Good Fats, Bad Fats, How Do They Differ?
Believe it or not, fat is truly beneficial to your health and essential to life. Unfortunately, the media, medical and pharmaceutical communities have lead you to believe that fat is bad. In the 1980’s and 1990’s the low fat diet craze made people believe fat was bad for you. And today, pharmaceutical companies cover your television with commercials of cholesterol lowering drugs that frighten the public even further. It has actually caused people to equate dietary fat with body fat. This, however, is FALSE! There are bad fats to consume (trans-fats, oxidized polyunsaturated fats, and fake fats like olestra), there are also good fats. These essential fats need to be consumed in order to promote a healthy diet.
When you eat dietary fats, they don’t automatically turn into fat on your body because dietary fats do not stimulate insulin release. Fat cannot be stored without the presence of insulin because insulin is necessary to open the doors to store fat in fat cells. No matter how much fat you eat it will not stimulate your pancreas to secrete insulin. Knowing this we can now look at the good fats as well as the functions they provide within the body.
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS:
When you deprive the body of dietary fats, your body does not get two essential fatty acids: omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
Omega 3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish, wild game, omega 3 eggs, flaxseed, and walnuts and carry a wide array of benefits such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (through inhibition of inflammation), lower blood pressure, inhibit blood clotting, and lower blood sugar levels.
The other essential fat the omega 6, is readily available in most bottled vegetable oils, such as soy, canola, sesame and sunflower, fresh seeds and nuts are of course a better source. Pure pressed oils are the best quality, no matter what kind of oil you prefer (olive, sunflower, flax seed). Pure pressing does not damage the fat when it is extracted from the natural resource. On the contrary, heat processes used to extract oils can damage them.
A proper ratio of 1:3 of omega 3 to omega 6 is necessary for beneficial uses. Olive oil and coconut oil are two fats that provide acceptable ratios. Grains, grain flours, peanuts, and seeds have ratios of 1:20 or greater. Soy has a ratio of 1:7. You fry potato chips with corn, sunflower, cottonseed, or safflower oil. These oils have ratios of omega 3’s to omega 6’s that range from 1:70 to over 1:100. These seed oils and the many packaged foods that are literally “bathing” in these oils feed the inflammatory process.
Damaged fats include the trans-fats, oxidized fats, hydrogenated or damaged polyunsaturated fats, and fake fats like olestra. The cells of our body can not recognize and metabolize these fats. Instead, they become cellular debris. They clog the cellular compartments in turn to damaging those cells. This contributes to the accelerated metabolic aging process.
FUNCTIONS OF FAT:
Stored energy comes from the fats and oils in your diet, that then becomes your body fat. It is basically the only way the body has to store fuel that can carry you more than several hours beyond your last meal. In Hormone Production, fatFats (specifically fatty acids) are essential for hormone production. specifically the prostanoid hormones involved in short distance message carrying. Fatty acids make up the cell membranes in the body. The essential fatty acids are necessary in order to make our cell membranes flexible. Flexibility in cell membranes is key to proper hormone production and communication between cells. Fats also are necessary for the absorption of certain vitamins specifically A, D, E, and K.
- Do not be afraid to eat saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated fats. These are naturally occuring and the body is able to metabolize them naturally.
- Fats slow down the transient time of food in the digestive tract, leading to a lower glycemic index for the meal.