It really is the fight of the century: is a high-fat diet healthy… or is it making you fat? If you’ve seen the Plant Paradox YES and NO lists, you know that there’s no simple answer – there are fats and oils on both sides of the fence.
The YES list consists of a great many wonderful, naturally-derived fats and oils packed with incredible fatty acids, that are essential to making The Plant Paradox work for you as a way of life.
But, the oils on the NO list are chemically derived from lectin-bearing seeds or beans, which means you’ve got to avoid them at all costs.
Good Types of Fat to Eat (From the YES list)
- Algae oil
- Olive oil (watch my video HERE on how to get more EVOO in your diet!)
- Coconut oil
- Macadamia oil
- MCT oil
- Avocado oil
- Perilla oil
- Walnut oil
- Red palm oil
- Rice bran oil
- Sesame oil
- Flavored cod liver oil
… Or …
Bad Types of Fat to Avoid (from the NO list)
- Partially hydrogenated vegetable or canola
*Don’t forget you can still enjoy nut butters other than peanut butter –– like almond butter, walnuts butter, hazelnut butter, tahini (basically sesame seed butter), or pistachio butter.
Getting Started With Good Fats
Now, I really want to help you get off on the right foot with good fats. That means you’re going to have to limit your intake, initially. But after about two weeks, you’ll be able to reintroduce the fats and oils on the YES list.
For starters, cut down on all long-chain saturated fats. You’ve only got to do this to get started, so I’d say it’ll last for just the first two weeks. Of course, this means you’ll have to cut out most mono- and polyunsaturated long-chain fats at first too –
Furthermore, you’ll want to limit your consumption of the following high-fat dairy products that are packed with saturated fats –
- Cheese (only from European cows or US goat/sheep/buffalo)
- Sour cream
- Heavy cream
- Cream cheese (even from grass-fed animals)
Now, I’m giving you a lot of limitations, but rest assured I’ve got it all worked out for you. And remember, the limitations above are really just for the first two weeks of digging into The Plant Paradox plan.
There are great oils you can use during this period that will really help jump start your path to better health benefits:
Perilla oil is delicious. What does it taste like? It’s got a sort of minty, basil-y flavor with hints of licorice. It also happens to be high in rosmarinic acid (from aromatic rosemary), which has actually been shown to help improve brain function and memory.1
And, turns out, perilla oil also has an incredibly high content of alpha-linolenic acid.2 Alpha linolenic acid is a form of omega-3 fat used in the Lyon Heart Diet – more commonly known as a Mediterranean diet, and it’s been shown to help prevent heart disease even more than the low-fat American Heart Association diet.3
Now, it possible you’ve not yet seen perilla oil in your local grocery store, but it’s super easy to find at Asian markets or natural foods stores like Whole Foods. You can also order it online.
Another great substitution for olive oil and coconut oil as you get started is MCT oil. There are 4 strains of MCT fats found in coconut oil – caproic acid, caprylic acid, capric acid, and lauric acid – that are extracted and isolated from coconut oil to make MCT oil. MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, which is 100 percent composed of ketones.
Now, ketones are normally made from fat cells once your sugar supplies start running low. So at night, when you’re not eating, your bacteria draw on energy in the form of ketones – made from fat cells – and then, they can make essential stores of ATP through the night.
Why You Should Increase Your Intake of Good Fats
After your two-week limitations are up, you are going to be able to fully embrace all those wonderful good, healthy fats. But why would you want to? What will they do for you? Here’s a look at some of the highlights:
1. They Can Promote Weight Loss
Some “good” dietary fats have been shown to promote more weight loss than actual low-fat diets with equal calories consumed. Avocado oil and extra virgin olive oil (both great sources of monounsaturated fatty acids) have both shown incredible weight loss results. Eating more healthy fats and less of those foods that are instead high in sugar, also decreases your risk of insulin resistance, which can lead to high blood sugar issues and weight gain. 4,5
2. They’ll Make Your Skin Glow
Polyunsaturated fats like those found in fish oil, flaxseed oil, and perilla oil all contribute to something known as “membrane flexibility” – which means more flexible blood vessels and healthier looking skin. Olive oil has also shown incredible hydration effects due to being rich in omega fatty acids like oleic acid (omega-9) and linoleic acid (omega-6) as well as it’s high polyphenol antioxidant content.6,7 If you are curious about how fish oil and flaxseed oil are beneficial, read fish oil vs flaxseed oil.
