The Full-Fat Solution is your modern-day guide for selecting healthful "full" fats for your entire family. Long gone are the days of "low-fat" yogurt, dairy, salads, snacks, and dinners. Fat is essential, and healthful fats are a must for reaching your optimal health. Healthful fats found in leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds, Greek yogurt, cold-water fish, and expeller-pressed oils can easily be incorporated into your family's diet. Extensive scientific research has validated the benefits of healthful fats for glowing skin, shiny hair, strong nails, flexible joints, balanced hormones, a lean body, a healthy heart, and smart children. Let Karlene Karst, R.D., author, and mother, teach you how to select and cook with the best fats, and about the science of what they are doing for your body. Within four weeks of incorporating healthful fats into each of your meals and snacks, the benefits to your health will shine from within.


Karlene Karst is a registered dietitian, author, mom and founder of Sea-licious Omega-3 oils. She has spent the past 15 years educating and inspiring people to reach their best health through nutrition and natural health. Karlene is a highly enthusiastic and passionate individual and is a frequent guest speaker at education events, radio and TV across North America including Access Hollywood, Canada AM, Breakfast TV, and CTV Morning Live. You can follow Karlene and her healthy tips on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Understanding Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs): Why Essential Fats Are So Essential

Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that include the following:

The omega-6 fatty acid alpha-linoleic acid (LA) and its metabolites gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and arachidonic acid (AA).

The omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and its metabolites eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DfiA).

The Functions of EFAs

The three main functions of EFAs are to regulate cellular processes, influence membrane function and integrity, and produce hormones that regulate and balance inflammation and immune responses.

1. Cell Processes

The cellular processes that fatty acids regulate include the following:

Regulation of enzymes

Regulation of cell signaling pathways

Attachment of proteins to fatty acids

Regulation of gene expression

Gene activation

Receptot function and activation

Membrane permeability

Ion channels (the transport system for potassium

and sodium)

Transport properties

Oxidation of fats

Communication from the cell membrane to the nucleus of the cell

Lipid signaling

2. Cell Membrane Integrity

Cell Membranes made from EFAs

EFAs are integral components of cell membranes, determining fluidity and other physical properties as well as affecting structural functions; for example, the maintenance of enzyme activity. Our bodies are built of billions of cells. Cells are built of membranes, and membranes are built of fats. Cell membranes built with polyunsaturated essential fats are less rigid and more fluid than membranes built with saturated fats. Fluid cells are extremely important because they allow the transport of valuable nutrients into the cells, they help keep toxins out of the cells, they elasticize tissue, they expand blood vessel walls to reduce heart workload, and they improve the overall function of organs.

If your cells are built of saturated fats, they will become rigid and hard. You may not notice the effects of your diet and its role in health when you are young, but if you continue to consume a diet full of unhealthful fats, you will start to see the effects manifested in inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. It is extremely important that your cells are built from healthful fats, which keep the cells fluid. Fluid cells influence insulin sensitivity; they help your body utilize the insulin produced by your pancreas, and they help control your body's glucose levels.

My Story

Growing up on a family farm in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, I enjoyed a wonderful, simple childhood with loving parents, a brother and sister, grandparents, food on our table, with our faith as an underlying driver for all we did and believed. When I think back on this time, I have fond memories of the safety and security I felt and how protected I was from the rest of the world.

Our farm, on which my brorher toils and labors still today, was and is a source of food supply for the world; canola, flax, wheat, durum, barley, and numerous other amazing crops were and are grown and harvested on our farm, as well as on rhose of our neighbors. Pesticides, fertilizers, and various other chemicals were used to control pests, weeds, and other natural hazards that threatened to decrease the yield of our precious crops. Little did we know at the time of the long-term effects of and dangers from rhese chemicals (or if my father did know, maybe he didn't believe it or know that there was an option).

I will never forget the day—I was in seventh grade, it was two weeks after the passing of my grandfather, and my dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer, a diagnosis that would forever change us. I was shocked to learn that my thirty-seven-year-old father had a tumor the size of a grapefruit lodged in his bladder. Stage 3 cancer, possibly stage 4, with a prognosis of six months to live. I had already witnessed my maternal grandmother die from colon cancer, then subsequently my maternal grandfather was diagnosed with bone cancer, then my father's dad died from lung cancer (he was a smoker), and now my own dad. It was frightening because I knew what this meant. How does a twelve-year-old process this information? My parents were strong, and proud, never admitting the long-term consequence of this diagnosis or what this meant for our family. My father battled and battled, and tears still stream down my face when I think of the hair loss, the chemo, the radiation and surgeries, nausea, vomiting, doctors' appointments, exhaustion, and tears that went through my home for five years. My dad was and still is my hero because anyone who can endure the physical pain he dealt with for five years, all while telling his family he is feeling "good," is a hero. In many ways, this was the worst and the best time of my family's life because it changed my dad, his priorities, and what was important. This meant more time together at the dinner table, and more quality, focused time together in general. It also brought us all closer with our faith, and bonded many in our community together. I will never forget the outreach of support and love from all those in Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, especially on March 14, 1995, two days after his passing, when almost 800 people gathered at our local Catholic church to remember my dad. I have always said and always believed that the prairie people are the best.

