Weight Loss, Dieting & Obesity
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Should I Adopt a Low Fat Diet? Part Two.
Why your body NEEDS fats
The truth is, and ongoing research is proving this more and more almost by the month, that the human body actually requires fat for health and longevity. Lack of fats, and lack of specific types of fats, are complicit in many, many diseases and ailments afflicting modern man.
Every cell in the human body requires fats for metabolic function.
The human body requires saturated fat for a variety of purposes, including the manufacture of many hormones.
Just ask any woman who has suffered from anorexia nervosa, for example, about the hormonal effects experienced when she worked so hard at ridding her body of all body fat. She will tell you that her menstrual cycles and periods stopped altogether.
Some types of fats are important for antihyperlipidemia (they reduce triglyceride and cholesterol levels in your bloodstream.)
The right fats assist in lowering your blood pressure, thinning your blood and preventing blood clots.
Likewise, most inflammatory conditions can be prevented or controlled with regular Omega 3 fats in the diet. A lack of Omega 3 in your diet will intensify all manner of inflammatory conditions, ranging from asthma to arthritis and even heart disorders.
The human brain is 70% lipid (fats), and requires a regular intake of certain fats and cholesterol to function properly. Inadequate intake of these fats have been proven in many research reports to lower IQ levels, and are precursors to many mental illnesses ranging from short term memory loss and loss of concentration, through to depression, increased suicide rates, bi polar disorders and schizophrenia, and in the longer term, even Alzheimer's Disease. (The single biggest predictor of the onset of Alzheimer's Disease is now known to be brain size ten years prior to the first outwards symptoms of the disease. Lack of appropriate fats feeding this fat-based organ results in shrinkage of the brain and eventually to dementias such as Alzheimers.)
Numerous essential Vitamins will not be absorbed by the human body unless accompanied by fats. These include the fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E and K. No matter how many vitamin supplements you take, or how many vitamin rich fruits and vegetables you eat, if you have a low fat diet you will eventually suffer the degenerative diseases caused by vitamin deficiencies. Osteoporosis is one of the many of these degenerative diseases. Calcium requires the presence of Vitamin D to be absorbed in your intestines, and the presence of Vitamin K to "glue" it into your bone mass.
Animal fats also contain trace minerals. The human body is believed to require sixty different minerals for proper function and these must come from food sources. (Most "multi-mineral" supplements contain only ten to twelve minerals.) Many of these minerals required for proper cellular function are rare, so when available the body stores them in your adipose (fat) cells for later use. Eating animal fats therefore increases your intake of important yet often rare mineral nutrients.
If you observe a person who has maintained a low fat diet for an extended period, you will almost certainly note that their skin becomes dry and flaky. It is far more easily damaged. It loses it's elasticity. A low fat diet is the pathway to wrinkles, the "old age" look and other skin disorders.
Scientific studies now confirm that certain fats act very similarly to anti-oxidants and are potent cancer fighters and preventers. Omega 3 and CLA - Conjugated Linoleic Acid, are your vital anti-cancer fats. (Admittedly it is equally true that certain fats can cause cancer. More about that a little later.)
Your eyesight is very dependent in dietary fats. The single greatest cause of Macular Degeneration (a form of gradual blindness usually associated with age, and increasingly prevalent in western societies) is lack of Omega 3 oils in the diet. The eye's macular, when healthy, is coated with Omega 3 oil. In the absence of Omega 3 in the diet, other fats/oils take its place and degeneration of your eyesight begins. Once it begins, it is irreversible. Although reintroduction of Omega 3 may stop or slow the progress of the blindness, it will not reverse the damage already done. Remember that Omega 3 is one of the two ESSENTIAL fatty acids. That means the human body cannot create it out of other ingredients. It must be obtained from your diet.
Both of the Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6) have functions for stimulating eicosanoids - hormone-like substances that boost the human immune system. If you have a low fat diet, and particularly if it is low in these two essential fats, your immune system will be compromised. (Important note - excessive Omega 6 in relation to Omega 3 produces the opposite effect. It weakens the immune system and leads to many inflammatory diseases, oxidative damage, and ultimately heart/cardiovascular diseases and cancers. Although Omega 6 is essential to human nutrition, excessive levels are dangerous - and is probably the single most widespread dietary fault in western society. Omega 6 oils are the predominant oil in most seed/grain/legume oils. Unfortunately, Omega 3 is lacking in most western diets and requires deliberate attention in your diet to ensure health.)
Insufficient Omega 6 fats in your diet will result in Diabetes. (It is important to note that Diabetes has other causes, too. Intake of Omega 6 does not of itself prevent diabetes from these other causes.)
The above list of the reasons you must have fats in your diet is not comprehensive, though should give you an insight into the importance of fats in your diet and the health dangers of low fat diets.
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