November 2016 \\ Category: Fat
Due to a leaked report in September 2016 we know now for a fact that the American Sugar Associations paid 3 highly respected Harvard scientists in the 1960th to give incorrect evidence as to sugar's health impact. They were paid to blame fat for our health problems, which is one of the main reasons why we for decades have believed that fat is the main reason for our unhealthy lifestyle and the main risk for weight gain. After this report, the food industry replaced fats with sugar and now we are experiencing an epidemic of obesity.
The interesting learning here is that although fat got a lot of negative exposure during the last decades, it is of vital importance to a healthy diet.
The right fats are essential building blocks for the brain (which in itself is composed of 60% fat). Fueling your brain with fat provides energy to the brain and helps protect against brain diseases, among other health benefits. A diet high in unsaturated fats can also increase production of neurotransmitters that plays an important role in learning and memory.
You might think that eating saturated fat increases your risk of heart diseases. A recent (2015) meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal, found no such link (1).
Fat comes in two main forms: unsaturated and saturated fat. Unsaturated fats are oils — the kind that are fluid at room temperature (such as olive oil). Saturated fats are solid at room temperature (like butter and coconut oil).
We need both saturated and unsaturated fats in our diets, but the majority should come from unsaturated. The current recommendation is that you should get about 25-35% of your daily calories from fat (that’s 56-78 g of fat on a 2000-calorie diet), with no more than 10% (22 g) coming from saturated fat.
In processed food we not only get extreme amounts of sugar, we also get the wrong kind of fat as processed food contain cheap fats, refined seed- and vegetable oils (like soybean oil) that are often hydrogenated… which turns them into trans fats. Trans fat is the worst type of fat you can eat, as it both raises your LDL ("bad") cholesterol and lowers your HDL ("good") cholesterol. Fortunately there has been a decrease in trans fats the last years due to restricted government regulations, but certain processed food still contain trans fats making them extremely unhealthy as trans fats, opposite saturated fat, are closely linked to cardiovascular diseases and diabetes 2 (2).
You have probably heard about Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. These unsaturated fatty acids are important for all systems of the body to function normally, including your respiratory system, circulatory system, brain and organs. And it manages inflammation. There are two fatty acids, called essential fatty acids (EFA) that your body does not produce on its own. These are Omega 3 fatty acid and Omega 6 fatty acid. EFAs have to be taken in from food. They are both important for brain development, immune system function and blood pressure regulation.
Omega 3 is found in fatty fish, like salmon, herring, sardines and tuna, but if you don’t eat fish or are afraid of the heavy metals that many fish have nowadays you can just as well find the Omega 3 fatty acids in grains and seeds and oils like flaxseed oil and hemp oil. Research on the health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acid have shown that it may be useful for supporting the following: Some Cancers (4), Diabetes (5), Depressive Disorders (6), Asthma (7), Arthritis (8), Osteoporosis (9), High Cholesterol (10), High Blood Pressure (11), Attention Disorders (12),
When it comes to Omega 6 we have to be more careful. Vegetable oils like corn oil and sunflower oil, which are found in large quantities in processed food, contain huge amounts of Omega-6 fatty acids and no Omega 3.
We tend to get far too much Omega 6 from the huge amounts of added vegetable oils in processed food and also from meat from grain-fed cows (as opposed to grass-fed cows).
The omega 6 to omega 3 ratio should be no more than 2:1 but in today's world of fast food and processed food, it’s more likely to be 15:1 which means that we get 7-8 times too much omega 6 compared to omega 3 in standard Western diets. This has severe health impacts reports Washington DC’s Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health. If our diet has excessive amounts of omega 6 we have a much higher risk of inflammation in the body, which can lead to chronic diseases like cancer and heart diseases (14).
Omega 9 is a non essential fatty acid produced naturally by the body when there is enough of either omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids. If we don’t have enough omega 3 and 6 we can get omega 9 from food like avocados, almonds and olives. See list
Getting the right fat is vital to our health. Don't go for the low fat products. Instead go for the food without added sugar!
Getting getting the right fats is extremely important to our health and first and foremost to our brain and immune system
Foods with the highest levels (13):
Omega 3 mainly from plants:
We tend to get 7-8 times more omega 6 than recommended which causes inflammation in the body - leading to chronic diseases
The sources for Omega 6 are (3):
The sources for Omega 9 are (3):