Categorized | Nutrition

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Facts About Fats

Since March 1990 the US health authorities suggested that all Americans over the age of two should
reduce their daily intake of saturated fats below the 10% of total calories and their total intake of fat
below 30% of daily calories. These suggestions were first introduced in the 1960’s and were at that time
a fair representation of the evidence that saturated fats and excessive total fats in the diet can be the
cause of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

Nutrition science made mighty advances since the recommendations made their laborious way through
the heavy committies of the US health authorities. The advice of the 1960’s is now obsolete.
We know now that if you follow current government advice on fat intake you are most likely going to
DAMAGE YOUR BODY BEYOND REPAIR. That’s putting it heavy, but as you will see, the new evidence
is without dispute.

Fat is your body’s major fuel and some people still think that you have to eat much of it in order to keep
your energy level high. They got it wrong. A slim man of 85 kg who has only 10% body fat carries 7%
of that fat as a fuel store. This fat store weight 5500 grams and holds 49,500 calories,at 9 calories per
gram, which is enough to run for a hundred miles.

In contrast to his fat store, his other major source of fuel,his 450 grams of glycogen, holds only 1800
calories, at 4 calories per gram. The limit on energy is always glycogen, because your muscles
cannot function properly without a minimum level of glycogen.

So even a very slim person never runs out of fat. You need to eat very little in order to maintain a
sufficient fat store. This means between 10% and 15% of daily calories should be sufficient.
If your body should ever need any extra,it can easily convert proteins and carbohydrates into fat.

Bodyfat is put on much easier by eating fat than by eating other food. The current government advice
that it’s ok to eat 30% of daily calories in fat encourage you to eat a lot of it. The result is waddling
before us. Four in every ten American adults are overweight and it’s getting worse every decade.

Overwhelming evidence shows that even moderate overweight is a direct cause of many diseases
and the risk of disability and death is on the increase in almost all diseases.
It’s obvious that our health authorities with their current advice on fat intake are making you sick.

All fats are made of fatty acids, consisting of a fat part and an acid part. Their chemical make-up
consists of a carbon chain made of carbon and hydrogen atoms.
The length of the carbon chain depends on the type of fat. Short-chain fats such as butyric acid
in butter have four carbons. Fish oils and the long-chain fats that comprise most of our brain,
have 20 to 24 carbons.

Besides  the fat our body use for fuel, it requires many special fats They function as part of the
cell membranes around every cell and as parts of your brain, inner ear, eyes, adrenal glands
and sex organs.

Our body can make these special fats only if it gets the right raw materials from our diet, which are
two essential fats our body can’t make: linoleic acid and alpha-linolic acid. Both of which are
long chain (18 carbons). For optimum health, these two fats have to be provided by our diet.
The body can tranform them in any other kind of fat it needs.

Unfortunately, essential fats are scarce in the average diet. The best source of inoleic and
alpha-linolenic acids is flax or linseed oil. Other sources are: pumpkin seeds, walnuts, soybeans
and canola oil. Dark green leaves  of leaf vegetables also contain small amounts.
Good but expensive oil sources used in supplements are blackcurrant seed oil, borage oil,
evening primrose oil and fish oils.

The fat content of common seed oils is shown in the table. This table applies only to cold-pressed,
unprocessed oils that have not been hydrogenated. As you will see, when even the best oils are
processed into margarine and cooking oils,they lose their healthful attributes.

The percentage of fats in vegetable oils. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
                  Polyunsaturated Fats        Mono-         Saturated
                  Linoleic alpha-linolenic   Unsaturated      Fats
                      Acid          Acid                  Fats

                                      The Good Oils
Flaxseed          15             54                    22                 9
Pumpkin seed  45             15                    32                 8
Soybean          42             11                    32               15
Walnut             50              5                     29               16
Canola             26              8                     57                 9
                                        Second Best
Almond              17              –                      68              15
Virgin Olive        12              –                      72              16
Safflower           70              –                      18              12
Sunflower          66              –                      22              12
Corn                   59              –                     25              16
Sesame              45              –                     45              13
Rice Bran            35              –                     48              17
                                          The Bad Oils
Peanut                 29             –                     56               15
Cottonseed          48             –                     28               24
(May contain toxins)
                                          The Ugly Oils
Palm                       9             –                     44              48
Palm kernel            2             –                     18              80
Coconut                 4              –                      8              88

These percentages  hold only for fresh unprocessed, cold-pressed oils that have not been hydragenated.

