The Importance of Eating Fat
FeaturingSusan DeLaney, ND, RN
Rebekah Kelley: Welcome to the Humanized podcast, all about personalizing your health. I’m your host, Rebekah Kelley, and today our topic will be The Importance of Eating Fat, with Dr. Susan DeLaney. Before I introduce Dr. DeLaney, I want to remind everyone to subscribe and get all the other variety of casts in audio, video and transcription at HumanizedHealth.com. I’d also like to thank our lead sponsor, Village Green Apothecary, at MyVillageGreen.com.
A little bit about Dr. Susan DeLaney. She’s practiced naturopathic medicine in North Carolina for over three decades. Over the years, she’s observed that the health of many people, including children, has greatly declined while the number of prescriptions has dramatically increased. By using a natural approach to healing, she’s able to help people become less dependent on prescription drugs and improve their health and vitality. In her practice, as well as in her lectures, Dr. DeLaney inspires people using up-to-date nutrition science to take personal responsibility for their own health journey. Dr. DeLaney is passionate about educating individuals and their healthcare providers about the benefits of advanced nutrient therapy for balancing biochemistry, as well as the nutritional value of eating real food and healthy fats. Dr. DeLaney’s latest project, Your Health is No Big Thing, It’s a Million Little Things, provides links to 13 educational videos to help people learn more about healthy fats, the importance of fat-soluble vitamins, as well as simple changes individuals can make to improve their health.
Dr. DeLaney, thanks so much for being with us. It’s always such a pleasure.
Susan DeLaney: Thank you for having me. I’m very passionate about this issue of eating healthy fats in our diet.
Rebekah Kelley: Well, so then that goes right into the question. Is the “low-fat diet” a healthy diet?
Susan DeLaney: No, it’s not very healthy. And the reason is that when you eat a low-fat diet, you’re still kind of hungry. And so then you begin to substitute other foods for that to fill yourself up. And you’re filling yourself up with calories and sugar, and the food industry loves you – because if you can make a low-fat milk, then you can take the fat out of it and make ice cream. So you get a two-for-one. And you can put more sugar in it and do things like fat replacers and have amazing profits from doing this. But it’s really bad for you. The low-fat diet is just unhealthy, and one of the reasons is because it just doesn’t have many nutrients in it at all.
Rebekah Kelley: I remember you actually shared in one of the past podcasts about how important fat is for us to have it in our diet just to absorb nutrients. And so I’d love for you to talk a little bit about that. And also, have you heard of Weston A. Price? Because I went to one of their events last Sunday and they were very much talking about fats. And I would love to hear your perspective on that.
Susan DeLaney: Right. So I think in the last podcast I talked about the salad study where you can’t even absorb water-soluble nutrients like beta carotene and lycopene, which come in tomatoes and carrots. That if you don’t put fat on those things, you can’t absorb them. So, the Wendy White study at Iowa State University… you can look that up, it’s online. So we need it to absorb nutrients and minerals in our diet. But the fats themselves have vitamins in them. And when I told a friend of mine that she goes, what? There’s vitamins in butter? There’s vitamins in cheese? Yes. That’s the fat-soluble vitamins, and they’re called A, D, E and K2.
So, you mentioned Dr. Weston Price. He was a dentist in the early part of the century, 1900s, and so he took care of teeth when people still had healthy teeth, extracting some and doing some fillings, but he noticed that the teeth of the children of these people were starting to decay and become crooked. Noticed that people who ate traditional diets didn’t have crooked teeth. They had straight teeth and they were white and he said they looked like piano keys. So in the 1920s and ’30s, he started to travel around the world. His son was a National Geographic photographer, so he had this opportunity to go, and he’s written a book about this, where he compared the teeth of people on the traditional diets who were not exposed to food, like from missionaries, like canned milk and sugar and white flour. So he got to see the real health and the teeth of these people before this was introduced in their lives. And so he has pictures, he has documents of this time, and he also sent the food back to his lab in the States and analyzed the food that they were eating.