3. They’ll Help Inflammation
Short chain saturated fatty acids – like those found in Ghee (butyric acid) and fish oil – have been shown to nourish the cells that line the gut. These fatty acids are also useful in preventing the inflammation that can cause weight gain.8
4. Help Prevent Damage to the Gut Wall
Removing lectins from your diet and replacing them with good dietary fats prevents the damage that lectins do to the gut wall.9A fact that is also commonly reflected in a glowing complexion.
5. They’ll Help You to Feel Fuller for Longer
What makes you feel full? It’s actually fat … not carbs. Fat promotes a sense of feeling full. This is because fat turns on hormonal “text messages” and sends them from the gut to the brain. These messages strongly communicate that the intake of total calories is now sufficient, and that the body can now stop eating.
6. They’ll Promote a Healthier Brain
The brain is approximately 60% fat! Half of that fat is composed of DHA polyunsaturated fatty acids, the primary component of fish oil.10 Another significant source of fatty acids in the brain is arachidonic acid, and one of the largest available sources of arachidonic acid is egg yolk!11,12
Well, ATP (or Adenosine triphosphate) is also known as the “molecular unit of currency” when it comes to cells transferring energy to one another. The thing about ATP is that all cells need it in order to function properly.13
MCT oil is also considered akin to liquid coconut oil, because it remains liquid – even at cold room temperatures (in fact, you should store both of these oils at room temperature.) Your body burns MCT ketones for fuel easily without turning them into body fat. Unlike regular coconut oil, it contains no long-chain fatty acids – that’s the stuff nasty lipopolysaccharides like to attach themselves to.
More Great Choices for the First 2 Weeks
In addition to perilla oil and MCT oil, you can load up on the following –
- Macadamia nut oil
- Walnut oil
- Avocado oil
- Thrive algae oil
- Citrus-flavored cod liver oil
And all the oils and fats on the YES list block LPS’ from invading your gut wall. LPS’ ride into your body from your gut on saturated fats. But these fats can’t get through without special transport molecules. The LPS’ cling to those transport molecules and hitch a ride to get through the gut wall.
So, the last thing you want are harmful LPS’ invading your body. That’s the reason you’ve got to limit even a few of the GOOD FATS – like olive oil – as you begin The Plant Paradox. But you can do anything for two short weeks, right?
False Advertising and Saturated Fats
Finally, I want to say a little something to anyone who’s committed to a Paleo or Ketogenic diet. Saturated fats are not actually good for you. Saturated fats can have a big impact on bad LDL cholesterol levels. (Click HERE for my blog post on how to do the keto diet right!)
In fact, a recent study shows that saturated fats, like lard, actually increase appetite by delivering LPS’ to the brain’s hunger center.14 This sends a signal to your brain that your body’s not satiated. We don’t want that, now do we?
But, polyunsaturated fats like fish oil do the exact opposite. Instead, these polyunsaturated fats send signals to your brain that help you moderate your food intake. They can also have a positive effect on your good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) levels. 15
Not all fatty acids are created equal. Some fats can really help you find your way to greater health benefits and longevity. Stick to the YES list for dietary guidelines when discovering new recipes and figuring out how to cook for yourself on The Plant Paradox eating plan. But, remember, even those fats have to be introduced at the right time.
Don’t be fearful about the calories in healthy fats. How many calories you consume definitely matters, but it’s far more important to look at where those calories are coming from – an avocado is not comparable to eating 8 Twizzler straws, though their calories may appear to be similar.
Finally, healthy fats are great for helping absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from vegetables, fish, and red meats. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all considered to be fat-soluble vitamins.
Want to learn about more health benefits from Dr. Gundry?
Healthy Substitutions for Your Favorite Lectin-Rich Foods
Article updated: November 5, 2018