Let's Talk About FATS!

Catchy title, right?!?! I know, some aspects of maintaining our health aren't terribly exciting, but we do need to discuss them. Fat(s), at least for me, is one of those boring topics. However,  a lot of the information out there is misleading at best and downright false in some cases.

If you've ever had any bloodwork done, I am sure you've looked at your cholesterol and triglyceride numbers. Maybe they were a little high and you were advised to go on a low fat diet and maybe even given a prescription for a statin drug to lower the numbers. 

First of all, I encourage you to do some studying on the safety and efficacy of statin drugs. Yes, they lower your cholesterol numbers, but they do nothing for preventing heart disease and heart attacks. On top of that, they have quite the list of side effects. Like I said, do a little research and you will see. 

The low fat diet craze started back in the early 80's and still is influencing people's eating habits today even though many studies have shown it to be an ineffective way of lowering fat in our bodies. The fact is, we don't get fat from eating too much fat. We get fat from eating too many calories and too many carbohydrates, particularly simple carbohydrates.

You may have heard my 3 question flow chart for making health food choices...

1. Is the food I am about to eat God-made or man-made? Eat more God-made foods

2. When this food was alive, (God made foods were living at some point) did it have a mother? If it had a mother, then it is classified as a protein and you can eat as much of this as you want.

3. If it didn't have a mother, then it is a carbohydrate and therefore you should ask the 3rd question... is this carbohydrate Colorful and Crunchy or is it white and mushy. You want to be eating more Colorful and Crunchy Carbohydrates because they are your Complex Carbohydrates, The white and mushy carbohydrates are known as Simple carbs and turn to Sugar rather easily in your body. (Like what I did with the Alliteration?) 

(Now, before those of you more advanced in your food chemistry knowledge go beating me up and telling me an apple is colorful and crunchy but it is a fruit and therefore a simple carbohydrate, yes  of course I realize this. I am trying to give folks an easy starting point.)

It is these simple carbohydrates that I want to focus on for this blog. You see, when you get your cholesterol and triglyceride numbers from your blood test, I want you to understand that your triglycerides are elevated for 3 primary reasons and only one of the 3 has to do with fats. The other 2 are because you ate too many simple carbs or too many calories in general.

So, what is a triglyceride? Simply put, it is a fat your body either consumes or makes from your foods, It uses this fat for energy if and when needed. In other words, your body can store these triglycerides for energy use later. It is a safety mechanism built into us when God created us. He knew our ancestors would go through periods of feasting but also periods of famine. Storage of fat for energy is the body's way of surviving when food is scarce.

Outside of the threat of winter weather here in middle Tennessee, when have you ever seen our grocery store shelves. empty? Exactly... we don't experience famine here in America anymore. We have plenty of food available to us and herein lies our problem.

When we consume too many calories or too many carbohydrates, our body doesn't know that Publix is right down the road with plenty more food. It takes those carbs and calories, very easily converts them into a triglyceride(s) and stores them for when we may not have food later.

So, if your triglyceride numbers are too high on your blood test, you need to cut back on carbs and calories. Yes, fat consumption plays a role, but it is only 1/3 of the equation. If you follow the advice of a low fat diet, you are missing 2/3 of the problem.

I found the tips in this article to be helpful. Food and Drinks That Can Cause High Triglycerides

Dr. Ed

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