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Good Fats Bad Fats We All Need Fats!

Posted May 06 2010 9:58am
Let's talk about fat baby, let's talk about you and me let's talk about all the good things and the bad, let's talk about fat.....
A little salt n' peppa to get you started.

Fats are confusing.
We all think fat is bad which is evident by the brightly coloured labels screaming, 'No fat' or  low fat'. Well let's just sort this issue out right now.

Don't by products that say No fat or low fat. Don't just put the blueberry crumble pie yoghurt done and realize that if you're buying a product that says no fat - than it's absolutely loaded with sugar.

Fats are a big topic and I'm not going to be able to cover it all in one blog entry. So here's the first chapter on fats.

What fats are what?

Some fats are awesome - the building blocks of cells. Some are toxic and very very bad and some are just kind of neutral. We'll examine all of them.

The good Stuff:

Essential Fatty Acids - you want these in your diet. Over 80% of the population in North America is short on EFA's and you want them.

There are two well known EFA's Omega 3 and Omega 6. They are called Essential because we need them to live and we can't make them ourselves.

So how do you eat more of these:

Omega 3 is a big one and it helps with eye and brain development and is good for any type of inflammation as it works like an anti-inflammatory. It improves immune function and reduces blood clotting.

Where do I find this essential fat?

  •  all leafy greens contain omega 3 - yet another reason to be green
  • pumpkin seed oil
  • flaxseed oil
  • canola oil
  • soybean oil
  • walnut oil
So eating nuts is a big one for this healthy fat. 

Now Omega 6 is a little more readily available in the North American diet and it is important too. It is awesome at lowering total blood cholesterol levels as well as levels of LDL which is called the 'bad' cholesterol.

The human brain contains contains and Omega 6 to omega 3 ratio of 1-1.  In all other cells in the human body the ratio varies from 3-1 or 5-1. 

Polyunsaturated Fats:

Despite the long names these are in fact good fats. 
These fats are liquid and remain that way at room temperature.  

You'll find these fats in the following foods:

  • cod liver oil
  • fish
  • flax oil
  • pecans
  • primrose oil
  • soy oil 
  • sesame oil
  • to name just a few
Monounsaturated Fats: 

These are related to polyunsaturated fats they come from plant based sources. 
Good to know: these fats do not affect blood cholesterol levels - in a bad way - in fact they can improve them.

These good fats can help the body deal with aging better and are liquid at room temperature but can become cloudy or semi solid when it is cold. 

Where to find these fats:

  • almonds
  • avocados
  • canola oil
  • cashews
  • olive oil
  • pecans
  • peanuts
Fats you want to limit or avoid entirely:

Saturated Fats:

Think of being saturated with bad health - these heavy fats come primarily from meat and dairy and our solid often at room temperature.

Why are they somewhat bad? 

Well first of all we are designed to eat some saturated fats so eradicating them completely from your diet is silly. What you should know is that you want the good fats you eat to outweigh the bad fats because all of our cells and cell walls are made from fats and when we eat too many 'bad' fats they replace the good fats in the body's cellular structure when you don't have enough good fats to go around. 

A high intake of saturated fats causes:
  • increased cholesterol levels
  • increased heart disease
  • forms of cancer
  • they impair the liver's ability to remove LDL from the blood
The real Bad guys: 

Trans Fats and Hydrogenation:

These fats are not naturally occurring they are man made fats that are created by super heating oil and changing it's cellular structure to a form that is essential unrecognizable to the body. 

Any margarines or solid vegetable shortenings that are solid should be considered suspicious. If the oil is super heated and cellularly changed you don't want it in your body. Cellulite is one result of these fats but there are many other more serious concerns.

Just avoid these items or any products that contain them - often cheap baked goods are culprits.

What are the best fats for me?

Organic Canola
Rice Bran

The Bad Guys:

Palm Kernel
Cotton seed 
and anything with Trans fats or has been super heated.

Coconut Oil:

There is debate about this one.
Some love it some feel it increases cholesterol levels - but the test that proved this involved a hydrogenated from of coconut oil so it's hard to say.

It does taste fantastic and is a great alternative to butter in baking if you're going vegan or dairy free.
It is however partly saturated so could be an issue for those decreasing the saturated fats in their diet.

When buying or eating fats:

  • Look for cold pressed or expeller pressed where the oils have not been heat treated and therefore have maintained their good and healthy qualities.
  • Dark glass or bottles that don't let light in keep the oil protected. 
  • Store them in a cool dark place.

Just a sidebar: I always tell clients to buy fats carefully. I am not a stickler about only buying organic simply because i know for many it's not economically sustainable. But we are talking about your sweet and sexy ass and heart here so don't take it for granted.

In all animals toxins we eat are stored in the fat of our bodies same goes for cows. So buying organic milk and especially butter makes sense. 

Have a happy ass - healthy fat day.


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