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Dr. Rick's Health Tip of the Month

December 1999

The Skinny on Fats

By Rick Allen, DC

Are all fats bad? Should I eat fat-free everything? No! Our bodies require fats to stay healthy. They are an essential component of cell membranes, the building blocks for hormones, and a major component of the brain. I recommend that 15 to 20 percent of the calories in your diet be from fat. Unfortunately, most Americans currently eat two to three times this amount. Worse, they eat the wrong types of fat.

It is common knowledge that excess fat make you fat and clogs your arteries, leading to heart attacks and other diseases. According to Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. in his recent book, Brain Longevity, "excess dietary fat has two devastating effects upon the brain: it impairs cerebral circulation, and it creates millions of free radicals that, literally over a lifetime, rot your brain.

Margarine is the highest source of fat for Americans. This is the absolute worst form of fat. It has been chemically transformed into a particularly destructive form of fat called "trans-fatty acid." One study referenced by Khalsa showed that women who ate four or more teaspoons of margarine per day had a 66-percent higher chance of contracting cardiovascular disease than women who ate about one teaspoon per month. Also, women who eat relatively high levels of these fats have a much higher probability of contracting breast cancer, the number-one cancer killer in women. When men eat this form of fat, they greatly increase their risk of prostate cancer. Therefore, I agree with Drs. Khalsa and Andrew Weil, M.D., who recommend we not use margarine at all.

I suggest:

  • Using small amounts of monosaturated olive, canola, and flaxseed oils.
  • Use a small amount of peanut oil for stir-fry cooking.
  • Avoid fried or processed foods.
  • Don't fall for the "fat-free" craze. These products are often highly processed and contain large amounts of sugar.

Dr. Rick Allen is a chiropractor, massage therapist and dance student who is located in Trout Lake Washington. Dr. Rick welcomes your questions and suggestions for future articles. However, he cannot make specific diagnoses or treatment recommendations unless you visit him in person. He can be reached by phone at 509-395-0024 in Trout Lake, or toll free at 1-888-247-3248, email or on the World Wide Web: www.CascadeWellnessClinic.com

DISCLAIMER: The information included in this website is meant to encourage thinking concerning choices of care for and insight pertaining to possible causes of various problems. It is not a prescription for or diagnosis of any disease or condition. Suggestions are based on the assumption by the writer that a thorough examination was done previously and the reader is under care by a healthcare professional. This information is not a substitute for a live doctor.

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