Fats – The Final Food Group
The Canadian food includes a small note on oils and fats, indicating that one should consume no more than 2-3 tablespoons of unsaturated fat daily, and this fat should come from sources such as canola oil, vegetable oil, olive oil and soft margarine. It further suggests limiting butter, lard, hard margarine and shortening.
Fats have been given an extremely bad rap in the past few decades, and were mistakenly identified as a major contributor to cardiovascular disease and obesity. In recent years, it has become clear that diets high in grains and other carbohydrates (like sugar) are much more dangerous. Healthy fats are essential, and cannot be removed from any diet without consequence. Try to consume fatty foods like nuts, seeds and avocados daily, but not in excess. Eat about a handful of nuts or seeds, or an entire avocado.
Make sure you’re choosing foods high in omega 3 fatty acids, as opposed to those high in omega 6 fatty acids, to dampen the body’s production of pro-inflammatory molecules. Vegetable oils, canola oil, most margarines and commercial salad dressings are high in omega 6 fatty acids, and should be avoided. Instead, make your own salad dressings out of olive, walnut, grapeseed, or avocado oil, and cook primarily with coconut oil, as it has a high smoking point. I also prefer butter to margarine, as it is quite low in inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids, and use it in moderation. Margarine on the other hand, is quite high in omega 6 fatty acids and should be avoided.
Fish oil is one of the most efficient ways to introduce high doses of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids into your diet, and is quite effective at reducing your bodies inflammatory response via the mechanism described above.
Avoid sugar, refined grains, and omega 6 fatty acids. Eat a whole foods diet consisting of foods your great grandmother would recognize at food. Dairy is not an essential part of a healthy diet, neither are refined grains. Fill your plate with non-starchy vegetables (50%) carbohydrates including fruit, starchy vegetables and non-refined grains (25%) and protein including meat, poultry, legumes and fish (25%). Avoid processed, inflammatory oils high in omega 6 fatty acids, and consume nuts, seeds, and healthy fats like avocado daily.
At the end of the day, eat if you’re hungry and follow these rules. Calorie counting will not be necessary if you follow these rules. Armed with this new food guide, head to the grocery store, fill your cart with whole foods, and enjoy!
Have a great day,
Dr. Kaleigh Anstett