What is your understanding of fat? Is it good for you or bad for you? Well, I am here to tell you the correct answers. Fat is vital to our health. Fat lines our nerves (called myelin), makes our hormones, provides our bodies with energy and provides building blocks for our cell membranes, specifically omega-3 and -6s.
Omega-3 and -6 fats are vital to our health and should be consumed in a ratio of 1:4. The problem with our American diets however, is that our ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats are more like 1:25. When omega-6 fats outweigh our 3s, the following can be seen:
- Heart attack
- Insulin Resistance
- Hyperactive disorder
- Postpartum depression
- Chronic Inflammatory disease
What you need to understand is that our bodies do not make omega-3 and -6 fats. These fats need to be consumed through our diets. Omega-3 fats can be found in green leafy vegetables, oily fish, walnuts, eggs, and animal meats. Do be careful when consuming fish (do your research) as the quality of fish has gone down considerably.
Omega-6 fats are found in canola oil, sunflower and safflower oil and if you do majority of your grocery shopping in the center aisles of the grocery store then this is where your increase in consumption of omega-6s are coming from. I encourage you to go home and read the back of labels and see how many of your items contain canola oil. In addition eliminate trans-fatty acids and fats that have been hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated and vegetable oils. The fats are heated at extremely high temperatures and nutrients are destroyed. Therefore, we end up consuming free radical that can lead to disease. In addition trans-fatty acids chemical composition mimics the composition of plastic. If your diet also consists of eating out at restaurants or fast food chains your consumption of Omega 6 fats is also on the rise as the majority of cooking is done with these fats. Don’t be sucked into menus that state “cooked with canola oil”, this is not healthy marketing.
Saturated fat is another topic I would like to discuss briefly. We are taught that saturated fats are bad for us. My fellow readers, anything that we consume in abundance is not good for us. It’s about balance. If you are consuming animal fat from organic, free-range farms then the fat you are consuming is fine. It’s when you are eating animal fats from unkempt, non-organic farms that issues arise. In addition, you should be rotating your meats, fish one day, chicken the next, red meat and so one. If you are rotating your foods then you are not going to over consume and you will be ingesting a variety of nutrients. An interesting fact about saturated fat is that today, heart disease causes at least 40 percent of all deaths in the USA. We are told that this is from the increase consumption of saturated fats. Therefore, if we are having a rise in heart disease then we would expect to see a rise in animal fat consumption. Well, the opposite is true. In fact from 1910-1970, the proportion of animal fat in the American diet declined from 83 percent to 62 percent and butter plummeted from eighteen pounds per person per year to four pounds. In the past eighty years, cholesterol intake has increased only 1 percent but during this same period the percentage of dietary vegetable oils (margarine, shortening and refined oils) have increased 400 percent while the consumption of sugar and processed foods have increased 60 percent. (How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy, Paul Chek.) I believe with statistics like these we need to be re-evaluating our diets.
If you find the majority of your diet consisting of processed foods (foods bought from the center aisles of the grocery store), caffeine, refined sugars and alcohol then you need to start making dietary changes. Start out slowly and begin to eliminate these unhealthy, processed items one by one and begin to experience how much better you will look and feel.