How much fat is too much fat?

Do you believe that for as long as your fat is plant-based, and not animal-based, it is safe for you to consume as much as you like? If so, you might change your mind after reading this article.

What is fat and what role does it play in our bodies?

Fat is an essential macronutrient for the body and has a number of very important functions:

• Can be used as an alternative source of energy for the body if blood sugar is not available (i.e during a fast).

• Provides insulation under the skin from both heat and cold.

• Protects bones and organs from physical shocks.

• Used in the insulation of nerve fibers so they function correctly.

• Assists with the transport of nutrients and metabolites across cell membranes.

• Used by the body to make a whole variety of building blocks used for everything from hormones to immune system function.

How much fat can we safely eat?

According to the USDA dietary guidelines 2010, 20-35% of total calories for an adult can come from just fat. These figures contrast sharply with many experts in the field of diet and nutrition who have a great number of years of experience and success when it comes to helping people restore their health. They all promote a much lower figure of daily dietary fat intake.

• Dr Colin Campbell the author of the famous book on nutrition called the ‘China Study’ promotes around 10% being the ideal fat intake from whole plant foods.

• Dr Neal Barnard a well known plant foods diet advocate recommends that around 10% of total daily calories should come from whole plant fats.

• Dr D. Graham, sports nutritionist, author, and the father of the 80/10/10 movement recommends no more than 10% fat on average.

• Dr J. McDougall, MD, well known author and founder of the very successful McDougall health programme – recommends 10% maximum fat.

• Dr Dr Caldwell Esselstyn a general surgeon and researcher conducted his own study and had great success putting his heart patients on a whole foods plant diet that contained around 10% of its total daily calories as fats. Those who followed his diet healed themselves of heart disease.

• Dr Michael Klaper, MD, past advisor to NASA, lecturer, radio host and contributor to TV health programmes recommends around 10% fat.

All of these health professionals agree that approximately 10% of total daily calories coming from fat is most optimal.

Indeed, most other health professionals agree that the magic percentage could be as high as the teens, but certainly no higher. It is only government bodies like the USDA that recommend people should consume between 20% and 35% due to the influence of the food industries.

Health issues linked with over-consumption of fat.

Consuming too much fat can cause a whole host of health complications and that means any fat, including unprocessed/raw, plant based fat. High-fat diets, where 20-35% of total calories come from fat (and often even more) is a recipe for disaster, no matter what type of fat you are consuming, because excessive fat consumption builds disease.

Just some of the health issues linked with high-fat diets include: heart disease (1) (also occurring in high-fat raw vegans) (2); type 2 diabetes (3); high blood pressure (4); some forms of arthritis and asthma (5); obesity (6); cancer (7); embolisms (8); adrenal fatigue (9); aneurysms (10).

Sources of fat on a raw food, vegan diet.

We believe that humans should only ever consume plant-based fat and always consume it in moderation. The sources of raw vegan fatty-foods include nuts, seeds, avocadoes, olives, fatty fruits like durian, and coconut flesh.

Other sources of fats, including all oils are unnatural and can only set the stage for disease.

Craving fatty foods on a raw food diet?

Under eating on carbohydrates when eating a 100% raw or high raw diet is a sure fire way of overeating on fats. Craving fatty foods, snacking a lot on nuts or seeds and wanting avocado each and every day is a good sign you are not getting the carbohydrates your body is craving and, instead, substituting it with fats, which is an unhealthy choice.

Every time people eat a meal with a high fat content their body suffers a metabolic slow down. They are likely to feel tired and in need of rest because their blood cells begin sticking together in clumps due to all the fat consumed. This will slow down the flow of blood and the smaller blood vessels can even become blocked. As a result of this, tissues and organs receive less essential nutrients and oxygen. The brain will work less efficiently, blood pressure will rise and people with heart disease can experience chest pains (angina) (11).

What does a 10% daily fat intake look like?

As a guideline, your daily fat consumption should look like:

• approximately half a medium avocado per day or

• about 20 medium olives per day or

• 1-2 tablespoons of nut/seed butter per day or

• small handful of nuts/seeds per day

These forms of fat are the healthiest if consumed in the correct amounts. Combine these with enough fresh wholesome fruits and vegetables and you will have a diet that will build a strong foundation of your long-term health.

 

Bibliography:

(1)   http://www.drmcdougall.com/about.html

(2)  Graham, Dr. D. The 80/10/10 Diet P.129

(3)  http://www.vegsource.com/klaper/bio.htm

(4)  http://www.vegsource.com/klaper/bio.htm

(5)  http://www.vegsource.com/klaper/bio.htm

(6)  http://www.vegsource.com/klaper/bio.htm

(7)  Graham, Dr. D. The 80/10/10 Diet P.131

(8)  Graham, Dr. D. The 80/10/10 Diet P.130

(9)  Graham, Dr. D. The 80/10/10 Diet P.130

(10) Graham, Dr. D. The 80/10/10 Diet P.130

(11) McDougall, Dr. J. The McDougall Program: 12 Days To Dynamic Health P.42

 

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