                                       Saturated and Unsaturated Fats.

Saturated fats have all their carbon atoms ‘saturated’ with hydrogen atoms. They have no empty
hydrogen spaces to link up with the hydrogen of other molucules in your body.
As a result, they can only be used by your body for energy. Unsaturated fats have empty spaces
where hydrogen atoms are missing. These spaces form special keys that can fit the locks of
other molecules in your flesh.  

Health authorities would have you believe that saturated fats come mainly from meats and raise
cholesterol levels and vegetable oils are unsaturated and keep  cholesterol down.They are wrong!

It’s true that meats, cheese, eggs and milk are high in saturated fats, but so are palm oil, palm kernel oil
and especially coconut oil. Many foods are loaded with  saturated fats. They raise cholesterol and
low density lipoproteins (LDLs) and damage your health just as much as the greasiest fatback bacon.

 Also contrary to government health recommendations, recent evidence shows that not all saturated
fats are bad. Carefully controlled studies now indicate that medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s)
which are saturated fats extracted from coconut oil, don’t raise cholesterol.
Neither does the saturated fat stearic acid.

To make things worse, we know now that many of the so-called polyunsaturated fats approved
by our health authorities, raise cholesterol over the moon because of what food processing has
done to them. Remember, the good oils in the preceding table remain healthy  only if they are
unprocessed. Have a look at what’s happening to them on the way from the field to your table.

Cis Versus Trans Fats.
Almost all natural fats excists in so called a cis configuration. That means the hydrogen atoms
on the carbons are all on the same side of the molecule. Because of their light electrical charge,
the hydrogen atoms repel each other and put bends in the carbon chain, like a series of
overlapping horseshoes. These bends are the essential shape of the molecule, the key
which fits the precise locks in your body that enable the special biological functions in your
body to take place.

This essential cis configuration is destroyed by modern processing methods, like heating,
hydrogenation, bleaching and deodorizing. These procedures are applied to almost all
mass-produced fats and oils. They change the healthy cis configuration into an unhealthy
trans configuration. Chemically, the hydrogen atoms become rotated so that they lie on
opposite sides of the fat molecule. The molecule then straightens out and loses its key shape
that links with your cells in order to perform the biological functions of fats.

Your body is very adaptable. Although the trans fats no longer fit its locks, it still has to try
and use them for the essential functions of fats. In cell membranes for example, trans fats cause
the membranes to leak, thereby disrupting cellular metabolism and permitting toxic substances
to enter the cell. We know now that trans fats incorporated into cells membranes cause
abnormal cell functions that is implicated in both cardiovascular diseases and cancers.

Recent studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine also show direct disease
effects. Young, healthy males show elevated cholesterol levels and elevated low density
lipoproteins (LDLs) , if placed on a high trans fat diet for only three weeks.
These elevations in cholesterol and LDLs are as high as those reached by feeding subjects
a diet high in saturated fats from palm and palm kernel oils.

Identifying Trans Fats
All process oils contain trans fats. The more solid the oil, the higher the trans fat level.
Liquid vegetable oils contain up to 6% trans fats and margarines and shortening up to 58%.
You can identify trans fats in other foods by looking for the words “hydrogenated” or
partially hydrogenated in the ingredients list. You will find these words on the lebels of many
breads, candies,baked goods, chocolate, frozen dinners and processed meat products.
If you want the best of health, don’t eat them.