It turns out even then that the food contained 10 times more fat-soluble vitamins. Ten times. That’s the ’20s and ’30s. And then we introduced the low fat, so let’s say we are getting a lot less, probably 20 times less, maybe more than that, and four times less minerals in the food that we’re eating right now. Again, back to that refined thing that we talked about in refining flours, you just don’t get the minerals. So, the book is called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, and it’s a really, really important book that I would ask anyone who’s interested in health, and the public health in particular, to look at.
So, he introduced this idea that these fat-soluble vitamins work together. Okay? So, three of them. I’ll give you an example of how that works. Vitamins A, D and K2. You can think about it as like a little triangle. And so what vitamins A and D do is they lay down the bone matrix, the collagen. So that is the scaffolding or the structure that bones and teeth, your face bones, all of them are made. And so then the K2 helps put the calcium, it drives the calcium there. I call it, K2 is the Uber driver for calcium, in putting it in the right place – so you don’t have kidney stones or calcified arteries. So that’s how they work together, but they all have separate individual things that they do, as well.
Rebekah Kelley: Very cool. So is there any other role that fat plays in health that we didn’t talk about, that maybe is important as part of this podcast?
Susan DeLaney: First of all, it gives you energy. The first thing that people do when they go on the higher fat diet that I request them to go on – wow, my fatigue is gone. That’s amazing. So they’re getting energy from the fuel of the fat and they’re getting fat-soluble vitamins. But if you eat a high-processed sugar diet, it just gives you lots of energy. It’s remarkable, and you get that energy – but then it goes down.
Rebekah Kelley: You crash.
Susan DeLaney: You eat it again. Crash, crash, crash, crash, up and down all day long. But if you eat a high-fat diet, and that’s just the Mediterranean diet, is a higher-fat diet, then you have more energy throughout the day and it rolls instead of jerks you around like, oh gosh, now I need another soda and a candy bar. Yes, it does give you energy. So, I think that’s really important that people know that and that you get these fat-soluble vitamins. That’s really important.
Rebekah Kelley: So you talked about what the fat-soluble vitamins do for your bone structure, and obviously it sounds like you get sustained energy. Are there other things that are going to make you thrive with your health, getting the fat-soluble vitamins, that we should also discuss during this podcast?
Susan DeLaney: Right. So, all of these vitamins have hundreds of things that they do well, but let’s go to a few things that they do, in this podcast.
So, people are probably familiar with vitamin A as preventing blindness. There are organizations around the world that are giving children vitamin A so they don’t go blind. A simple thing to do. We should be getting it from our food. So, it’s called retinol, actually vitamin A is called retinol. In lieu of that idea, I mean, as part of that idea that it does help prevent blindness.
But the most important thing, I think, that vitamin A does, it regulates your genes. And people go, what does that mean? So, we have genes. Every cell has that. 22,000 genes have a structure, every one of them, but you can turn them on and off all the time. And food changes your genetic… we call it epigenetic. So here we are looking in medicine at the genes, and we forgot to turn around and look over here and see that they have switches. And those switches are regulated by vitamin A. I’d say almost everybody in this country is vitamin A deficient, as well as vitamin D. So, you can have the gene for Alzheimer’s, but you don’t have to turn it on. It gets to be turned off at times too, if you’re eating really good food. So, vitamin A is important for your immune system, regulating T cells, healthy reproduction – sex hormones need vitamin A. And in this country, a third of the women are having difficulty getting pregnant, and the sperm count in men has gone down 50% in the last 50 years. It’s probably related to this deficiency of vitamin A. So, everyone needs more sex hormones, I think, or happy ones, as well. It’s really important again for our immune system as, as well. And we used to give cod liver oil to pregnant women and also children to prevent infections. So, we know it’s really important for infections.
