Congratulations! You’ve made it to the final part of the 3-part trilogy on dietary fats! I do have to congratulate you for coming this far as the feedback from my first 2 blogs in this trilogy has been consistently centered on how difficult it was to follow the technical mumbo-jumbo! So I do have to apologize but if you did manage to understand the science, you have equipped yourself with the knowledge to choose how to eat healthier fats!
In this blog, we’ll be wrapping up the fat blog by discussing the following:
- other benefits of eating fats
- why omega-3s are so healthy
In last week’s blog I mentioned how easily vegetable oils can be oxidized and cause health problems.
As mentioned earlier, free radicals are atoms and molecules that are lacking an electron. They can cause damage to the rest of your body by stealing an electron from other places in your body causing a cascading effect. Damage occurring in the skin can cause premature aging or wrinkles. If the damage occurs in the organs, tumors and cancers may begin growing. And free radicals in the blood vessels will cause heart disease and atherosclerosis.
To combat that, nature has provided a cure in the form of antioxidants. They are essentially atoms or molecules that have an extra electron to donate. So when encountering a free radical, they can simply give away an electron and neutralize the spread of that free radical without becoming a free radical itself.
Antioxidants can be vitamins (vitamin E, C), or phytochemicals (beta-carotene, lycopene), or minerals (selenium).
Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of antioxidants so this is one important reason why eating them are so healthy for you. Coffee is another great source of antioxidants and I’ve written about the benefits here.
If you read and understood blog 2, then you can decide for yourself that the Lipid Hypothesis that I mentioned back in the first blog is no longer relevant based on first principles chemistry. If you still need further convincing, you can refer to here.
Furthermore, some types of fat contain huge benefits to your body!
Butter for example, help develop brain, and neurological functions.
Omega-3s and Omega-6s are essential fatty acids. Meaning, they have to be eaten in your diet or you will probably die.
These healthy polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are best found in liver, egg yolks, fatty fish. It is important to note that they are healthiest when they are consumed in equal amounts, i.e. 1:1. If you have too much of one, then you will be deficient in the other and that can have negative consequences like asthma, heart disease, poor memory, inflammation, high blood pressure, cancer, weight gain just to name a few.
Unfortunately, due to our modern diet and heavy use of vegetable oils and industrialized animal products (like eggs), our omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is closer to 1:37!
Butter from grass-fed cows, however, turns out to have an excellent balance of omega-3s to omege-6s!
To conclude, and simplify, reduce as much processed foods from your diet as possible and that includes vegetable oils which are commonly used whenever you let companies do the cooking for you! Junk food, restaurants that use cheap oils, and even well-intentioned mothers and maids that haven’t been educated properly on healthy versus unhealthy fats are potential risks for consuming bad fats.
I hope that this fat trilogy has brought some new insight into your worldview of nutrition. Often times things are not as they seem – especially, if you’re getting your worldview from social media and magazine periodicals that are more interested in grabbing your attention and selling many copies rather than spreading the truth (albeit sometimes a little boring).
Nutrition can be a large and confusing topic, but I do encourage you to continue your journey to learn about it because in the end, you are responsible for your own well-being!
And of course, I’ll be here to guide you where I can.