The whole of Europe has had mandates against trans fats for some years.
Many  European foods now state specifically on the labels that they are made with cis fats,
the healthy kind, even margarines. Buy and use only the good oils. Especially buy and use
organic flax oil, it will go a long way to protect your health.

Smart Fats.
There are other important health reasons for using organic flax oil as a regular part of your
nutrition. To understand them you have to know a little about what your body does with the
two essential fats: linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. Along the way I will show you why
the two fish oils, eicosapentanic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic (DHA) are such powerful
protection against disease. It is vital to know about these essential fats if you want to protect
your health.

The next figure shows the sequence of special fats that your body makes from dietary essential
fats. As you can see, lnoleic acid from your diet is the start of the omega-6 sequence of fats.
Like all fats in biochemistry, it has a descriptive number, cis 18:2 omega-6.
Sounds complicated but it’s realy quite simple. The number merely describes a series of
bumps and hollows just like those on your car key.

Note first that the fats are in cis form. Biochemists know that only the cis form works in the human
body. The first figure, in this case 18, represent the number of carbons that make up the length
of the chain. The second figure, in this case 2, represent the number of hollows in the chain,
that is, empty spaces for hydrogen atoms. These spaces create part of the key that fits the
locks for specialized functions of fats in your body. The third figure, in this case 6,  refers to the
number of carbons along the chain where the first empty space occurs. This position creates
the rest of the key.

The following diagram shows how the human body uses and converts the two essential fats.      

OMEGA-3 ————–>     Conversion          ——————->    ———————->
 Dietary                             by delta-5-          Eicosapentanoic      Docosahexanoic
 alpha-linolenic                 desaturase                 acid (EPA)              acid  (DHA) 
 acid                                  enzyme

 OMEGA-6 ————–>    Conversion   ————->    —————->      ————-.>.
 Dietary                             by delta-6-     Gamma        Dihomogamma     Arachidonic
 linolenic                           desaturase     linolenic       linolenic                     acid
  acid                                   enzyme           acid             acid 

Alpha-linolenic acid from your diet is 18:3 omega-3, the start of the omega-3 sequence of
fats. Look to the right in this sequence and you will see that alpha-linolenic acid is converted
by your body first into EPA, then into DHA. DHA is vital to health because most of your brain
is made of it. A shortage of DHA  causes inevitable brain degeneration and is now believed
by researchers to be one factor in America’s  current epidemic of Alzheimer disease.

EPA and DHA  are also the two omega-3 fats found in fish, especally oily fish like salmon,
mackerel and sardines. If you eat these fish then you get your DHA preformed, saving your
body a lot of work in making it. Now you know there’s some truth to the notion that fish is
brain food.

Omega-3 fatty acids produce vital chemical messengers in your body, called prostaglandins.
Studies have shown that some of these prostaglandins can kill breast, lung and prostate
cancer cells stone dead. From this evidence, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute
declared that omega-3 fats have “potential clinical usefulness” in cancer treatment.

This evidence is vital to your health because studies show that omega-6 fats, although they
are essential for some functions, also produce inflammatory prostaglandins that promote
cancer growth. Omega-3 fats keep this cancer effect of omega-6 fats under control.
For optimal resistance to cancer, you have to keep your intake of omega-3 fats dominant
over omega-6.

Unfortunately, the American diet is very low in alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3), but high in
linoleic acid (omega-6). Most vegetable oils have little or no omega-3 fats and a lot of
omega-6 fats. The only common oil that contains a healthy balance is organic flaxseed.
That’s why it’s so important for good health.

The benefits of omega-3 fats don’t stop with cancer. The evidence is impressive that a high
intake of omega-3 fats (about a tablespoon of organic flaxseed oil per day) goes a long way
to inhibit cardiovascular disease, adult-onset diabetes and theumatoid arthritis.
Include omega-3 in your nutrition every day!

‘We are part of a universe filled with wonders, just waiting for our wits to grow sharp enough
to see them.”    
                                                                                                          Michael Colgan.

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