Rebekah Kelley: Oh, my mom would have me and my brother, like we’d be stacked up, you know, once a day to get that cod liver oil. And I got used to taking it, and I don’t know what happened to that. I don’t do it anymore.
Susan DeLaney: You can buy it in capsules. Let’s put it that way. That might be why you don’t do it. But you can get it in capsules.
So the next one is vitamin D, which has like a thousand different receptors in the body, as well. And we know that when you’re low in vitamin D, you’re more susceptible to viral illnesses, like the flu, and covid as well. So that’s why vitamin D has been touted as one of the important things that you need for preventing infections. Just like we know bones, that’s what we think of for vitamin D. But depression and mental illness is a really important thing that vitamin D helps prevent.
Rebekah Kelley: And if you notice right now everyone’s talking about how mental health providers are maxed out. You can’t get an appointment. So, this could be part of it, right? We’re deficient in certain things and then we need mental health help and maybe there might be a little bit of help just in having the right nutrition.
Susan DeLaney: Exactly. A lot of help. And in fact, I’ve given vitamin D to people for other reasons. And then they come and tell me, oh, I didn’t have my seasonal affective disorder this year.
So, it’s important for preventing arthritis. People with just knee pain come in and they’re vitamin D deficient, and once they start taking that – I usually give them cod liver oil for the vitamins A and D – it really helps reduce joint pain. Muscle weakness, also. Heart disease. High blood pressure. So maybe just taking cod liver oil and minerals will help reduce your incidence of high blood pressure. And it’s also useful for diabetes and autoimmune diseases, across the board.
So the next one people forget about is vitamin E, which is very useful as an antioxidant and helps [with] reducing inflammation, as well. It’s just like the other fat-soluble vitamins, important for your immune system, your cardiovascular system, and reproduction. So again, all these fat-soluble vitamins are doing all those same things, but what’s really important about vitamin E is it helps prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. NAFLD is the new term. And we are having more liver cirrhosis in this country by processed foods and sugar than we are having with alcohol. And it’s the number one leading cause of transplants in this country now. It’s like, what? We’re having liver transplants from eating sugar and processed foods? Yep. And Dr. Robert Lustig says that 85% of the people in this country are walking around with fatty liver disease and they don’t know it. And it’s causing liver damage. So that’s really another good reason to save your liver, by stopping to eat these foods.
And then finally, let’s talk about K2. You know of K1 because it’s important for blood clotting. But K2 is really an under-recognized nutrient. And as I said before, it’s the Uber driver for putting calcium into your bones instead of your kidneys and your heart. And there’s a study called the Rotterdam Study, which was started in 1990, still ongoing, and contains thousands of men, where they showed that if you have increased levels of K2, you decrease your mortality from cardiovascular disease by 51%. Do you know where you get K2? In real cheese, fermented cheese, like the kind that they eat in France. So you can reduce your cardiovascular disease mortality by eating cheese. Now, you were not told that, for sure.
Rebekah Kelley: No. And that’s the delicious way to manage heart disease, for sure.
Susan DeLaney: Yes. And you were talking about the French. They have the highest level of saturated fat in the world. They consume, shall I say. And they have the lowest cardiovascular disease mortality in the world. The Swiss are next. So, they have the second highest level of saturated fats in their diet and the second lowest cardiovascular mortality rate. Pretty interesting. So, my moral of that story is eat the cheese, butter, whole milk, whole yogurt, and, you know, liver, or take cod liver oil. Because all those nutrients are high in the cod liver oil. Or foie gras. Eat that. Pate, as they call it in this country. Yeah.
Rebekah Kelley: Love pate. Wonderful. Thanks Dr. DeLaney. These are really valuable insights. Dr. DeLaney can be found at www.TheWellnessAlliance.com. I’m going to spell that out. That’s T H E W E L L N E S S A L L I A N C E.com. Let me remind you to subscribe and get access to all Humanized videos, podcasts and transcriptions from all of our thought leaders on personalized health at HumanizedHealth.com.
Thanks so much for being with us.