June 21, 2005 05:31 PM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: Fats and Oils: Clearing the Confusion
Fats and Oils: Clearing the Confusion
By Fred Pescatore, M.D.
Aside from tax forms, it's hard to find anything more confusing to consumers than fats and oils. Fat-free diehards still don't know that fat is essential for the brain, hormones, cellular membranes: life itself. The clueless still use shortening, margarine and damaged grocery store vegetable oils. But what worries me more is that supposedly educated consumers aren't even getting it right. Should we be surprised since their doctors probably don't know the truth?
Mistakes made by your customers. They:
* Don't know monounsaturated fats are the key to health.
* Think olive oil is the healthiest choice.
* Buy junk olive oil without knowing it.
* Make olive oil toxic with misuse.
* Use grapeseed oil for its smoke point without regard to its pro-inflammatory fatty acids.
* Think all polyunsaturated fats are created equal.
* Believe flax oil is just the same as fish oil.
* Think healthy oil must be heavy and flavorless or strongly flavored.
* Don't know that oil has zero carbs.
* Don't know that all oils have the same number of calories.
Let's clear up these myths so consumers can get busy being confused about something else:
* A compelling number of studies clearly demonstrate that we should get about 80% of our fats as monounsaturated fats, a key to the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Monounsaturated fats (omega 9) have been shown to lower total cholesterol, increase HDL, improve blood sugar management and help prevent cancer.
* Properly prepared olive oil is a decent choice because it is relatively high (around 70%) in monounsaturated fats. However, macadamia nut oil is much higher (84%). Macadamia nut oil is also lower in saturated fat and significantly higher in vitamin E, already making it a healthier choice.
* Any time something becomes quite popular, pretenders ride the wave. It is beyond suspicious that more Italian olive oil is sold than is actually produced. Much of what consumers think is "Extra Virgin" olive oil is actually a blend of refined olive (health benefits dramatically reduced) and even other oils (hmm, allergies anyone?). I review this in greater detail in The Hamptons Diet, my latest book, due out in May. For increasingly obvious reasons, the specific oil I recommend in it is MacNut™ Oil. It is the genuine article and the only product processed in the plant in Australia so there is no chance of contamination with another nut. This is a premium oil with processing quite superior to that from other countries.
* Overheating oil causes the formation of toxic free radicals and trans fats. Many don't realize that olive oil's smoke point is only 300-325:; so grilling, stir-fry and even baking become problematic. MacNut™ Oil is blessed with a 410: smoke point and great shelf stability.
* Grapeseed oil is 74% polyunsaturated omega 6. If that doesn't concern you, please read the next section.
* Recall that omega 3 and omega 6 fats, both polyunsaturated, have relatively opposite effects. Among the many virtues of omega 3, is that it is anti-inflammatory. The majority of omega 6 is pro-inflammatory. Yes, omega 6 is the source of beneficial GLA. However, GLA is just a very tiny variant the body should make if all circumstances are right. Our Paleolithic ancestors ate a diet that balanced the 3's and 6's ideally at 1:1. Now, because of vegetable oil use, junk food and animal feeding practices, Americans consume a 20:1 imbalance of pro-inflammatory omega 6. My recent book, The Allergy and Asthma Cure, tells more about the many health conditions worsened by inflammation. Now you can see that grapeseed oil is literally adding fuel to the fire. In MacNutTM Oil, the 3's and 6's are 1:1, as nature intended.
* Flax oil is great stuff if you buy it fresh, keep it cold and use it promptly. However, the EPA and DHA we prize so much in fish oil is not present in flax oil. To convert omega 3 to EPA and DHA, first be genetically adept and then avoid illness, age, stress, alcohol, aspirin, bad fats or sugar and deficiencies of the B's, C, Zinc and Magnesium. The same factors affect conversion of omega 6 into GLA.
* Some consumers have become accustomed to flavorless oils. Others grin and bear food that all tastes like olives. (Good olive oil tastes like olives.) Yet another reason I head the Scientific Advisory Panel for MacNutTM Oil is that it delicious cold or hot. It enhances recipes with a buttery richness but doesn't mask other ingredients.
* How can we tell consumers and not sound sassy that all oils are all zero carbs. They are oils, okay? There are only 3 classes of macronutrients: proteins, fats and carbs.
* Likewise, oil is oil when it comes to calories. Even 10-W-40 has 9 calories per gram. Protein and sugar are about half that. What is important is the type of fat in the oil and monounsaturated is the best.
I hope this helps you educate consumers about the proper use of fats. Unfortunately, that still leaves a long list of other things they've been misled about.
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