The second part of our series on Fat is going to hit the “Does Fat make you Fat” question. The answer is a pretty decisive no. First, lets revisit this idea of fat as a good energy source, this from wikipedia:
Fatty acids, stored as triglycerides in an organism, are an important source of energy because they are both reduced andanhydrous. The energy yield from a gram of fatty acids is approximately 9 kcal (37 kJ), compared to 4 kcal/g (17 kJ/g) for carbohydrates. Since the hydrocarbon portion of fatty acids is hydrophobic, these molecules can be stored in a relatively anhydrous(water-free) environment. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, are more highly hydrated. For example, 1 g of glycogen can bind approximately 2 g of water, which translates to 1.33 kcal/g (4 kcal/3 g). This means that fatty acids can hold more than six times the amount of energy per unit of storage mass. Put another way, if the human body relied on carbohydrates to store energy, then a person would need to carry 31 kg (67.5 lb) of hydrated glycogen to have the energy equivalent to 4.5 kg (10 lb) of fat. Hibernating animals provide a good example for utilizing fat reserves as fuel. For example, bears hibernate for about 7 months, and, during this entire period, the energy is derived from degradation of fat stores.
Buttered Pecans with salt – AWESOME!
Basically, what we are saying is that fat is a really good source of energy. Fat storage is thus normal and ok, as it provides you with an opportunity to fast for longer periods without any serious negative effect other than hunger. But lets go a little deeper and look at what happens with fat when you consume it dietarily, and we will understand why crabohydrate tends to be the DRIVING force behind fat storage, not the consumption of fat.
Fat comes into the body as triglyceride, it is the broken down into free fatty acid (primarily). You actually have to break it down to get it into the body, then you re-from it as triglyceride again. These triglycerides are then moved through the body to be used up. Their use is based on where they end up. Some end up binding to tissue and muscle cells where they will be metabolized and used for building blocks of new healthy tissue, or as immediate energy. Some will go into the adipose tissue to be stored for future energy, but this has been estimated to be 1/3 the rate that carbohydrate is retained for future use.
The WHY is in the fact that insulin is driven up by carbohydrate increasing blood sugar, and the storage is forced on the body with carbohydrate, where fat is not forced into storage, but utilized as energy more immediately… IF…. IF…. you are a fat burner. Which will bring us to the conversation on Leptin and Insulin (future part). The cool thing about the above information, is that you are breaking down fat, and utilizing it, as it enters the body. SERIOUS NOTE – if you are not a fat burner, and you increase your fat consumption, without decreasing your sugar consumption, you will store both of them. The 60 Day Diet is the answer to getting you into fat burning freedom.
This short chart is also from wikipedia (with my added notes), and it shows the importance of cholesterol, as well as the job.
- Chylomicrons (derived from triglycerides) carry diet-derived lipids to body cells (this will allow them to be utilized as energy or building blocks)
- VLDLs carry lipids synthesized by the liver to body cells (again, for the same reasons as the above transport system)
- LDLs carry cholesterol around the body (which can be for any reason)
- HDLs carry cholesterol from the body back to the liver for breakdown and excretion. (this is why “good” cholesterol is something you want as it manages the “bad” – i hate that misnomer of a term – cholesterol)
Let me finish this part with the next step for you. You need to decrease your carbohydrate intake. Best way is to cut grains down, then reduce any free sugars in the form of desserts, straight fructose, etc. Also, be on HIGH alert for over doing fruits like bananas, and grapes. There are very little value to these foods, other than a quick shot of high fructose energy.
Next, increase your fat. Stop buying “low-fat” anything. I had a conversation with a patient yesterday about a low fat kefir. They bought it because it said grass fed, but the whole reason why we drive the grass fed movement is because the fat is a healthier fat than a grain fed cow. Now, there could be other positives in the fact that we know they aren’t eating GMO grass (doesn’t exist), and we wouldn’t know if the grain they could’ve eaten was GMO or not. But the real value is the fat. So if we are buying a grass fed dairy product, and they take all the fat out of it… we lose the whole reason we want to buy grass fed.
I think you are getting the point. If you haven’t read the first FAT Sprout in the series, check it out here: http://www.healthsprout.com/the-story-of-fat-part-1/
As always, the pursuit of truth is where the best health lies! Be Well and Be Blessed! - Dr. E