Friday, August 2, 2013

Let's Talk About Fat Baby...

I will try to keep this simple because it can get complicated.  We need fat. But there are many different types of fat. 


Small amounts of natural trans-fats occur in meat and full fat dairy and that small amount is ok to consume. Note the word natural.  Because it is the artificial trans-fats you want to steer clear of.  Those are found in processed cookies, cakes, pizzas, stick margarine, vegetable shortening, fried foods, pre-mixed cake and cookie mixes, frozen dinners, chicken get the idea.  The items in the supermarket where you look at the long list of ingredients and you can't pronounce half of the words. 

Long-Chain Saturated Fat 

Affectionately known as LCSF.  The ever so informative Chris Kesser (Chris Kesser) explains LCSF better than I can:

"These fats are found mostly in the milk and meat of ruminant animals like cattle and sheep. They form the core structural fats in the body, comprising 75-80% of fatty acids in most cells, and they’re the primary storage form of energy for humans. In other words, when the body stores excess energy from food for later use, it stores it primarily as long-chain saturated fat.
Unlike polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) and carbohydrates like glucose and fructose, saturated fats have no known toxicity – even at very high doses – presuming insulin levels are in a normal range. Long-chain saturated fats are more easily burned as energy than PUFA. The process of converting saturated fat into energy the body can use leaves no toxic byproducts. In fact, it leaves nothing but carbon dioxide and water.
This means that, assuming you are metabolically healthy, you can eat as much saturated fat as you’d like without adverse consequences. I’m sure this will come as a surprise to many of you, since we’ve been collectively brainwashed for 50 years to believe that saturated fat makes us fat and causes heart disease."

Medium-Chain Triglycerides

MCTs are found in coconut and mother's milk and are a great source of energy.  They do not metabolize like other fats.  Which means they are not broken down in the digestion process, they go directly to the liver via the portal vein.  MCTs are used as a fat source when someone is fed via a feeding tube. Data also supports that this type of fat may help fight Alzheimer's Disease. 

Monounsaturated Fat

MFA for short and also called oleic acid. It is found in beef, olive oil, avocado, lard and certain nuts (macadamias). There is some evidence that eating these foods improves blood cholesterol levels.  You are okay to eat MFAs but nuts do contain omega-6 polyunsaturated fats (see below). 

Polyunsaturated Fat:  Omega 6 and Omega 3

PUFA are chemically unstable and prone to oxidation (think heat). They are found in numerous foods: nuts, oils, vegetables, cereal grains and meat.  There are two types of PUFA.  And we need a 1 to 1 ratio of these fats in our diet for optimal health. Unfortunately the average American has a 10 to 1 or 20 to 1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3.

Omega 6
Also called linoleic acid, your body cannot make it so you have to consume it.  You can find linoleic acid in vegetables, cereal grains and meat. But here is the tricky part, Omega 6 is found in large amounts in processed oils like soybean, cottenseed, corn the problem with the 10 to 1 ratio.

Omega 3
Omega 3 can be broken down into short chain (DHA, EPAI)and long chain (alpha-linoleic acid, ALA).  ALA can be found in flax seeds and walnuts.  DHA and EPA are found in fish and small amounts in animal protein (think grass fed beef).  Some research shows that the body has a hard time (in people with nutrient deficiencies or illness) using ALA.  DHA and EPA might be a better choice for Omega 3.  But make sure your fish and meat is from a good source (organic and grass fed).

I hope this will help you make better choices when it comes to fat.  Remember fat is your  friend and not your foe.

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