Now my story begins with my dad and the possible reasons for his early death. Of course we don't know this to be 100 percent true, but many doctors, and groups such as the Environmental Working Group, cite chemical exposure from pesticides as a leading cause of cancer, not to mention autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, and many chronic diseases. The negative health effects are far-reaching, serious, and dangerous.

In my early twenties, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called "mixed connective tissue disease," which presents as a combination of lupus-like symptoms and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Pain is the right word to describe how I felt; that, along with fatigue, left me feeling pretty awful and not like a twenty-year-old should feel. The rheumatologist's prescription was a drug called "Plaquenil," and I spent more time visiting specialists in an effort to be proactive and avoid all the negative side effects from the drug, such as lung, kidney, and vision problems, and to be honest, the drug didn't even make me feel better. I was also an avid Advil user; this class of NSAIDs is quite effective in dealing with pain and inflammation, but the side effects range from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, and headaches to the most serious—kidney failure, liver failure, ulcers, and prolonged bleeding. I still to this day battle with an ulcer that flares up every now and then; however, I am so lucky to have knowledge of natural medicine, and I use a product called "deglycyrrhizinated licorice root extract, (DGL)", which helps to build the mucin layer of the stomach to protect from stomach acid, and it does wonders in healing the ulcer and associated pain.

Natures Path of Healing

In a way, my autoimmune disease led me down a phenomenal path of healing with nature and food. I started to research natural anti-inflammatory ingredients and came across some amazing research on borage oil, which is rich in GLA, an anti-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid. This was the first dietary supplement I ever used, and almost fifteen years later, I still use it daily. It has greatly helped manage the pain and inflammation that comes with an autoimmune disease, not to mention numerous other benefits for my skin, hair, nails, and hormones. My journey has also been one of many food and lifestyle changes over the years, from decreasing sugar in my diet and focusing on more fiber and whole foods to increasing protein (I drink two protein shakes per day), and I eat a ton of fish. I believe all of these changes together allow me to be the person of health that I am today.

Food for Thought

Essential fatty acids are required for optimal functioning of cellular processes, maintaining the integrity and function of the cellular membranes, and producing a balance of hormones that control virtually all body processes.

The North American diet typically contains too many bad fats (such as those found in red meat, processed foods, and junk food) and contains too little of the good fats found in fresh dark green leafy vegetables, seeds, and nuts.

The decades of villainizing fat are over. We are now recognizing the importance of healthful fats for preventing and treating many diseases, and this starts with what you eat each day.

Dairy: Low-Fat to Full-Fat

Dairy has become one of the hottest topics in nutrition today. Anyone who has shopped the dairy aisle of the grocery store realizes the plethora of options available for cheese, yogurt, butter, milk, and everything in between. As a young nutrition student, I was taught to reduce consumption of full-fat dairy due to its reputation of contributing to a number of negative health effects, including heart disease and obesity. The negative perception of dairy foods is largely attributed to the high levels of saturated fats found naturally in these products. Saturated fats, until recently, have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Ultimately, this led to the "low-fat era" of dairy products in which low-fat and fat-free dairy products became an enormous trend—one that shows no sign of slowing. In fact, North Americans currently purchase two and a half times more skim milk, and approximately half as much whole milk as they did in 1975. A growing body of evidence, however, not only reveals that consuming dairy products is good for you, but that it also continues to shine a favorable light on "full-fat" dairy in particular, suggesting that fat is making a comeback where our health is concerned. So what is the "skinny" on full-fat dairy and dairy in general? What are the protective properties in dairy, and how does dairy benefit our health?

Nutrition from the Cow

Dairy products contain a plethora of powerhouse nutrients and beneficial compounds that are important for optimal health. Included are calcium, protein, and numerous vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc, and vitamins A, D, B2, and B12.

In fact, the benefits of consuming the recommended amount of this important food group are largely understated. Recent data obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2003-2006) found that although calcium can be obtained from nondairy sources such as "calcium-enriched" and "calcium-fortified" foods, the researchers hypothesized that it would be difficult to meet nutritional requirements for a number of additional important nutrients without consuming the recommended intake of dairy products per day. These additional nutrients include protein, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and vitamins A, D, and B12.1

Recent US statistics also report that at today's current consumption of dairy products by children aged two years and older, intake of total dairy foods contributes to only about 10 percent of total calories, yet deliver 58 percent of vitamin D, 51 percent of calcium, 28 percent each of vitamin A and phosphorus, 26 percent of vitamin B12, 25 percent of riboflavin, 18 percent of protein, 16 percent each of potassium and zinc, and 13 percent of magnesium.2 This indisputably makes milk and milk products an economical and nutrient-dense food group.

Research also reveals that a high consumption of dairy products is associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, and certain forms of cancers (colorectal and bladder). The beneficial effects of dairy consumption are also confirmed by findings from the USDA's 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which concluded that "moderate evidence shows that intake of milk and milk products is linked to improved bone health, especially in children and adolescents" and "is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes and with lower blood pressure in adults."3 A strong positive association has also been observed for dairy consumption and healthy weight management.

