Fats for Life - the quality of the fat you eat is probably much more important..
|Fats for Life - the quality of the fat you eat is probably much more important than the...||Darrell Miller||06/12/05|
June 12, 2005 02:39 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (email@example.com)
Subject: Fats for Life - the quality of the fat you eat is probably much more important than the...
Fats for Life by Henry Wolfe Energy Times, August 6, 2003
For years, many experts argued that the only good fatty foods were the ones you didn't eat. That was a big, fat mistake. Overwhelming evidence now shows that certain fats are not only necessary for optimal health, but that the quality of the fat you eat is probably much more important than the quantity.
Threatening Trans Fats
"The biggest thing wrong with the fats Americans eat today is that they are eating too many trans fatty acids," says Fred Pescatore, MD, author of The Allergy and Asthma Cure (John Wiley). "About 42,000 foods contain trans fats. These fats are linked to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer."
Trans fatty acids are fats that form when food manufacturers add hydrogen to fat molecules, a process called hydrogenation that makes fats stay fresh longer without growing rancid. Trans fats also form when foods are fried.
Hydrogenation extends the shelf life of refined foods like cakes, donuts, and crackers. Unfortunately, it also creates fats that many experts believe can compromise your health. In a study of the health effects of trans fats, 26 people agreed to eat a diet that changed every five weeks, continually shifting the types of fats in their meals (American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2000). All of the diets in the study provided 30% of calories from fat. One fifth of the fat came from either soybean oil, semi-liquid margarine, tub margarine, shortening, stick margarine or butter.
"We were interested in assessing what would happen when we substituted one fat for another," notes researcher Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, professor of human nutrition at Tufts University, Boston.
The study showed that as people ate more trans fatty acids (in the more solid margarines) and fewer polyunsaturated fats (in the liquid oils), their triglycerides increased after each meal. Triglycerides are blood fats that boost heart disease risk.
For instance, when these folks ate stick margarine, which is high in trans fats, their triglycerides climbed an average 18% higher than when they ate semi-liquid squeeze bottle margarine, a type of margarine that is softer because it is less hydrogenated. Stick margarine raised heart disease risk by causing a drop in HDL, or "good" cholesterol. Although butter increased HDL, it also caused a significant increase in LDL, the "bad" cholesterol that raises heart disease risk.
"The best dietary advice we can give people is to minimize their intake of animal and hydrogenated fats in order to reach the American Heart Association's target of 10% or less of total calories from saturated fat and trans fatty acids," Dr. Lichtenstein says. "That would mean consumers choosing low-fat and non-fat dairy products and lean cuts of meat, and the food industry decreasing the amount of hydrogenated fats used in their products." According to a study at Johns Hopkins University (Amer Coll of Card, 52nd Scientific Session, 3/30/03, Chicago), people who eat saturated fat have more visceral fat, fat surrounding their internal organs. This fat around the waist is now seen as a risk factor for heart disease and other illnesses.
Another hidden problem in our fat consumption, according to Dr. Pescatore, hides within canola oil. Dr. Pescatore says that although many consumers believe canola oil is beneficial to health, the refined canola oil sold in the US has had its potential health benefits removed during processing.
"People still think canola oil is healthy and eat too much of it," he says. "The problem with canola is that it is highly processed and refined....Processors hydrogenate canola oil to keep it from getting rancid."
According to Fred Ottoboni, PhD, coauthor of The Modern Nutritional Diseases (Vincente Books), "Canola oil is lightly hydrogenated to take out the omega-3 fatty acids (the healthiest, but most unstable, fats) and then the food manufacturers filter the trans fats out. I don't worry about the trans fats in canola, but the problem is the huge ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3s."
To get more of the omega-3 fatty acids, which are lacking in most Americans' diets, Dr. Pescatore advocates using macadamia nut oil. "Macadamia nut oil is higher in monounsaturated fats than olive oil; it is the healthiest fat with an omega-3 to -6 ratio of one to one."
The Omega-3 Difference
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are basic forms of fat found in oils. Fish oil, hempseed and flax oil are high in what are called omega-3s. Certain plant-derived oils like corn and soy are richer in omega-6 fatty acids.
"Primitive humans ate a diet that contained a one-to-one ratio of omega-3s and omega-6s," says Dr. Pescatore. "Today we (Americans) eat 20 times more omega-6 than -3; that's why we suffer so much chronic disease and chronic inflammation. For instance, the Japanese eat a (much better) diet that contains a two-to-one ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3." "Not all omega-6s are bad," he adds, "we just eat too many of them."
Switching to healthier fat isn't hard. Eat more fish. When cooking, stick to oils like olive oil and macadamia oil. The quality of your oil and your health may improve in a big, fat way.