Last week in the article, “The Skinny on Fats.” I wrote about the information we can gather from understanding our blood work results relating to our body's fat metabolism; cholesterol, triglycerides and more.
In many cases, the culprit for imbalances in our fat metabolism is the liver. What is helpful to understand, is that fats do make us fat, when they are the bad fats.
As our society transitioned from an agrarian culture influenced primarily from ancestral dietary traditions, the convenience factor started
to play into the choices we made and compromises happened. “Better Living through Chemistry, “ became the country’s motto with the industrial revolution. Rather than primarily eating the fats that came easily to the table, systems were developed that made it inexpensive to use plant seed oils and chemically altered oils in our everyday lives.
Margarine, Crisco, and processed foods containing trans-fatty acids infiltrated the food chain and they became commonplace in most households in the US. Plant oils were “hydrogenated” to increase their saturation and shelf life. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Liquid oils are more quickly degraded with oxygen and heat. The more saturated a fat is, the more stable it is at room temperature. Alterations to normal fats from the natural world change the way our bodies process them.
When we eat, the body responds to the foods by releasing substances to help break them down. When we consume fats, the gallbladder releases a burst of bile, a soap-like substance that makes the fats more manageable in the gut by packaging them up. They are then absorbed into the intestine in small amounts. Next, they travel to the liver where they are going to be assessed for their functional value and either processed and stored or eliminated.
Everything we eat, breath or absorb eventually makes its way to the liver, the master organizational organ of the body. There substances are broken apart, built up, and otherwise altered into something that the body can recognize and know what to do with. Natural substances have a commonality in their makeup and can be easily identified by the body. Manmade substances, chemicals, and altered products have a tendency to be un-identifiable by the body. Without an enzyme to match, a pathway to go through or another way for the liver to handle these substances, they can irritate and challenge the body. In the end, atheyre shelved for later by storing them in the fatty tissues.
One of the biggest challenges to our health today is the degree of environmental toxins that we are subject to on an ongoing basis. While many of the substances are considered harmless in small quantities, the dosage that we accumulate over our lifetimes is typically far beyond what is safe. One US research center known as the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) has developed an online resource for helping people learn about toxins. Their project, known as “Skin Deep” is a database of thousands of substances used in the household, foods, health and beauty products. If a substance has shown a tendency to cause hormone problems, reproductive issues, cancers, neurological diseases, or other health concerns, this is a way to check on its track record and safety. As consumers, we often assume that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is adequately protecting our health. However, it is always wise to be a savvy consumer to what may be slipping through the cracks.
The trouble with toxins and fats is that they love each other. Many of our worst environmental toxins are lipophilic meaning they love fats, readily absorb into them, and are very difficult to separate apart. This is why when consuming foods to support our health, choosing organic is especially important with our fats. This includes our meats, nuts, seeds, dairy products, and oils. In nature, toxins that are fat-soluble are known to be bio-accumulative. This means that they are not eliminated or broken down in the food chain. Their use may have more than a lifetime of detrimental effects.
When trans-fats, hydrogenated or otherwise processed plant oils are consumed, not only is the body going to have a challenge in processing the fat, but they may also carry into the body traces of whatever was utilized during their creation. If we can’t break down the compound to begin with, we’re even less likely to be able to recognize and deal with the toxins it contains. All of this creates more challenge and trouble for the liver. Trouble with the liver results in disregulation of the body’s fat metabolism and a vicious cycle develops.
To keep the body healthy, lean and vital, choose healthy fats for your diet. The less processing a fat endures the better it often is for your body. Fats that are easy to acquire from their source require less processing. Ideal fats for health include; avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, soaked and sprouted nuts and seeds, wild caught fish, free range eggs, grass-fed, organic meats and raw dairy products. For more information on nutritional plans to support yourself and your family, please join us at Stillwater on Monday, June 24 from 6-8pm. Learn about 6 different therapeutic nutritional plans and explore what may be right for you! in