Recently, WDDTY interviewed Udo Erasmus, author of Fats that Kill, Fats that Heal (Vancouver, Canada: Alive, 1993) about the most effective ways to lose weight, based on the clinical evidence he has collected from patients taking essential fatty acids. Here is what he had to say.
The latest craze in America is for a high protein, low fat diet. But protein without good fats can be quite toxic. This was demonstrated in research performed in the early part of this century. Researchers starved dogs for several weeks, and then fed them protein foods on their own. The researchers discovered that the animals given protein alone died more quickly than those given nothing at all. However, when the researchers gave protein and oil rich in essential fatty acids, the dogs recovered rapidly.
The conclusion was that protein on its own is toxic to starved animals, probably causing liver and kidney damage. More recent research, mainly from Europe, has confirmed that high protein, low fat diets are extremely toxic. In weight loss, if you are not getting adequate essential fats, eventually you get liver and kidney problems.
This new high protein, no fat diet grew out of the widely held, but incorrect belief that eating protein builds muscle and eating fat makes you fat. However, the right fats essential fatty acids are also essential to weight loss. True essential fats suppress appetite. EFAs, particularly the omega-3 fats, cause your metabolic rate to increase, which helps to burn calories faster. You have more energy, are more likely to be active, less depressed and have fewer cravings, which make people overeat. Essential fats decrease inflammation, which means you lose fat and weight from water retention, as you do when you are allergic to food. They make you feel good, elevate your mood and make your skin feel soft and velvety. In other words, they make you more likely to want to take care of yourself.
Fat should represent from 15 to 60 per cent of calories, depending upon climate for the Inuit, EFAs represent 60 per cent of their calories. When fats comprise less than 10 per cent of your diet, your energy levels fall, your metabolism slows, you retain water and are more likely to get fat.
We consistently see results in people who need to lose weight once they begin taking 45-70 mls of mixed fats (a mix of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (the equivalent of 3-5 US sized tablespoons; 4 to 7 10 ml UK dessert spoons, or 2 to 3 1/2 UK sized tablespoons). You may need more in winter than in summer. With some of our patients who are seriously overweight, they lose weight even if they make no other change. However, the best results are achieved when the EFAs are part of an of a comprehensive diet.
This should include the following:
Increase your intake of greens. The starches from greens are harder to digest, the glucose is released slower and it is absorbed at the same rate as burned.
Eat the right fats. Saturated fats from animal sources and also from palm oil are not essential for your health. These fats, many of which tend to become solid at room temperature, are difficult to digest, which is why they are often stored in the body, increasing fat deposits. They also block the use of essential fatty acids, which are essential to health.
Eat good quality protein, without hormones, pesticides and antibiotics. Most people should cut down a bit on the protein they eat. The problem with meat is not the red meat per se, but the white fat on it. White fat is only a problem if you aren't getting enough essential fatty acids. If you optimise your EFA intake, your body can take in more saturated fat without it doing damage. A good quick test of whether you have enough EFAs is the state of your skin. When you are getting enough, your skin is soft and velvety and no longer needs moisturiser. If it isn't that texture, you have to either cut down on your saturated fats or increase your intake of EFAs.
Besides eating first rate protein, make sure that proteins that you eat are properly digested. Those that are improperly digested usually cause inflammation, which causes swelling and water retention and ends up as excess weight.
It is almost always protein in food that causes allergies. We also suggest that patients take enzymes rich in proteases, with the protein meals. The combination of fats and enzymes help to improve gassiness, bloating, leaky gut (omega-3 oils improve gut integrity and decrease inflammation).
Evidence shows that omega-3 fats help to reduce or eliminate such allergic diseases as migraines and asthma. Oils are also helpful in candida since they have strong anti yeast and antifungal properies.
Enzymes compensate for cooking food. When food is raw, it contains elements that help to digest food. If you cook food and destroy enzymes, your body has more work to do.
The little research available on this suggests that up to half of food is self digested by its own enzymes, and the rest by your digestive juices. If you do cook, you should compensate by taking enzymes up to 10 capsules per meal.
Decrease carbohydrate levels to the level that you burn. If you are above normal body weight, you're usually eating too much carbohydrate. If you've taken in more glucose than you need, any excess not needed for energy will be turned into monounsaturated and saturated fats, which is why people gain weight.
Of course, there is no one diet for everybody. Some very active people burn lots of carbohydrate. It's a matter of knowing your own energy needs.