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Fat No Longer the Villain

Friday, June 09, 2017

A lovely Friday Pearl response note that I received last week from my ophthalmologist friend, Tom Mazzocco, MD, addressed the health benefits of keeping reasonable fats in our diets, which the Biosyntrx science team has always supported since it makes sound biological sense.

The following day I received the newspaper article featured below by a certified ocular nutrition specialist friend, Susan Summerton, OD. Dr. Summerton is also one of the founding board members of the Ocular Nutrition Society.

Fat, Once Vilified, Is No Longer the Villain

What should I know about fat in my diet?

Fats are macronutrients absorbed from food and used by the body to give us energy, regulate hormones and genes and help with brain and eye health. Adding fat to foods makes them tastier and more filling. Eating fat helps the absorption of the fat-soluble nutrients vitamins A, D, E and K.

We’ve been told that saturated fat is unhealthy, claimed to raise cholesterol levels and give us heart attacks. Science now shows most people can welcome meat, cheese, and eggs back into their diet. Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D., Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine and author of “Eat Fat, Get Thin,” reports studies show saturated fat is not linked to heart disease in the absence of refined carbs and sugar and in the presence of omega-3 fats.

What is the difference between saturated, trans fat, polyunsaturated and monosaturated fat?

Saturated fats contain a high proportion of saturated fatty acids. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature, very stable at high temperatures and excellent cooking fats. Foods that are high in saturated fat include fatty meats and lamb, lard, full fat dairy products like butter and cream, coconuts, coconut oil, palm oil and dark chocolate. 

Saturated fats have been shown to raise HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and change LDL from small, dense (the “bad”) to large LDL which are less likely to stick to arterial walls.

Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3s and omega-6s and need balance in the diet. It is a good idea to eat plenty of omega-3s (such as from fatty fish) that are more anti-inflammatory. Most Americans need to reduce their omega-6 (such as from seed and vegetable oils like soybean and corn oils) consumption, as they are more inflammatory.

Artificial trans fats are produced by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats to create a product with extended shelf life but are very harmful. Ingredient labels often list them as “partially hydrogenated” fats. Studies show that trans fats lead to insulin resistance, inflammation, and excess belly fat and raise the risk of heart disease.

Monounsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature. The most common is oleic acid, found in olive oil, best eaten cold such as over a salad. Olives, avocados, nuts and even pork and beef contain monounsaturated fat but also contain omega-6 polyunsaturated fat. “Fats” contain a combination of different fatty acids. No fat is pure saturated fat, or pure mono- or polyunsaturated.

What should I limit in my diet?

Dr. Hyman reports some people thrive on a high-fat diet; others need a moderate amount of fat; and still others do well with lower fat intake. He states most people do well eating the right kind of fat, especially diabetics. Eating the right types of fat helps you lose weight, while eating excess sugar and the wrong types of fat make you gain weight.

His recommendation for quality fats are avocados, nuts and seeds, wild fatty fish, grass-fed meat, extra-virgin olive oil.

Dr. David Perlmutter, MD, renowned Naples neurologist, states in one of his blogs, “saturated fat is good for the heart, brain, immune system and just about every aspect of human physiology you consider.”

The 2015–2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines no longer specify an upper limit for how much total fat you should consume calling it “no longer a nutrient of concern.” There are some exceptions to minimize saturated fat intake. The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation is to limit saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of total calories. The Dietary Guidelines encourage us to be more aware of the types of fats we eat, replacing saturated with mono- and polyunsaturated, and less about the total amount of fat we eat.

It can be a real struggle for people who want to eat healthy to decide which direction to turn. There is general consensus we should eat a quality fat, whole-food diet with mostly plants that’s lower in refined carbohydrates and added sugars and high in fiber.


You may not be able to have your cake and eat it, but you can have some butter with your veggies.

Susan Summerton, OD 

Ellen Troyer with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff


 Dr. Mazzocco reminded me that University of Maryland professor, Mary Enig, PhD, proved, more than 30 years ago, that some saturated fats (10 percent of total daily caloric intake) are an important part of a healthy diet. We recommend your saturated fats come from coconut oil or dairy products from grass-fed cows and meat from grass fed cattle and sheep, if budget allows. It's suggested to be much higher in stearic acid producing high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and lower in palmitic and myristic acid producing low-density lipoproteins (LDL) associated with consumption of feedlot corn and grain-fed cattle and sheep. 

Grass-fed beef is also lower in pro-inflammatory fatty acids than corn / grain-fed beef and two or three times higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which exhibits potent antioxidant activity. Meat and dairy from grass-fed animals also contain more vitamins and minerals, which naturally increases stability and shelf life.   

Managed grazing is suggested to make grass-fed animals environmentally sustainable, since it's now proven to increase carbon sequestration, improve soil health, improve runoff water retention and quality, and increase forage productivity.*

Mazzocco also reminded me how very hard it is to get fake (industry paid for) dietary studies out of the literature and nutrient-empty foods out of our supermarkets, which continue to push high-profit, center-of-the-market, overly processed foods versus nutrient-rich, around-the-supermarket-walls food (fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy) to the alarmingly large numbers of the nutrient-deficient public. 

Drawdown, the most comprehensive plan every proposed to reverse global warming, by Paul Hawken.

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