I’m Sarah, a Naturopathic Doctor, wellness enthusiast and health-foodie. I’m a well-being advocate and green kitchen guru who is living my true purpose while guiding patients through their personal health journeys. I’m also a complete and utter health food fanatic who wants to see everyone benefit from eating healing foods!
Subscribe to get fresh & tasty updates via email.
October 26, 2018 By Sarah White 2 Comments
The Big Fat Truth: 5 Benefits of a High-Fat Diet
Part of every new patient intake involves an in-depth dietary analysis. Great health begins in the gut, so we naturally spend a good portion of time during initial consults discussing my patient’s food choices and overall digestion. At least once a day I have a new patient sitting across from me in a visit proudly explaining that they’re already doing a great job with their food choices since they follow a low fat diet. This post is for you, my fat-phobic patients; an evidence-based guide to healthy fats (mostly for your benefit, partly for mine so I don’t have to spend as much of our precious intake time clearing up your misconceptions about fat).
Fats were falsely vilified as the primary cause of heart disease in the 1950s and 1960s with the publication of a series of studies spearheaded by a group of three Harvard researchers. Previously hidden sugar industry documents published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2016, showed that the Sugar Association paid these scientists $50,000 each to publish a biased review of research on sugar, fat and heart disease. These studies, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, minimized the link between sugar and heart health and instead blamed dietary fat for the rise in heart disease rates. As a result of this deception health officials have now spent decades encouraging North Americans to reduce their dietary fat intake and instead consume processed low-fat, high-sugar foods that many experts now blame for fueling the current obesity crisis. Nutrition dogma is hard to break, and it typically takes around 17 years for medical guidelines to match the best and most up-to-date research. Unfortunately, many medical doctors and dieticians are still teaching their patients to avoid dietary fats, even though the current research does not support this recommendation.
According to a recent survey, 9 out of 10 people are worried about consuming dietary fat. Most fat is healthy, satiating and a completely necessary part of our diets. Dietary fats from healthy whole foods provide essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins. They are also the preferred fuel source for our brains, and research even shows that they can promote weight loss and helps us maintain a healthy body weight. Before we dive deeper into the benefits of a high-fat diet I feel it’s important to first differentiate between good and bad fats:
What is a good fat?
We have 3 main sources of dietary fats: trans, saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated fats are a great choice to support optimal health and may even reduce your risk of heart disease. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, specifically those containing omega-3 fatty acids are particularly health-promoting. My favourite sources of unsaturated and healthy saturated fats include:
Where do we find bad fats?
The one thing that all researchers agree on is that consuming trans fats leads to a list of poor health outcomes including diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and even depression. Saturated fats in the form of processed foods have also been shown to increase your risk of heart attack (read more about the difference between “bad saturated fats” found in processed high-sugar foods and those found in natural sources like coconut in this fat-focused article). These are the top dietary sources of trans fats and saturated fats that should be avoided:
Dr. Sarah White is a Naturopathic Doctor, Integrative health expert and the founder + CEO of This Doctor’s Kitchen — your evidence-based resource for all things health and wellness. Dr. Sarah takes a food-first approach to health with a focus in fertility, longevity and natural beauty. She is recognized as an expert in women’s hormones, thyroid health and anti-aging. Dr. Sarah is a published health author with features in Elle Canada, Best Health, EcoParent & Whole Family magazine.