Fat Fact #4: What Type You Eat Matters
So, what kind of fats should we be eating? We know that fat has taken a beating over the years, especially in the media (currently, coconut oil is under attack… more about that in a later post!). This makes it SO CONFUSING when deciding what is best for your body and for your family! So let’s try to clear some of the confusion a bit!
It’s pretty easy to identify the go-to sources of healthy fats, and I’ve mentioned them before in this series of “Fat Facts”: Avocado, wild caught fish, grass fed meats, eggs, coconut, raw butter, properly treated nuts and sprouted seeds are among some sources. (these last three are AIP reintroductions). But I want to break that down a little bit more and tell you WHAT kind of fat is in them.
And, there are a few sources of fat that are a little less obvious....and in some cases....what you don’t know CAN hurt you. For example….those ugly, yellow oils we see in the grocery store. You’ve seen them – corn oil, vegetable oil, and canola oil. These oils are typically made from GMO sources, are highly processed, and any nutritional value they may have had is destroyed in the course of processing.
The fats in these oils are unsaturated, meaning they are unstable. But that’s not the bad part… in fact, there are unsaturated fats that we need. It’s these unsaturated fats that are most important to our health in terms of Essential Fatty Acids. What makes it bad here is that these oils are processed at such high heats, damaging the fatty acids, and rendering the oil itself rancid. Not to mention, these unstable fats should not be exposed to light. So let me ask you… what are these oils stored in at your grocer? CLEAR PLASTIC BOTTLES, exposing them to those lovely florescent lights all day every day (I’ll get my plastic soapbox out another time 😊)
OK now that we’ve touched on some of the bad stuff… on to the good!
We need a combination of saturated and unsaturated fat (in the form of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) to thrive, some of these being Essential Fatty Acids. Side note here… in case you didn’t know… these are ESSENTIAL because our bodies can’t manufacture them, therefore it’s essential we get them dietarily.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 are polyunsaturated. And, they are both essential. A word to the wise here… it is possible to get too much Omega-6, so be sure to balance it with Omega-3. I’ve seen suggested ratios of 4:1 (Omega-6 to Omega-3), but I’ve seen suggested MOST OFTEN a ratio of 1:1. I tend to agree with the 1:1.
We don’t have to make this complicated, though… basically stay away from the Standard American Diet, incorporate healthy sources of each Essential Fatty Acid, and you can be more on target with the right fat intake:
· Cod Liver Oil
· Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil
· Wild Caught Salmon, Cod, Herring, Tuna, Sardines,
Anchovies and White Fish
· Pasture-Raised Egg Yolk
· Blackcurrant Seed
· Evening Primrose
· Sunflower Oil
· Grapeseed Oil
· Sesame Oil
· Flaxseed Oil
· Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds
Omega-9 is Monunsaturated. Omega 9? What is that? It’s the other “Omega” fatty acid that we need and you don’t hear about so much because it isn’t “essential”. Since our body can manufacture Omega-9, we don’t need to get as much dietarily as we do Omega-3 and Omega-6. But it’s available to us in:
· Olives & Olive Oil
· Avocados & Avocado Oil
· Almonds & Almond Oil
· Hazelnut & Hazelnut Oil
· Macadamia Nuts & Macadamia Nut Oil
And last but not least, Saturated fat. Yes, the demonized Saturated fat, up there on the “evil” list right next to Cholesterol (read my rant about Cholesterol in my previous “fat” posts). It turns out, we actually need it. The Diet-Heart Hypothesis proposed in the 1950’s, which attempted to correlate a rise in heart disease with fat intake (particularly cholesterol and saturated fat) has been undone in the last 3 decades by emerging data from long-term studies. I highly recommend two great resources on this: “Put Your Heart in Your Mouth” by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD and “The Big Fat Surprise” by Nina Teicholz.
And I for one am so glad it’s good for us! Because I certainly enjoy some of the best dietary sources of it:
· Pasture-Raised Beef and Poultry
· Coconut and Virgin Coconut Oil
· Palm Oil
· Raw Butter
· Uncured Bacon
Now, for the record… PLEASE stay away from the processed junk. The high heat, stripped down version of fats in commercial foods (from doughnuts to canola oil to hot dogs), simply has no benefits to offer and will only end up doing damage.
Ok, that’s all I have today! Have a BEAUTIFUL week and take time to stop and enjoy yourself!
Thriving with you,