Food can either work for you or against you. The right foods can help increase fat burning, improve hormonal balance, maximise metabolic rate, boost energy and improve health. There are other foods that will wreak havoc with hormones, halt metabolism and stop fat loss.
Today’s blog topic is about those “other” foods. This is often quite controversial. So first, I like to say, I write to share my research and what has worked incredibly well as a personal strategy for me and ProComp clients and athletes time and time again.
My Pro-Metabolic meal plans are based on the research of leading endocrinologist, Dr Ray Peat and many other scientific studies. I encourage you to read, research and listen to your body. It is important to observe how you feel, find out what works and ascertain what doesn’t work for you. Once conclusions are reached, I encourage everyone to focus on a nutritional strategy that will not only help you lose fat and look great, but will also improve your health, energy and overall body function.
As a coach encouraging a Pro-Metabolic approach, I recommend avoiding the consumption of PUFAs as much as possible. PUFA or Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids will slow down metabolism, slow fat burning, have a detrimental effect on aging and increase inflammation.
Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) are liquid vegetable oils. These are the fats commonly found in most processed foods, nuts and seeds. PUFAs have an insidiously detrimental effect on metabolism and can block hormone and energy production. PUFAs also block glucose from entering the cells.
The bottom line regarding PUFA’s…undertand this
Polyunsaturated fats significantly suppress energy metabolism and thyroid hormone. This will significantly contribute to weight gain. PUFAs inhibit cellular respiration by pushing cells toward lipid oxidation. This disrupt the body’s use of sugar causing direst damage to the beta cells of the pancreas that in turn leads to insulin insensitivity and high blood sugar. Basically, PUFA’s have an anti-thyroid effect on the body. This means that they will down- regulate metabolism, slow down fat loss, reduce available energy and increase the risk of degenerative illnesses.
“it is worthwhile to remember that the “essential fatty acids” suppress metabolism and promote obesity; are immunosuppressive; cause inflammation and shock; are required for alcoholic liver cirrhosis; sensitize to radiation damage; accelerate formation of aging pigment, cataracts, retinal degeneration; promote free radical damage and ecotoxicity; cause cancer and accelerate its growth; are toxic to the heart muscle and promote atherosclerosis; can cause brain edema, diabetes, excessive vascular permeability, precocious puberty, progesterone deficiency, skin wrinkling and other signs of aging.” — (Rob Turner. Functional Performance Systems – Errors in Nutrition: Essential Fatty Acids http://www.functionalps.com/blog/2010/12/19/errors-in-nutrition-essential-fatty-acids/ http://www.functionalps.com/blog/tag/pufa/.W
What foods are high in PUFA’s
PUFA’s are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are liquid oils. They include the following:
- Sunflower oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, hemp seed oil, soybean oil, fish oil (omega 3’s).
- Nuts and seeds.
- Legumes, soy products, chia and conventional battery caged poultry.
- Animal protein fed any of these grains.
- Processed foods from mayonnaise to dressings, baked goods and pastries.
- PUFAs are often found in fish like sardines swimming around in icy cold artic waters, salmon and other deep-sea fish living in colder waters. It is common belief that these fish must have higher levels of PUFA simply to avoid them from freezing into a solid in the artic environment.
- On the contrary, fish living in more tropical and temperate waters have highly saturated fats and are low in PUFA.
Modern diets can contain as much as 30% of calories as polyunsaturated oils. Scientific research indicates that this amount is far too high. The best evidence indicates that our intake of polyunsaturates should less than 4% of the caloric total.T
The Chemistry of PUFA’s
Polyunsaturated means that the fatty acid has more than one double bond in the carbon chain. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are chemically incomplete as they are missing hydrogen atoms. This is an important concept to understand as it results in the chain becoming unstable and prone to degradation, oxidation and free radicals. This is not good for thyroid gland functioning and metabolism …not good at all …
These fats are also unstable when exposed to oxygen, light and heat. They oxidise and spoil easily resulting in free radical damage both inside and out.
There are 2 types of PUFAs……Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. These are often referred to essential fatty acids.
Omega 3 fatty acids:
- Are found in shellfish, liver, fatty fish and in some seeds such as Flax Seed.
- Are healthy for us in moderation only!!
- Are found in small quantities in seeds, nuts, plants and fish in ice-cold conditions.
- Are healthy for us in even smaller quantities.
It is important to note that studies have found that Essential Fatty Acids are essentially toxic in warm-blooded oxygen breathing non-hibernating animals in concentrated amounts.
