Say NO to fake fats
Of all the changes in the human diet, two stand out due to their magnitude of change and their impact on human health: 1. We eat more of our calories from starches and sugars than likely ever before; and, 2. We eat fake fat. Let’s focus on that last one.
Over the last 100 years, an incredible change has taken place in the fat we eat. Our ancestors (not even that long ago!) ate most of their fat from animal products and fruits. The animal fats are obvious—meat, eggs, and dairy, but the fruit fats may require some defining. Essentially, fruit fats are the oils that come from simply pressing the flesh of a fruit. Historically, these are mostly from coconuts and olive. These ancestral fats required no technology or chemicals—just gravity; even that provided by people simply stomping on the fruit. Animal and fruit fats are rich in the most predominant types of fats, namely saturated fats and mono-unsaturated fats. These are very stable fats, which makes them ideal for cooking .
Beyond saturated and mono-unsaturated fats, the next class of fats are polyunsaturated fats. These are the fats that health experts have told us to eat for the last 50+ years because they have less effect on blood cholesterol and, as the thinking goes, are better for heart health. Unfortunately, this doesn’t appear to the case . Much of the problem with the polyunsaturated fats is that we eat too much of the wrong kind. The omega-6 fat linoleic acid, predominantly from soybean oil, is now the most commonly consumed fat in our diet . Think about that for a moment—within the span of about 100 years, we went from eating ZERO soybean oil to it being the single largest source of fat in our diets. Linoleic acid is uniquely harmful, playing a causative role in heart disease , insulin resistance , fatty liver disease , and more.
Unfortunately, the more omega-6 linoleic acid we eat, the less we can use omega-3 fats; omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids compete for use by the body, and the excessive consumption of omega-6 prevents the effective use of omega-3 fatty acids . To help omega-3 work better, we need to balance our omegas with a ratio that favors omega-3, providing a competitive advantage to the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid, which is far less often consumed, thereby improving overall health . In fact, alpha-linolenic acid, the primary omega-3 included in flax seed is the most readily metabolized of the long-chain fats in the human diet .
One the best strategies for a healthy diet is “don’t fear fat”. We do this best by focusing on natural fats, with an effort to balance the consumptions of omega-6 and omega-3. The biblical prophet Isaiah said it best when he stated “let your soul delight itself in fatness”!
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