The Skinny On Un-Healthy Fats
With all the hype surrounding the keto diet contrasted against the back-end of the prominent and often misinterpreted paleo diet, health conscious Americans seem to be all over the place with regard to dietary fat consumption. Is it high-fat or VERY high-fat? Is it NO animal fat and ALL plant-based fat, OR should we be eating nothing but heavily marbled rib-eyes covered in butter?
The industrialization of our food here in the United States has been consistently researched and documented as a major culprit in the spiraling decline of our nation’s health. Food products now occupy more space in our local grocery stores than fresh REAL food. The utilization of chemicals for growing, processing, and preserving our food continues to poison consumers and offset the delicate line between disease and vibrancy while showing no signs of improvement. Our collective health continues to decline through three major food consumption pathways – sugar, refined grains, AND highly processed seed and vegetable oils.
Things to know about processed oils
Industrial seed oils contain high amounts of a fatty acid called linoleic acid (LA). When LA is exposed to heat—as it inevitably is during food processing or cooking—harmful compounds are produced and contribute to a process of cellular damage called “oxidative stress”. These highly processed seed and vegetable oils are present in nearly ALL the processed, packaged, and refined food products we consume. These oils include:
- Canola - Vegetable
Harmful compounds produced from the above oils are associated with a variety of inflammatory diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s to fibromyalgia to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). They are a major component of atherosclerotic plaques and play a central role in the development of heart disease. High intakes of linoleic acid are especially problematic when the long-chain omega-3 fat DHA, found exclusively in seafood, is absent from the diet. This creates a pro-inflammatory environment in the body. Inflammation in the GI tract leads to a leaky gut, and leaky gut leads to dysregulation of our body’s natural hormone, immune, and basic cellular function. In short, inflammation leads to disease. Precursors to our most common diseases include:
- Weakened immune function
- Chronic fatigue
- Weight gain
- Low libido
- Premature aging
- Cancer and cellular damage
- High blood pressure
- Lipid (cholesterol) abnormalities
- Depression and anxiety
The key to nourishing your body with healthy dietary fat is to minimize your intake of processed fats. Focus on:
- Farm raised, non-hormone treated, no-antibiotic, animal products (meat, eggs, dairy)
- Wild-caught fish and shellfish
- Fresh organic produce
- Oils for cooking like coconut & olive sources
- Targeted supplementation of omega-3, DHA, & EPA rich fish oil
- Conservative consumption of nuts and seeds (most are omega-6 intensive…pro-inflammatory)
These fats generally come to us through that of nutrient dense and highly bioavailable REAL food (the list above). Bioavailability refers to the amount of nutrients that can actually be absorbed by our body. While neither animal nor plant fats are especially nutrient dense, they do play other important roles in the diet. Perhaps most importantly, they help us to absorb the nutrients that are present in other foods. Cholesterol contained in the above foods is vital for sex hormone production and cellular structure and function.
Combining nutrient dense, higher fat, plant and animal foods helps ensure we get an adequate dietary fat intake, shuttle nutrients throughout our cellular network, minimize inflammation, and maintain a proper hormonal balance.