It took me several years into my healing journey to understanding what fats are good and what are bad.
Overconsumption of Omega 6’s can cause inflammation and poor-quality seed oils contribute to inflammation and oxidation on a cellular level. These oils are affordable so used in most processed foods and restaurants.
Fat is a great part of our diet, but in the right context. I am hoping by educating you on one types of fat you see how potentially harmful it is to our health.
Lightbulb moment: Saturated fat is healthier than you think for you and Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAS) are more dangerous to our health than you think.
There are three main types of fats:
– Saturated (the best choice)
– Polyunsaturated (aka PUFAs)
Saturated fats are one of the healthier fats that have become feared. When eaten with fiber (cooked veggies or properly prepared grains) they are beneficial and needed for cellular health. These are solid at room temperature like butter and lard. They contain only single bonds between carbon molecules versus unsaturated fats that have at least one double bond between carbon molecules. Unsaturated fats are your liquid fats like olive oil.
Monounsaturated fat is a fat molecule that only has one double bond. The polyunsaturated fat has more than one double bond. High-PUFA content fats include canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, margarine, and any “vegetable oil.”
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are the two major classes of PUFAs. People love the buzz word “omega” and sometimes overdo it. Omegas are important, but the ratio is more important.
Omega fats are needed for brain function and cell growth. They are both essential fatty acids for your body, meaning they are not produced by your body, so they come from diet.
The problem is most of the time, these nutrients are not consumed in their desired 1:4 ratio. Instead, you’ll see food items with a disparity in their ratio, or even equality, like with almonds 1:1 ratio.
So why are PUFA’s bad?
Due to its chemical structures containing multiple double bonds, PUFAs are easily oxidized. Once you purchase vegetable or corn oil, cooking with it can make even it more rancid. When in our bodies, oxidized PUFA can be dangerous. Specifically, a primary cause in the development of heart disease the oxidative damage to fat-containing low-density lipoprotein particles.
Because they’re inflammatory, oxidized fats are dangerous.
One example of oxidation is by heating cooking oil many times or by reusing it. One study showed that when oil is heated by a bunch of times, it causes inflammation when consumed. Even though inflammation can help you fight infections and heal injuries, this is a big factor in inflammatory diseases which happen to be some of the most common diseases of today.
Chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity are due to an increase of inflammation by eating oxidized fats. which could raise your blood pressure and contributes to hypertension. Along with several types of cancer and metabolic syndrome autoimmune disease. It is also the main cause of liver damage and Type 2 Diabetes in children with obesity. This comes to say that inflammation isn’t the only cause of all these diseases. It just contributes to them.
Oxidation of PUFA doesn’t only happen when oils are used for frying over and over again. Also, when the oil in a clear bottle is left in your shelf or at the supermarket for a long time, exposing it to light and heat, oxidation occurs.
So what is the problem with over consuming PUFAs?
The more food you consume that includes these PUFAs, the more that it is accumulated in your bodies tissue. It takes years for these fatty acids to turnover in adipose tissue. This means it takes time to undo some damage – even if you shift to a healthier diet.
So, what is this Omega ratio? Consuming too much Omega-6 isn’t just the problem. But actually, a deficiency of Omega-3. That is why the ratio of consumption of the types of PUFAs must be improved. Getting more Omega-3s while reducing Omega-6. Unfortunately, this is hard to do in a world full of processed foods and oils.
Now before you ask- A SUPPLEMENT IS NOT THE ANSWER! Yes, the ratio here is important, BUT the Omega-6 overload can’t be fixed by taking too much Omega-3 supplements to balance it out. Too much of anything is harmful, and this is why we use real food vs. supplements. Just like Omega-6, Omega-3s can also be oxidized and excessively consuming it is just as inflammatory. Omega-3s from whole foods like fish, oxidation is rarely to happen versus the Omega-3 supplements are commonly oxidized.
For a well-balanced and ratioed PUFAs diet here is a simple list to follow:
- Stay away from processed and industrial oils like “vegetable oil”, soybean oil, canola oil, etc., and anything made with them.
- Stick with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Butter, and things like Beef Tallow.
- Be careful how much nuts you are consuming on a daily basis.
- Sardines, salmon, and mackerel are the kinds of fatty fish that you should eat more as it has natural Omega-3. Unless you have the assurance that the fish oil supplement you take is of the best quality, you should avoid it as Omega-3s can be oxidized too and fish oil supplements often are.
I hope this didn’t scare you- but makes you feel comfortable for choosing that quality butter over a fake oil.
Thanks for laying this out. I’ve been aware of the idea that saturated fat isn’t the poison we thought it was, and that there’s a problem with consuming too much seed oils, but this makes it clear what’s actually happening.
It’s so ironic that to avoid whole foods with saturated fat, we invented all new kinds of processed foods out of mostly seed oils, refined carbs, sugar and preservatives, and called them “healthy”.
Thanks for helping people get back to natural unprocessed foods that our bodies can actually thrive on ❤
Thank you Eru!
Seed Oils are a huge part of the chronic inflammation problems we see today.