This will be our last installment of this series. I’m still wildly enthused about nuts. And since fat is the essence of the debate, I would like to address the advantages, the benefits you get from eating some fat, and nuts happen to be one of the best forms of fat.
1 Dietary Fat helps you absorb nutrients from food. It includes fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, E, and K, and also carotenoids, including beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene. But, it also helps you absorb minerals. Realize that, overall, mineral absorption is poor. You absorb about 20% of the calcium in your food. You absorb 17% of the zinc. And under the best conditions, one absorbs about 10% of the iron. So, we are not very good at absorbing minerals. However, we absorb more minerals in the presence of fat, and that includes both macro-minerals and micro-minerals. The USDA tested this some years ago, and they found a straight-line correlation, meaning that the higher the diet was in fat, the more minerals got absorbed.
2 Dietary Fat helps your liver and gall bladder to release bile properly, and that aids your digestion, and it’s also good for those organs. There is a hormone called cholecystokinin that is released by your stomach when it receives fat, and that hormone tells your gall bladder to contract and empty. It’s also true that unhealthy fats are very bad for the gall bladder, and there are a lot of people who get in trouble that way. You probably realize how rampant gallstones are, affecting millions of people. However, the fact is that eating healthy fats in moderation is very healthy for gall bladder function, and it greatly prefers it over a low-fat diet.
3 Dietary Fat is the most satiating foodstuff. It is much more satiating than any kind of carbohydrate. And keep in mind that I am not opposed to carbohydrate. But the thing that really tells you that you have eaten and that you don’t have to eat any more for a while is fat. Fat hits the bullseye of your appetite like nothing else does. And it’s important to have the feeling of feeling satisfied. I meet people who tell me that as soon as they put their fork down at the end of a meal, they are already thinking about the next meal. That isn’t normal- especially not for a human being. There are plenty of animals that largely eat all day, but we are not one of them. We are definitely intermittent feeders. And just as it’s important to have a healthy appetite for food, it’s also important to have times where food is completely absent from your mind, where you are entirely focused on other things. It’s about balance, and I am absolutely sure that the best way to get to a healthy balance in your attitude towards food is to include some wholesome fats in your diet, and there are none better than nuts.
4 Dietary Fat, speaking of wholesome ones, tend to be thermogenic, where they tend to increase bodily metabolism and actually increase fat-burning. Extra virgin olive oil, for example, tends to be thermogenic. Loma Linda University has probably done the most research on nuts, and they found that nuts tend to be thermogenic. They found that the more servings of nuts that people ate, the lower their body fat. Some have tried to dispute this by saying that it was because they were eating nuts instead of other things that are worse. And my response to that is: I agree, and so what? The results still speak for themselves.
5 Dietary Fat, the good ones, are known to have specific therapeutic effects, which have reportedly included mood elevation, better sleep, improved immunity, and even cardio-protective effects. Yes, fat can protect your heart. It’s also well known that fatty acids are the preferred fuel of the heart. Your heart muscle has more mitochondria than any other muscle, and those little energy generators prefer fat for fuel.
And the body can run very well on fat. I have experience with fasting, and during fasting, the body is running largely on fat, and the longer a person fasts, the more the body steers its metabolism towards fat-burning: preferentially.
So, I think that Drs. McDougall and Esselstyn are wrong about fats in general, and they are wrong about nuts, in particular. I eat raw nuts every day and have for decades. And I will continue to eat nuts every day- for the rest of my life.