Dietary Fat: Good or Bad?
To put it simply, there are dietary fats that are healthy and dietary fats that are not. It's that simple. I'm going to purposely avoid discussing how much dietary fat a person should consume, for now. I'll discuss that, specifically, in another newsletter because that greatly differs from person to person. For now, let's talk about the good and the bad fats.
In the hierarchy of nutritional poison, here's how it looks:
1. Industrialized/seed oils
If you would've asked me 10 years ago,I would've told you sugar is the worst. It's not. If you do nothing but avoid those listed above, you'll be off to a great start.
What's most important to realized about fatty acids is their relationship to one another. Low-grade, chronic, systemic inflammation is one of the primary drivers of chronic disease. One of the drivers of inflammation is fatty acid ratios, more specifically, abnormal fatty acid ratios.
"Omega-6 (n-6) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) (e.g., arachidonic acid (AA)) and omega-3 (n-3) PUFA (e.g., eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)) are precursors to potent lipid mediator signalling molecules, termed “eicosanoids,” which have important roles in the regulation of inflammation. In general, eicosanoids derived from n-6 PUFA are proinflammatory while eicosanoids derived from n-3 PUFA are anti-inflammatory. Dietary changes over the past few decades in the intake of n-6 and n-3 PUFA show striking increases in the (n-6) to (n-3) ratio (~15 : 1), which are associated with greater metabolism of the n-6 PUFA compared with n-3 PUFA. Coinciding with this increase in the ratio of (n-6) : (n-3) PUFA are increases in chronic inflammatory diseases such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), cardiovascular disease, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer's disease (AD). By increasing the ratio of (n-3) : (n-6) PUFA in the Western diet, reductions may be achieved in the incidence of these chronic inflammatory diseases."
What you find in the Standard American Diet (SAD) is an omega 6:omega 3 ratio of about 20:1. That's pro-inflammatory. In nature, foods that are considered having an optimal omega 6:omega 3 ratio are 1:1 or at most, 3:1.
Processed foods, sugar, industrialized/seed oil, trans fats create a disproportionate omega ratio that creates cellular inflammation. This, in turn, if remains constant, promotes the disease process. As we already mentioned, every single chronic, degenerative illness is driven by chronic inflammation.
"Over the last few decades, extreme qualitative nutritional changes have taken place with increased levels of fatty acid consumption . Today, industrialised societies are characterised by an increase in saturated fat, omega 6 PUFA, and trans fatty acid intake, as well as an overall decrease in omega-3 PUFA intake . Fatty acids now represent 28–42% of total energy consumed by European populations [4, 6], whereas, in ancestral nutrition, fatty acid consumption was only approximately 20–30% of total energy [4, 7, 8]. As a result of the increased consumption of LA-rich vegetable oils associated with the Western diet, n-6 PUFA consumption has become progressively much higher than that of n-3 PUFA . Optimal dietary intakes of the n-6 : n-3 ratio should be around 1–4 : 1. However, according to the nutritional changes described above in the Western diet, this ratio has now increased to be within the range of 10 : 1 to 20 : 1 . In parallel, there are coinciding increases in the incidence of diseases involving inflammatory processes such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, IBD, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. Neurodegenerative and psychiatric illnesses such as AD and depression are other examples . A study carried out by Hassan and Hanachi, involving 984 Iranian women, suggested that a good dietary pattern rich in fruits, legumes, vegetables, cereals, and fish, rich in n-3 PUFA, can decrease the likelihood of developing the Metabolic Syndrome . Another study performed in France, involving 912 men, concluded that a low consumption of fish rich in n-3 PUFA is associated with a higher probability of developing the Metabolic Syndrome . Thus, high intake of n-6 PUFA, along with low intakes of n-3 PUFA, shifts the physiological state to one that is proinflammatory and prothrombotic with increases in vasospasm, vasoconstriction, and blood viscosity and the development of diseases associated with these conditions."
The problem seems to be two-fold:
1. Too much omega 6
2. Not enough omega 3
In general, the Standard American Diet (SAD) consists of all 3 of the worst foods you can eat:
1. Industrialized/seed oils
Those above make up the SAD. It's best to avoid all 3. Below are sources of rancid oils you should be avoiding:
* vegetable oil
* grapeseed oil
* canola oil
* peanut oil
* corn oil
* soybean oil
* sunflower oil
* sesame seed oil
* safflower oil
* olive oil
* coconut oil
* avocado oil
* macadamia nut oil
The jury is still out on how much of a role of what an animal eats plays in their fatty acid ratios but it's always best to consume animals that ate their natural diet. For example, cows are grass eaters. They're ruminants. Cows are meant to eat grass. In my honest opinion, grass-fed beef is superior for a lot of reasons including optimal fatty acid ratios. Salmon and marine animals are another good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Brussel sprouts are a good source of vegetable omega 3 fatty acids.
Depending on the individual, omega 3 supplementation may be necessary. That's why it's important to be tested and work with a qualified professional that can help you reach your goals and needs. If you would like help, contact us at www.greinerhealthsolutions.com