Friday, August 24, 2007

Dietary Fat ---Can it be part of a WLS diet?

This is my 100th post---not too shabby for an old country girl. I wanted to make it a good one, although highly controversial.

No where on this earth is the low fat dogma stronger than among my fellow WLSers. The bariatric centers tell you to follow what boils down to a low carb diet, but without fat. You will hear shouted by everyone---lean clean protein. Many are finally coming around to the idea of leaving off the carbs, although they are still stuck in the old whole grain mentality. When telling them to increase their fat intake---I hit a huge stone wall.

Most of my fellow WLSers are professional dieters. We have tried everything under the sun to lose weight over the years. Only finding ourselves that much fatter and our metabolism completely screwed up. So as a final resort, we have WLS. But most are still in that diet mode mentality. Which has always been, eat less, exercise more and cut the fat.

Science does not support this theory. Dietary fat, especially saturated fat, is crucial to the body functioning. Being that all WLSers are deficient in fat soluble vitamins, you would think they would "get it", and start upping their dietary fat intake. It just boggles my mind to see how deeply this behavior is imprinted on each of them.

Dr Mike Eades had a very moving post about the phenomenon of meme as it applies to the idea of weight loss.

To lose weight you need to eat less and exercise more » Michael R. Eades, M.D.: "that it is an element of culture or a system of behavior that passes from one person to the next non-genetically, but more like a virus. Some ideas become memes; some don’t. The ones that do can become extremely powerful. In fact they can become so powerful that, like a deadly virus, they can kill their host."

Eat less and exercise more

Did you ever wonder where that idiotic advice came from? You hear it everywhere. From your own doctor, from your next door neighbor, from the health writers in all the major papers, from just about anyone you ask. How’s the best way to lose weight? Eat less and exercise more.

Would it surprise you to learn that there is no scientific evidence that people can lose weight by eating less and exercising more? Sure, there are studies showing that it works for the short term, but who wants to put the effort into losing weight for the short term. We all want long-term, i.e., permanent, weight loss. There are no studies showing that eating less brings about permanent weight loss and no group of studies demonstrating that increasing exercise promotes weight loss. So, how does one achieve permanent weight loss? It’s easy. Ask anyone. Eat less and exercise more.

Since there is no evidence that the eat-less-exercise-more strategy works other than for the very short term, how did it become so entrenched in the minds of so many? It did it by the same means that the idea that a low-fat diet is optimal for health (another unproven hypothesis, that if anything has been shown to be just the opposite) got traction. It is a meme.

This is all just stuff that has been passed around so long---without proof mind you---that everyone believes it. As Dr Mike said---it is the same with the idea of low fat being good for you---or that saturated fat is bad for you. It is simply not the case. Dietary fat should be a part of everyone's eating plan. I want to focus on the WLSers though.

Dumping Syndrome is a big worry post-WLS. Most run into this as it applies to sugar or higher glycemic foods. I have a serious problem with it. Also many have problems with dumping after a fatty meal. My question to them---what else have you eaten that day? How many are on some form of fiber daily or fiber supplement's? How many use SF processed foods or artificial sweeteners? These two things alone can cause the symptoms most describe they suffer after a higher fat meal. This being typically gas , bloating and nausea. What makes you sure it is the rib eye steak you just ate and not the bowl of Fiber One you had for breakfast or that fiber and artificial sweetener loaded protein bar you had or that bowl of oatmeal you had for breakfast? My theory is---you are so entrenched in the old fat is evil mindset it has to be the fat causing it.

Then you have those post-ops who get nauseated just by the smell of frying foods. I'm one of them. Fried foods are no where near being in the same ball park as a nice juicy fatty steak. Fried foods are a big NO NO for ANYONE---all that trans fat is just wrong. That being said---a good old baked chicken thigh, with the skin, is better nutritionally than a boneless, skinless, broiled chicken breast. The chicken breast is a staple for most WLSers. They wouldn't dream of eating a thigh with the skin and only have steak on very rare occasions. Which only leads to more anemia. They even take great recipes for meatloaves and substitute ground turkey for the ground beef. All this in the name of lowering the fat content. They are also lowering their iron intake at the same time. Then they take perfectly good recipes and tweak them to lower the fat content--like homemade salad dressings. Apparently loading up on the carb laden low fat versions of sour cream, yogurt, and mayo is ok.

