When we eat a diet that is low in fat, we are essentially depriving ourselves of nutrient-dense animal foods that are an excellent source of quality fat and protein. When animals and fish are raised under ideal and humane conditions by farmers committed to traditional methods of agriculture, the result is quality fat that does not contribute to chronic diseases. When a person restricts total fat in their diet they tend to substitute processed foods made from poor quality refined polyunsaturated vegetable oils, excessive salt, sugar and refined grains to meet their caloric needs. These so called “junk foods” also affect the hypothalamus in our brains. The hypothalamus monitors the day’s energy supply by tracking chemical messengers in the blood stream called hormones. Leptin is a fat based hormone and insulin is a glucose or blood sugar hormone. When you eat a meal with adequate fat, the hypothalamus sends a message to your brain that you are less hungry. The hypothalamus is also hard wired to other brain control centers that control taste, emotion, and reward, to name a few.
So quality fat is absolutely essential for healthy brain signaling. Milk, butter, cream, yogurt, kefir and cheese from grass-fed cows, pastured free running poultry and their fresh eggs, wild fresh fish, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork, venison and game meat are the best to consume. Conversely, so-called “feedlot-raised” animals are sometimes force-fed grains like corn, soy, and sorghum so their meat is high in poor quality fat. The animals are also in a state of chronic stress due to poor hygiene and living conditions. Avoid ultra pasteurized and ultra homogenized milk products because of their extended shelf life, even if they are called organic. The extended shelf life renders the milk essentially dead. Raw milk would be the best choice but is not always available. Pasteurized low-fat, skim, and two percent milk products are essentially sterile and have little food quality.
Avoid lowfat and processed cheese, cheese slices, cheese spreads and imitation cheese made from soy and cheese-like substances. Avoid partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, shortenings, spreads combined with vegetable oil and all margarines. Margarines do not occur naturally in the food chain. Margarines and other shortenings are considered synthetic, colored, additive filled, and made with cheap grade oil that is refined in an industrial facility! Hydrogenated oils are fats that do not support a healthy heart. When saturated animal fat products are of poor quality and processed with excessive additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed protein, citric acid, excessive nitrates and nitrites, the cholesterol in these products has a tendency to become oxidized (the cholesterol is exposed to free radical damage) and, therefore, is toxic to our cardiovascular system. We want to avoid oxidized cholesterol and rancid oils in our diet. When considering oil usage, it is important to know which oils work best under high, medium, and low heat cooking conditions. Storage conditions are also important when considering oil usage.
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