Hello everyone, I was wondering why plant-based doctors such as Dr.Esselytn and Dr.Mcdougall discorage the use of healthy fats, while others like Dr.Fuhrman encourages the use of fats to lose weight and for overall health. I find this to be confusing. Many of Dr.Mcdougalls recipes for dressings include salt and sugar which I'm trying to avoid. I think dressings made of avacodo, seeds, and nuts are healthier than dressings made of maple syrup and salty condiments like mustard and ketchup.
Thank you for your thought provoking question.
I would not want to speak for the other physicians but do know that Dr. Esselstyn was working with patients whose heart disease was so severe that they were basically told to go home, get a rocking chair and prepare to die. His low fat whole food plant based diet gave most of them an additional 20 plus healthy years of life. A recurring theme in many of Dr. McDougall's writings is that he does not condemn some salt and sugar if that is what it takes to get a person to give up eating meat, dairy, eggs, oil, processed foods, etc. Dr. McDougall is frequently quoted stating that "The fat that you eat, is the fat that you wear."
In my Starch-Smart System you will note that there are four levels to choose from depending on an individuals goals which vary from person to person. A healthy athletic teenager does not need to restrict their "healthy" fats in the same way that a person who is looking to reverse diseases or lose weight would.
I would suggest it is a good idea to download my PDF at https://www.drcarney.com/images/starch_smart/handouts/Starch-SmartSystemLevels.pdf and compare the various headings and how they change based on the levels: Starch-Smartish, Starch-Smart, Starch-Smarter and Starch-Smartest. In particular look at the headings "Oils, Nuts, Seeds, and other High-Fat Foods" and "Salt & Sugar." I believe you will find this a well balanced approach.
Also note that nut butters, like non-intact grains, are processed differently by your body. The fact that they have been pre-processed, they are digested too easily and not as much, if any, is left to feed your good gut microflora. So eating whole nuts and intact grains results in less calories consumed by you and more left over for your beneficial gut microflora.
It is important to understand that there are 'healthy fats' in ALL whole foods! For example:
1 c. of raspberries contains 16% of your daily value of omega 3's
1 c. garbanzo beans contains 15% of your daily value of omega 3's.
Zucchini is 16.1% of calories from fat and contains 8% of your daily value of omega 3's in 1 cup
1 cup Spinach is 14.3% calories from fat and contains 4% daily value of omega 3's
Fruit contains fat as well, albeit less than vegetables, but it does contain a small percentage of essential fatty acids, generally around 1-2% per fruit.
As you can see it is very, very easy to obtain all the essential fatty acids your body needs from whole plant foods even if you do not include any nuts, seeds, avocados, olives or coconut. All whole plant foods contain all the nutrients the body needs and you do not need to choose specific foods for protein or essential fats.
While avocado, nuts, seeds and other plant foods high in fat are whole foods and do contain high amounts of essential fatty acids they are also very high in calories which can hinder weight loss in those who are struggling with their weight. Fat is 9 calories per gram, whereas protein and carbohydrates are only 4 calories per gram. When you more than double the amount of calories in the same volume of food it can and does significantly impact weight loss. There are individuals who can consume these foods and do not have weight issues and that is perfectly fine but for individuals struggling with serious health conditions and excessive weight it is best to avoid these foods for optimal results. Hopefully that helps you understand where essential fats come from and that by avoiding nuts, seeds, avocados etc... it does not negatiavely impact your ability to obtain all the essential fatty acids your body needs.
Thanks for your response, I think I'll try starch smarter and work my way up to starch smartest. I never knew how hard it is to give up fats even healthy one's. I think I'll watch the videos you recommended.
Thanks Marky for the excellent advice you are giving to Christina. I am also proud of her for throwing away the peanut butter as peanuts contain 80% of their calories from fat and won't help her to reduce her cravings for high fat foods.
Today I discovered they are a trigger food for me. Last night I had a really bad craving for peanut butter. I had about 3 tablespoons, I had to throw it out before I binged on the whole jar. I think I will keep only flax seeds and chia in my house for now on.
I agree with Sean, great post Tandi. Lots of relevant information presented in an easy to understand format. I think this is valuable information for anyone who is considering reducing high fat whole foods like nuts, seeds and avocado but are worried about getting nutrients.
There is a lot of information out there, even among those who I consider in the healthy whole food plant based community. I try to look for the things that apply to me personally. For example, since I had high blood pressure and was on medication, I tend to be very strict with my sodium intake, even though some allow small amounts of added salt. Regarding healthy fats, I think Dr Carney stated this well. It depends on your current health goals and your current health situation. Also, some find some healthy fats to be a trigger food that causes them to comsume more calories than they intend, so you might want to limit them. However, if you've read How Not To Die, you may know that nuts do provide us with some really good health benefits, so I try to have a serving of them a day (a small handful).
Wow I didn't know that. I thought nuts were better for your digestion if they were blended. Thanks for the advice.
"better for your digestion" and "better for you" may not necessarily be the same. ?. I'm not sure if I know what "better for your digestion" means. Does it mean that you feel better? Does it mean that the food is digested better? ?
My target fat consumption is 10% of my total calories, and nut butters definitely make that target difficult to achieve.
Yes, my old standard vegan meal used to be peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I thought it was a really healthy meal, but now I'm learning it was mostly fat and sugar. Now I found new staples, since I brought the Forks over Knives book.
That was very well stated and we are grateful for your reply. Please feel welcome to provide these type of helpful replies any time. We are striving to provide a helpful (and healthful) sharing community here. Contributions like yours ensure that we do. :-)
Thanks the post Tandi, It makes a lot more since now.
This is a great thread! I am fairly new and had the very same question! Looking back from the beginning, I started out with going very strict no salt, oil, sugar, flour, dairy or meat. But I was eating avacado and nuts. at first I dropped the weight like shedding coats, then for three weeks it stabalized and I just couldn't lose anything. Not to mention I had a stomach, that when I had gotten down to that weight in the past on a low carb diet (YIKES) I didn't have the rounded gut like that... I was discouraged. then I switched to adding potato and other starches (which for me, coming out of the low carb camp, very difficult) and dropped the nuts and avacado, I still hadn't lost weight. But it must have worked. the batteries in my bathroom scale had died, I went about a week without weighing and when I finally did, to my great surprise, had dropped another 7 lbs! making my weight loss on the whole foods program 27, and down just under 50 from my all time highest! But getting to a pant size I hadn't seen in over 30 years was the real eye opener... so today, as I type, I was at a loss last weekend as to what to make for meals and I ended up purchasing an avacado to make massaged kale salad.. .I have yet to make it and am thinking to turn my kale into greens and beans this morning! :) perhaps my son will eat the avacado?
Just as a small added note, the difference in what doctors recommend can be due to what comprises the make up of their program. Dr. Fuhrman stresses more greens and vegetables as the food you should eat the most, and makes up calories by adding more nuts and seeds, which he feels are healthier than starch heavy foods like potatoes and rice. The more starch based doctors want more calories from starchier foods, so there is less room calorically for higher fat foods.
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