Saturated dietary fat is GOOD for the body. It does not cause heart disease---carbs do that. It does not cause obesity---carbs do that. It does not cause diabetes---carbs do that. Here are some great benefits of saturated dietary fat:
  • Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50% of the cell membranes. They are what gives our cells necessary stiffness and integrity.

  • They play a vital role in the health of our bones. For calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure, at least 50% of the dietary fats should be saturated.

  • They lower Lp(a), a substance in the blood that indicates proneness to heart disease. They protect the liver from alcohol and other toxins, such as Tylenol.

  • They enhance the immune system.

  • They are needed for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids.
    Elongated omega-3 fatty acids are better retained in the tissues when the diet is rich in saturated fats.

  • Saturated 18-carbon stearic acid and 16-carbon palmitic acid are the preferred foods for the heart, which is why the fat around the heart muscle is highly saturated. The heart draws on this reserve of fat in times of stress.

  • Short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids have important antimicrobial properties. They protect us against harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract.
Calcium problems are big after WLS as we discussed in a previous post. According to this 50% of your fat intake needs to be saturated for calcium to work properly. A strong argument to up your dietary fat for post WLS for sure. Also the benefits on the immune system is critical too for post WLS. Many of us have a suppressed immune system due to our poor nutritional status caused by the malabsorption. Ask many of my fellow WLSers how many colds they get each year.

The biggest argument against dietary fat has always been that it increases your chances of heart disease. WRONG!!!

The cause of heart disease is not animal fats and cholesterol but rather a number of factors inherent in modern diets, including excess consumption of vegetables oils and hydrogenated fats; excess consumption of refined carbohydrates in the form of sugar and white flour; mineral deficiencies, particularly low levels of protective magnesium and iodine; deficiencies of vitamins, particularly of vitamin C, needed for the integrity of the blood vessel walls, and of antioxidants like selenium and vitamin E, which protect us from free radicals; and, finally, the disappearance of antimicrobial fats from the food supply, namely, animal fats and tropical oils. These once protected us against the kinds of viruses and bacteria that have been associated with the onset of pathogenic plaque leading to heart disease.

While serum cholesterol levels provide an inaccurate indication of future heart disease, a high level of a substance called homocysteine in the blood has been positively correlated with pathological buildup of plaque in the arteries and the tendency to form clots—a deadly combination. Folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and choline are nutrients that lower serum homocysteine levels. These nutrients are found mostly in animal foods.

The best way to treat heart disease, then, is not to focus on lowering cholesterol—either by drugs or diet—but to consume a diet that provides animal foods rich in vitamins B6 and B12; to bolster thyroid function by daily use of natural sea salt, a good source of usable iodine; to avoid vitamin and mineral deficiencies that make the artery walls more prone to ruptures and the buildup of plaque; to include the antimicrobial fats in the diet; and to eliminate processed foods containing refined carbohydrates, oxidized cholesterol and free-radical-containing vegetable oils that cause the body to need constant repair.

I am most definitely in the minority in the WLS community with my views on dietary fat. I hope those of you reading this blog will check out some of the following links to learn of the science behind what is really a healthy diet---and low fat is definitely not a part of it.

Minds set in concrete
This one is really enlightening about why it is so hard to change people's way of thinking.

The Skinny on Fats

Framingham follies.

The Oiling of America

The Importance of Saturated Fats for Biological Functions

Know Your Fats: An Example of Junk Science

Effects of a carbohydrate-restricted diet on emerging plasma markers for cardiovascular disease

Comparison of isocaloric very low carbohydrate/high saturated fat and high carbohydrate/low saturated fat diets on body composition and cardiovascular risk

The effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet (high fat)on the polycystic ovary syndrome: A pilot study

Eat Fat And Grow Slim

Top Ten Nutritional Myths, Distortions and Lies That Will Destroy Your Health.

I'll leave you with those but will also give you some book recommendations.

The Great Cholesterol Con

The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It

Natural Health & Weight Loss

The Brain Trust Program: A Scientifically Based Three-Part Plan to Improve Memory, Elevate Mood, EnhanceAttention, Alleviate Migraine and Menopausal Symptoms, and Boost Mental

Good Calories, Bad Calories

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

Take your time and really do the research, don't get bogged down in low fat dogma. A higher fat diet CAN be a way of life after WLS---and it should be.