How do PUFA’s effect Metabolism and Fat Burning?H
The Thyroid gland is essential for a strong metabolism and the body’s production of energy. The thyroid produces T4 and T3. T4 is primarily converted to T3 in the liver. T3 is the active thyroid hormone and is used in cells and is referred to as the “hormone of respiration”. Polyunsaturated fats suppress the thyroid’s function on just about every level. Firstly, they block the secretion of thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland itself. Then they also block the transportation of the thyroid hormone within your bloodstream. Last but not least, they block cells from properly utilizing the hormone once it has been received.
Thyroid hormone is directly linked to metabolism. Metabolism controls energy expenditure and how much fat is burned.
How does PUFA consumption actually harm us?W
- PUFA’s suppress thyroid hormone production. A suppressed thyroid gland down-regulates metabolism resulting in slower fat burning, decreased protein synthesis and increased fat storage.
- Consuming excessive and concentrated PUFAs results in high levels of inflammation in the body.
- The majority of “age spots” on the skin are produced by the decomposition of the polyunsaturated fats.
- Unlike saturated fats, PUFA’s are yeast stimulants and are harmful to gut bacteria and candida.
- Oxidized or heated PUFA’s leads to free radical damage. This in turn leads to premature aging and degenerative conditions.
- Contains both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, PUFA’s are involved in atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.
- PUFA’s interferes with insulin sensitivity.
- Studies have linked PUFA and high levels of inflammation in the body to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, damage to the central nervous system, impaired learning, impaired wound healing, liver damage, digestive disorders and damage to reproductive organs.
Polyunsaturated fat tends to become oxidized when exposed to heat, oxygen or moisture. Rancid oils are characterized as free radicals. They attack cell membranes and red blood cells and cause damage to DNA strands. New research links free radical damage to premature ageing.C
Research shows that food cooked in vegetable oils contain as much as 100-200 times more toxic aldehydes than the safe daily limits. When PUFA oils are heated, the chemical structure changes and results in oxidization causing toxic byproducts. Coconut oil and organic butter does not oxidise when heated.
What We recommend
- Real natural food that does not contain artificial additives or have high levels of concentrated PUFAs.
- When cooking, only cook in healthy saturated cooking fats such as coconut oil or butter. I recommend avoiding canola, peanut oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil and vegetable oil. I know that this can be really confusing at times as many of these products are labeled as healthy and heart approved.
- I recommend avoiding all processed foods containing hydrogenated fats and polyunsaturated oils. Dr. Peat says that simply adding a good, healthy dose of coconut oil to your daily diet is an excellent way to combat the effects of leftover PUFAs stuck in your cells.
- AVOID PUFA’s found in vegetable oils, sunflower oil, canola oil, seed oils, salad dressings, margarine, mayonnaise, soy products, sesame seeds, puff pastry, bakery products, tofu, seeds, fish oils, chips, muesli bars and all processed foods.
- Reduce muscle meat.
ProComp’s Pro-Metabolic Meal PlansP
The ProComp Pro-Metabolic meal plans are low in PUFA’s and utilize saturated fats from coconut oils and butter. Eating a Pro-Metabolic nutritional plan will increase metabolic rate, increase energy, reduce oxidative damage and support weight loss.
There is no better time to improve your metabolism or balance your hormones! I recommend that you consider ProComp’s 12-week Boost and Shred Pro-Metabolic Meal plan program. This program is a perfect 12-week challenge. Using a Ray Peat Nutrition framework, it will help support fat loss by increasing metabolism and using nutrition that increases thyroid hormone conversion.
Some of the researchS
“The unsaturated vegetable fats, linoleic and linolenic acid and their derivatives, such as arachidonic acid and the long chain fish oils, have excitatory, stress promoting effects, that shift metabolism away from the oxidation of glucose, and finally destroy the respiratory metabolism altogether. Since cell injury and death generally involve an imbalance between excitation and the ability to produce energy, it is significant that the oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids seems to consume energy, lowering cellular ATP ”(Clejan, et al, 1986).
In experiments, PUFA deficient rats demonstrate a higher metabolic rate and PUFA fed rats always have low metabolism.(Rafael et al. 1988)
Matt Stone author of “Eat for Heat” makes a great analogy in reference to those who supplement with omega 3s to help specific ailments (localised joint pain or inflammation) –
“loading up your tissues with polyunsaturated fat is like giving a sniper a nuclear bomb to take out threats in which a simple long-range rifle would have been sufficient. Collateral damage big time. Yes” – Matt Stone. 2012Matt Stone: Eat for Heat 2012