Wednesday, September 8, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Lose the (Saturated) Fat

 "In fact, reversing type 2 diabetes is very possible-if it isn't too severe.  Every person with diabetes should focus on a careful diet, one that limits concentrated sweets or sweeteners and is high in fiber and vegetables.  Optimal weight should be the goal, as excess weight and obesity makes control of blood sugar more difficult."

                                                             --Dr. Andrew Weil, MD

America has a fat problem.  We have become a nation of obese and overweight people. More than 1 in 10 Americans has diabetes.  More than 1/3 of Americans have prediabetes and if they do nothing about it, they will most likely progress to diabetes, a disease characterized by high blood sugar and a constellation of complications. 

Saturated fat is only found in foods from animals.  Saturated fat is solid at room temperature.  Remember that can of bacon grease your mother saved for cooking when you were growing up?  When you eat foods from animals, saturated fat sticks to the inside of your blood vessels, raises your LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol), narrows your vessels, and decreases blood flow (not good).

If you have diabetes or prediabetes, saturated fat blocks cells from using insulin correctly. It’s like putting chewing gum in the lock of your front door and trying to insert your house key into the lock.  Your key (insulin) won’t go in the lock. One of the best ways to reverse diabetes is to eliminate all animal products from your diet. Take the gum (saturated fat) out of the lock and BAM, the key (insulin) opens the door and allows the sugar in your bloodstream to enter the cells where it is needed for energy.   

I recently taught a workshop on this topic for adults with diabetes and prediabetes.  When people understand the “how” of how insulin is supposed to work and how detrimental animal fats are to someone with high blood sugars, it simplifies the decision to lose the saturated fats and move to whole food plant-based eating.

When you are ready to manage or even reverse your diabetes, stop eating all animal products.  Fat has 9 calories a gram, compared to 4 calories a gram for protein and carbohydrates.  Cutting out animal fats and eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes will automatically cut your intake of calories and put you on a path to a healthier weight.  Cut back on added oils and learn to cook with vegetable broth or water instead of added oils.  Then prepare to be amazed with your results!

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect