats, good or bad, because they have so many calories can get a little confusing.
Everything I have read about having a higher metabolism, balanced diet, good skin and antioxidants is that we need that good fat. Exploring more.....
How important are fats, what forms should you be consuming and in what quantities? It wasn’t long ago when then medical community was advocating the avoidance of all fat, even in the form of nuts or an avocado. Long gone are the days of neglect and dismissal when it comes to fat. We have made great progress drawing more clear lines between raw plant based sources that are good for you, even anti-aging, and those that are harmful such as cooked, animal based, and processed saturated and trans fats.
A deficiency of healthy fat runs prevalent throughout the modern day North American diet with the majority of people consuming too many of the detrimental bad fats including saturated fats in meat and dairy, and processed polyunsaturated fats or hydrogenated trans-fat from cooking oil and margarine used in processed foods. Consuming too many of these and not enough of the good fats contribute to stroke, heart attack, chronic inflammation, cognitive impairment, allergy, auto immune diseases and ultimately premature death.
Many of the oils we think are doing our bodies well are in fact causing further damage. The processing of oil can be the difference between good and bad. Some extraction methods for cheaper oils involve high heat, which can actually cause the oil to convert to trans fat. Other extraction methods use chemical solvents to separate the oil, usually done with low-grade oils.
The health benefits of consuming a sufficient amount of fat in the right forms and proper proportions has been shown to be immensely important in an endless number of areas impacting the state of body and mind. Among other things, it can strengthen the immune system, enhance brain and nervous system function such as mood, intelligence and behavior, greatly reduce cardiovascular disease, increase energy and performance, grow healthy skin, hair, and nails, regulate body weight, and improve organ and gland function.
Essential Fatty Acids
Omega-3 and Omega-6 are the two essential fatty acids (EFAs), “essential” meaning that the body cannot produce them — they must be ingested, by eating foods rich in EFA. EFAs are a type of fat known as long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and an important dietary component of overall health. Lending support to the healthy function of the cardiovascular, immune, and nervous systems, they also play an integral role in promoting cell health. Repair and regeneration of the cellular membrane is vital for keeping the body biologically young and enabling it to retain mobility and vitality throughout life. Contributing to our cells’ ability to receive nutrition and eliminate waste, EFAs help keep the cellular regeneration process moving. Our body’s ability to fight off infection and reduce inflammation is in part dependent on having an adequate supply of EFAs in the diet. In fact, healthy and efficient brain development in children has been linked to a diet rich in EFAs.
In addition, a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs are vital for skin health. Dry skin is commonly treated topically with a moisturizer, leaving the cause of the problem unaddressed. A diet with adequate EFAs will keep skin looking and feeling supple.
The present day American diet contains an excess of omega-6 by10 to 25 times with almost no omega-3. This imbalance among other things has been shown to contribute to stroke, heart attack, chronic inflammation, cognitive impairment, allergy and autoimmune diseases. Excellent sources of omega-3 to help restore the natural balance are flaxseed and hemp oil as well as walnuts.
Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is a difficult to attain omega-6 EFA with potent anti-inflammatory properties via production of hormone-like substances called eicosanoids. These help soothe skin, promote healing and regulate water loss. GLA’s anti-inflammatory properties expand blood vessels enabling better blood flow. It is known as an immune booster, cancer fighter, cholesterol reducer, arthritis reliever and supple, beautiful skin. Evening primrose, borage and hemp seed oils are the best sources of GLA.
Another healthy yet underrated fat are Medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, found in large amounts in coconut oil. They are unique in that they are a form of saturated fat, yet have many health benefits. Their digestion is near effortless and, unlike other fat, MCTs are utilized in the liver and are easier on the pancreas, liver, and digestive system. Within moments of MCTs being consumed, they are converted by the liver to energy which make it an excellent source of energy during an intense workout or race. It has been shown to promote heart health, a strong immune system, a healthy metabolism, weight loss and youthful skin.
Healthy fats like raw unprocessed plant based oils also carry hundreds of phytonutrients such as chlorophyll, phytosterols, Carotenoids, Lignans (Phytoestrogens), tocopherols, tocotrienols, Flavonoids (Polyphenols) among others. Flax oil, for instance, when extracted properly can retain high levels of cancer fighting lignans, while hemp oil is rich in many phytonutients, in particular receiving a lot of attention for its high levels of immune boosting, alkalinizing, and cleansing chlorophyll.
Plant based oils can also be a great source of antioxidants. Chlorophyll found in hemp oil has antioxidant like properties while berry seed oils are packed with antioxidants in a highly concentrated form. Raspberry, cranberry, and pomegranate seed oils are among the best. They can be hard to find in stores and are expensive, but they will deliver an extra dimension to a high-quality oil blend. A mixture containing all these oils is the ultimate essential fatty acid and antioxidant combination.
What to Look For:
A good fat should generally come from an organically grown plant based source with minimal processing to preserve their “raw”, nutrient rich state. Look for oils that are cold-pressed and have not undergone a distillation or purification process. Also try to avoid those that are exposed to heat and light as they can result in oxidation.
Hemp oil is a great base for salad dressings, sauces, shakes and many other recipes that do not require cooking at high heat. This is because hemp offers exceptional flavor and nutrition. Using only hemp oil as your primary oil source is a good way to go; however, a blend of about 80 percent hemp oil, 10 percent flaxseed oil, and 10 percent pumpkin seed oil is an optimal balance of essential fatty acids. Fats play a pivotal role in one’s health and longevity.
Hemp seed oil, flax seed oil, antioxidant oil blend (green tea seed oil, pomegranate seed oil, black cumin seed oil, black raspberry seed oil, blueberry seed oil, cranberry seed oil), pumpkin seed oil, coconut oil.
Dr Caldwell Esselstyn says…
Oils and Fats
Along with cutting out animal-based foods, this diet recommends eliminating all oils, including olive oil and canola oil. You also need to avoid nuts and avocados since these plant sources contain high amounts of fat. Dr. Esselstyn explains that these oils and fat sources may contribute to high cholesterol levels, which in turn, may increase your cholesterol levels. You do require some amount of fat in your diet, and the diet recommends having 1 tbsp. of flaxseed each day. This provides heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, offering the amount of fat your body needs to function properly.
Dr. Esselstyn is the father of Rip Esselstyn (Forks over Knives and Engine 2 Engine) he is a cardiologist who has had great success with patients eating his plant based diet. Rip is a firefighter who has adopted and is doing a real good job of promoting his dad’s diet plan. He says; no avocados, nuts, olive oils all the things that we have been told produce health. I am more confused. I think that my decision for me will be to limit my healthy fat. Make sure that I have that tbsp of flaxseeds every day and curtail the rest. I will have to go back and check some more. It seems like it is the cardiologists who have the most rigid and controversial diets. Adkins, Esselstyn and Agatson are three of those Dr’s and they all have different approaches.
Let's continue the conversation in my private Facebook Group! The Self-Healing Revolution I would love to see you there and support your healthy lifestyle !
Much Love Suzanne
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