Most recently, these beneficial effects were observed in a systematic review and meta-analysis of the published evidence regarding the effect of dairy consumption on weight, body-fat mass, lean mass, and waist circumference (WC) in adults. Sixteen studies were selected for the systematic review and fourteen studies for the meta-analysis. After reviewing the available data, the researchers concluded that the inclusion of dairy products in weight-loss diets had a significant positive effect on weight, body-fat mass, lean mass, and waist circumference in comparison with diets that did not include dairy products.4

 above-mentioned essential nutrients found in dairy, additional bioactive compounds found specifically in the milk fat portion of dairy have been shown to favorably affect health. These include conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), trans-palmitoleic acid, butyric acid, and vitamin K2. Thus, the benefits of consuming natural full-fat dairy versus processed low-fat dairy continue to be revealed.

Benefits of Full-Fat versus Low-Fat Dairy

Although low-fat dairy products have been portrayed as a "healthy alternative" to full-fat dairy, researchers have yet to provide concrete evidence that support low-fat dairy products as a heart-healthy food choice that is conducive to weight loss, as portrayed in most media campaigns. On the contrary, during the same time frame that consumption of low-fat dairy skyrocketed, rates of obesiry, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease multiplied exponentially. Studies now reveal that the replacement of fat with carbohydrates—as seen with many typical low-fat dairy products (and diets)—actually may negatively affect health.

These negative effects largely stem from the high levels of sugar and low levels of fat present in most processed low-fat foods (including dairy). In the case of low-fat dairy, the removal of fat leaves a higher concentration of milk sugar (lactose). In addition, large amounrs of sugar are often added to low-fat dairy products to improve their taste in the absence of the naturally pleasing milk fat. The result is little or no fat to slow the entrance of the lactose and added sugar into the bloodstream, resulting in a large spike in blood sugar levels. When this occurs, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin to transport the sugar in the blood into the body's cells, where it is subsequently used for energy.

When we chronically eat foods high in sugar, the pancreas goes into overtime to produce the insulin necessary to constantly deal with the excess "spikes" in blood sugar. The chronic surge of insulin signals the body that there is plenty of energy available in the form of glucose, and that the body should, therefore, stop burning fat for energy and start storing it—hence the potential for weight gain that is seen more often than not in those who chronically consume high levels of sugar (without fat or fiber to slow its entrance into the bloodstream). Therefore, it is becoming increasingly clear that it may be wise to "ditch" the highly processed low-fat dairy option and take the plunge into the more wholesome natural full-fat dairy choice.

Full-Fat Dairy

From a scientific perspective, the scales now appear to be tipping in favor of consuming naturally produced full-fat dairy. Full-fat dairy has had a long-standing reputation as being "bad for your health" due to its high levels of saturated fats, and the negative effect of saturated fats on the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The belief that saturated fats consumption is associated with an increased risk of CVD is now being viewed as nothing more than a myth. In 2010, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study in which twenty-one studies correlating the risk of heart disease and stroke to saturated fats intake were reviewed. The researchers concluded that "there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of heart disease or stroke."5 On the contrary, full-fat dairy intake, despite its high levels of saturated fats, has been associated with favorable effects on metabolic syndrome, diabetes, certain forms of cancer, fertility, and heart disease, to name a few. Following are just a few conditions that studies have demonstrated benefit from consuming full-fat dairy:

Butter versus Margarine: Your Mom Knows Best

The age-old debate as to whether butter is better than margarine continues to wage on in consumers' minds, leaving most of us perplexed by one more nutrition puzzle we can't find the missing piece for.

Let's set the record straight once and for all. Butter is better than margarine. Regardless if you are trying out the "trans fat-free, reduced-saturated, and reduced-cholesterol" margarines that overwhelm the "dairy" aisle of the stores, you still can't go wrong with good of fashion butter.

Butter contains many healthful components, including lecithin, which aids the body to break down cholesterol. It is also a rich source of vitamin A, which is necessary for the healthy functioning of the adrenal and thyroid glands.

If you look at the fat component of butter, you will see that it is made from cream and contains a wide range of shorr- and medium-chain fatty acids, as well as monounsaturated and some polyunsaturated fatty acids. The dangers of butter's saturated fats components have been blown out of proportion, but keep in mind that not all saturated fats are created equally.

What You Have Learned in This Chapter

We should embrace full-fat and look for opportunities to incorporate healthful fats into our diet.

Bring dairy back into your diet—the full-fat kind. Enjoy Greek yogurt as a delicious snack.

Omega-3s and omega-6s are found in a variety of foods, such as nuts, seeds, dark green leafy vegetables, cold-water fatty fish, and healthful oils. Each time you eat a meal or snack, try to incorporate healthful fats.







CHARLES  ATLAS  proved  he  was  right  by  the  strong  healthy  large  proportioned  body  he  developed  with  his  dynamic  tension  exercises  [and  some  weight  lifting].





Keith Hunt