The Truth about Fat
THE TRUTH ABOUT FAT
By Dr Esyltt Graham Chiropractor
Are all fats bad? While fat tends to get bad publicity the good news is that the human body needs good fat to function well. There are fats that are essential to health and well being and there are fats which are toxic to the human body. A lot of confusion surrounds this subject, with many people interpreting ‘low fat’ products as being healthy which is not necessarily true.
To make choices that will lead to a healthier weight, more energy and longevity read on to discover which fats are helpful and which ones are detrimental.
There are many different types of fats (accurately referred to as fatty acids). This article will focus on omega-6 fatty acid, omega-3 fatty acid and trans fats. Both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are required for the human body to function however the typical Australian diet has an excess of omega-6 fats which increase inflammation, obesity, cholesterol and the risk of cancer.
The ideal fatty acid ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 according to research should be less than 4 to 1. Unfortunately the average Australian diet contains ratios of omega 6 to omega 3 fats varying from 15:1 to 50:1.
Signs of fatty acid imbalance i.e. not enough good fats, include dry skin, lowered immunity, fatigue, poor wound healing, elevated cholesterol, hyperactivity, learning problems, soft brittle nails and allergies.
Improving this balance depends on increasing the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and decreasing the consumption of omega-6 fatty acids.
The best known sources of omega-3 include fish (especially oily cold water fish such as tuna and sardines) and flaxseed (linseed). Chia seeds are the ‘super food’ of the moment and they are particularly high in omega-3.
Other than water, Omega-3s are a major component of the brain. Therefore a deficiency in omega-3 increases the risk of learning difficulties in children and depression in adults.
Omega-6 is found in vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower, soybean and corn oil.
Interestingly an analysis of eggs show that free range eggs contain a healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats compared to factory produced eggs where the ratio of fats is similar to humans who eat poorly.. This is an excellent example of how clever nature is. Chickens grazing on a farm will eat greens and bugs, not processed pellets.
The worst type of fats is trans fats. These are used extensively in commercially prepared foods like pastries, biscuits, chips, confectionary, salad dressing and takeaway food.
To simplify this information (and the reading of labels), if the food is from nature and as close as possible to it’s natural state the fat in it will not be harmful.
Hippocrates said “let your food be your medicine and your medicine your food”. So swap some dangerous fats for beneficial fats and experience the benefit.