How a high fat low carb diet can heal your body
Fat has had a bad rap for the past 40 plus years. Let’s re-examine why fats are so good for you and how fat can heal your hormones, body and brain—and particularly—your heart.
If you are considering a ketogenic or high fat, low carb diet, the first thing you need to get your head around is the quantity of fats that you’ll need to consume. You are going to learn to embrace fats—if you haven’t already—for fats have been so mistreated and demonised for the past 40 years.
How did fat get so demonised?
In a nutshell, we can pretty much place the blame with Ancel Keys who subjectively selected data to prove that there was a correlation between fat consumption and heart disease. In the 1970s he promoted the Mediterranean diet (low fat) as a way to prevent low heart disease.
This, in turn, influenced the health and government advice on what constituted a ‘healthy’ carb heavy diet—and how we got the wonderful food pyramid. And one could argue that it is only since then that the chronic diseases, such as obesity, Alzheimer’s and diabetes type 2 have become an epidemic.
Saturated fats are so good
Healthy Fats—this includes saturated, unsaturated and monounsaturated fats— have proven to stabilise blood sugar levels, improve neurological function, protect brain membranes, decrease hunger and even to increase your fat burning ability.
Saturated fats are particularly beneficial for the body and brain and research demonstrates the following:
- Saturated fat – lauric acid (coconuts) and conjugated lauric acid (from butter) strengthen your immune system and improve cell communication (this can decrease cancer).
- Surfactant, found in saturated fat helps air cross over the lung membranes – so your lungs work better and you’re less likely to have asthma*
- You need saturated fats for healthy hormone production, esp. testosterone & oestrogen**
- It’s critical for nerves and a healthy nervous system function
- Suppress inflammation: in particular, the omega 3s found in fatty fish and eggs. You can heal inflammation with a high fat diet.
- Saturated fat includes the fat soluble vitamins A, D, K
- MCTs and coconut oil have shown to reverse liver damage***
- Increased Fat loss – especially as mcts convert easily into energy as opposed to being stored as fat
*Wijga AH, Smit HA, Kerkhof M, et al; PIAMA. Association of consumption of products containing milk fat with reduced asthma risk in pre-school children: the PIAMA birth cohort study. Thorax.2003 Jul;58 (7):567-72
**Hamalanen E, Adlercreutz H, Pua P, Pietnen P. Diet and serum sex hormones in healthy men. J Steroid Biochem, 1984 Jan; 20 (1): 459-64
*** Nanji AA, Jokelainen K, Tipoe GL, Rahemtulla A, Dannenburg AJ. Dietary saturated fatty acids reverse inflammatory and fibroticchanges in rat liver despitecontaining ethanol administration. J Pharmaceutical Exp Ther. 2001 Nov ;299 (2) 638-44
Eat fat, burn fat
Dietary fat can even increase your metabolism, particularly the consumption of Medium Chain Triglycerides that can seriously boost your metabolism as they increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation. When consuming MCTs, men can burn up to 460 extra calories and women burn up to 190 extra calories per day. Hyman, p. 149.
Dr Trudi Deakin has done some amazing work on debunking the energy balance myth, proving that eating fat does not make you fat; and that it is in fact carbohydrates and sugars that prevent you from burning your own fat stores.
It is never as simple as calories in, calories out. Food is information; fat triggers leptin – the hormone that signals to the brain that you are full. So on a lower carb, higher fat diet you are less likely to feel hungry. Find out how to lose weight on the ketogenic diet here.
your brain loves fat
‘Good brain function depends on saturated fats’ – Dr Mark Hyman
Reesearch shows that saturated fats decreased dementia by 36%**** and that’s not the only brain benefit:
- Fat can reverse type 2 diabetes and stabilise blood sugar levels – since it’s carbs and sugar that cause insulin insensitivity and thus cause tye 2 diabetes
- Eating fat improves neurological function and prevents brain aging and the associated diseases – the ketogenic diet has been used to reverse Alzheimer’s ****
- Did you know that your brain is 60% fat – without fat, you’re starving your brain. That’s why you can concentrate so well on a high fat diet—it’s why fat or bulletproof coffees are so great!
- Omega 3s stimulate beneficial gene expression, reduce brain inflammation and increase cognitive focus
- By reducing brain inflammation, you can alleviate brain fog, migraines, seizures, adhd, autism, depression***** We started the ketogenic diet because Francisco was diagnosed with epilepsy.
- Reduce autoimmune disease – because fats reduce inflammation and inflammation is often linke to autoimmune diseases
- Cholesterol protects the neuro membrane–our brains need cholesterol!
****Dr Mark Hyman, Eat Fat Get Thin, 2016, p.76
*****Dr Mark Hyman, Eat Fat Get Thin, 2016, p.160-163
The inflammation issue
The crux of the issues is that sugar and carbs are inflammatory and fats are anti-inflammatory, so having a diet rich in fats and very low in carbs is an anti-inflammatory diet. A high fat diet can heal inflammation.
Almost all chronic diseases and illnesses are caused by inflammation. Without the inflammation –illnesses can be alleviated, prevented and even reversed.
Would you like to find out more about transitioning to a higher fat, lower carbohydrate diet? Get your free 7 day ketogenic meal plan here and begin your tranisition to optimised health.
In health, healing & ketosis,
Sara & Francisco