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Dr. Mercola's Nutrition Plan
Dr. Mercola's Nutrition Plan
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Dr. Mercola's Nutrition Plan
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Fats: Why Healthy Dietary Fat Is Crucial

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The media and public health authorities have been promoting misinformation about fats for over 50 years, advising low-fat diets, while encouraging avoiding foods like coconut oil and butter. But now, the nutritional myth that fats – saturated fats, in particular – are bad for you is falling apart due to the steady stream of compelling research that contradicts this.

People have eaten animal products for most of our existence on Earth – the early cavemen were hunter-gatherers who consumed mostly meats and plants.  So to suggest that saturated fats are suddenly harmful to us makes no sense, especially from an evolutionary perspective.

You NEED (Healthy) Dietary Fat

It can be quite confusing to learn which fats are actually good for you, so let me set the record straight. Saturated fats are the healthy fats found in animal products like butter, cheese, whole raw milk, and fatty meats.

However, you must be vigilant against hydrogenated vegetable and seed oils, which are unsaturated fats that have been artificially manipulated into saturated fats. These are also known as trans fats, which interfere with your insulin receptors and put you at risk of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

The reason why saturated fats have been unfairly demonized for such a long time is due to a flawed study by an influential but misguided scientist, Dr. Ancel Keys, who erroneously linked higher saturated fat intake to higher rates of heart disease. The truth is that saturated fat found naturally in animal and plant sources is not the villain –   it’s the trans fats found in margarine, vegetable shortening, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils used in low-quality products that are to blame. These are the unhealthy fats that you must avoid at all costs.

So what are the best sources of healthy dietary fat? Animal fats are a great source, as they contain beneficial levels of omega-3s. Other healthy choices you should include in your diet during this phase are:


Grass-fed meats

Pastured butter ideally from a local farmer (but Kerry Gold if purchased from a grocery store)

Organic pastured egg yolks

Coconut and MCT oil

 Raw cacao butter

Raw nuts, such as pecans and macadamia


The latest science recommends that healthy fats from these sources should comprise anywhere from 50 to 85 percent of your overall energy intake. However, remember that fat is high in calories but small in terms of volume. So when you look at your plate, the largest portion will still be vegetables.

Carbohydrates Versus Fats—What Really Makes You Pack on the Pounds?

For the last five decades, Americans have been told to eat a diet high in complex-carbohydrate and low in saturated fats. Even people with diabetes have been told to get 50 to 60 percent of their daily calories in the form of carbohydrates!

At the same time, healthy high-fat foods are shunned because of their perceived health risks.

This is the exact opposite of what a person with diabetes – or any person, generally – needs to stay healthy. In fact, this shift to a more grain-based diet has led to increased rates of obesity, diabetes, and chronic diseases.

A 14-year study involving 27,000 people between ages 45 to 74 confirms this. It found that those who consumed eight servings of full-fat dairy products a day cut their risk of diabetes by 25 percent compared to those who ate fewer servings. Another study published in 2010 also suggested that palmitoleic acid, which naturally occurs in full-fat dairy products, protects against insulin resistance and diabetes.

Just take a look at the many benefits of healthy fats:

Provide building blocks for cell membranes, hormones, and hormone-like substances

Aid mineral absorption, such as calcium

Function as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K

Support conversion of carotene into vitamin A

Help to lower cholesterol levels (palmitic and stearic acids)

Act as antiviral agent (caprylic acid)
Provide optimal fuel for your brain and heart Increase satiety Modulate genetic regulation and help prevent cancer (butyric acid)

Burning healthy fats for fuel are crucial for your brain function. In fact, your brain cannot function properly without fats. Meanwhile, overindulging on sugar and grains leads to neural impairment and damage, in part because it blunts insulin signaling.

Omega-3 fats in particular are essential for optimal brain health. However, few people get enough through diet, and are instead overloading on polyunsaturated omega-6 fats. In fact, omega-3 deficiency has been found to be a significant underlying factor in as many as 96,000 premature deaths every year which is the biggest killer of Americans today.

Part of the problem is that many people eat too many inflammatory omega-6 fats (like vegetables oils) and too few anti-inflammatory omega-3s, setting the stage for diseases and health problems.

Keep in mind that the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-6 fats is 3-1:1. In this phase, you should evaluate your diet and reduce your intake of omega-6 rich foods, if necessary, in order to meet this ratio.

One of the easiest ways to maintain your omega 6:3 ratio is to regularly eat healthy fish like Alaskan salmon, sardines or anchovies as they fish are lower in toxins. You can also take a krill oil supplement. The phospholipids attached to the omega-3s in krill aid its absorption so you don’t need to take large amounts.

Compared to fish oil supplements, krill oil has 50 times more of the antioxidant astaxanthin, which preserves the omega-3 fats and prevents oxidation, allowing for better absorption. Another benefit of krill oil is that it does not cause burping or belching, like other fish oil supplements do.

How will you know if you are getting the right amount of omega-3s? Well, typically, omega-3 deficiency manifests through certain symptoms like:

Mental fog


Weight gain

Brittle fingernails

Allergies Arthritis
Poor quality of sleep Memory problems
Dry hair Dry skin
Lack of concentration Fatigue

If you start taking krill oil and increasing your intake of omega-3 rich foods during this phase, you may notice that one or more of the above symptoms improve – this is a very good sign. However, if you’ve been taking krill oil for a while already, and your symptoms return for no apparent reason, then it may be because you are taking too much krill oil. Stop for a short while to help your body eliminate the oil and then resume at a lower dose.

Remember: if you’re pregnant, then consuming enough omega-3 fats is especially important, as they’re crucial for your baby’s visual and cognitive development. Omega-3s also play a significant role even after delivery and while breastfeeding. Low levels of omega-3 are linked to an increased risk of postpartum depression, while in children, omega-3 supplementation early in life was found to heighten intelligence.

Hence, if you don’t regularly eat omega-3 foods like wild Alaskan salmon or sardines, I recommend supplementing with krill oil before and during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding. Remember that infants receive the vital omega-3 fat DHA through your breast milk, so if you can continue breastfeeding through at least the first year, this will give your baby a great head start for success in life.

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