FATS: NOT ALL ARE AS BAD AS YOU THINK.

FATS: NOT ALL ARE AS BAD AS YOU THINK.

Every membrane of our cells inside our body are made of fats, many hormones, neurotransmitters and other active substances in the body are made of fats, therefore, fats are an essential part of our diet, the question relies on what type of fats we should focus on.

 

Processed FATS

In the last post we talk about hydrogenated fats o processed fats, we learned that they are highly present on industrial foods like pre-prepared meals, therefore its consumption should be highly limited.

The reason behind this statement is because the “hydrogenation” process involves temperatures of 248-410 F with the presence of heavy metals like nickel and aluminum [1], once ingested, heavy metals accumulate inside our tissues, the body has a hard time getting rid of this type of metals, and in high quantities, it builds up at the point it becomes highly toxic.

Studies show a link between toxic metals accumulation in many mental degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia [2].

Furthermore, buildup of processed fats alter fat metabolism, raising the level of LDL cholesterol, which is sadly known as “bad cholesterol”, this protein main function is to transport fats from the liver to cells that need it, in excess it can show high affinity for artery walls making it hard for blood flow to travel, this condition is known as atherosclerosis; a buildup of plaque or “fat” in artery walls.

It is estimated that an average intake of this type of fats in the western diet can be as high as 50 grams a day.

SATURATED FATS

Animal fats like fresh meats, dairy and egg yolks contain a healthy composition of saturated and monounsaturated fats, the balance ratio between those two is key when it comes to nutrition.

Saturated fats are not the devil, saturated fats in moderation are an essential nutrient, the “demonization” of saturated fats is the result of the food industry’s interest to convince everybody that they are harmful to health and responsible for our bad habits and poor food choice selection, as stated before and I’ll say it again: “the dose makes the poison” and eventually everything in excess will do damage, the key is to acknowledge that frequency and quantity in foods plays a big part in the outcome of our general health.

Physiologically speaking saturated fats enhance our immune system, protect us from infection and are essential for the body to be able to utilize unsaturated fats [3].

¿WHAT ABOUT CHOLESTEROL?

When we talk about animal fats, a question about cholesterol always comes up, because everybody has heard about cholesterol “clogging up your arteries” or causing “heart disease”, this idea came from poorly understood diet hypothesis in the 1950s, since then, nutrition and science have evolved, and this once believe hypothesis has been proven wrong by recent era scientific studies.

The truth is that we humans cannot live without cholesterol. Let us see why.

Every cell in our bodies has cholesterol as a part of its structure. Different kinds of cells in the body need different amounts of cholesterol, depending on their function and purpose, the brain, in particular, takes up around 25% of all body cholesterol to maintain brain structure and a healthy nervous system [4].

A healthy nervous system is vital, a fatty substance called myelin coats every nerve cell and every nerve fiber, like insulating cover around electric wires. Loss of myelin can create havoc, and one of the main conditions it can develop is called multiple sclerosis, a disease in which vision, balance, muscle control, and other basic body functions are damaged or altered. 

Approximately 20%of myelin is cholesterol [5], but, if you start interfering with the supply of cholesterol in the body you create a deficit that with time can lead to problems.

UNSATURATED AND POLYUNSATURATED

Fats from plants have a very different composition, they are largely unsaturated, as a matter of fact, we do not need tons of this type of fats, and our diet should rely more on saturated and polyunsaturated fats or essential fats.

Essential fats are called this way because our bodies cannot make so we have to take them from food, these are omega 3 or alpha-linolenic acid (LNA) and omega 6 or linoleic acid (LA).

The richest sources of LNA and LN are mainly found on fish, especially salmon and on second place seeds and nuts (all in general), in smaller amounts, we can find it in walnuts, soybeans and egg yolk. From LNA and LN the human body can make other fats.

OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS

From LNA two very important fatty acids are formed, Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), these two are vital for normal brain and eye development, they are found in abundance in brain cells, nerves, visual receptors and in some gland in the body [6].

However, to properly metabolize LNA the body needs a good supply of micronutrients like vitamin C, B3. B6 and some minerals like Magnesium and Zinc [7], therefore a balanced diet can ensure the correct production of LNA, because if not, you may be eaten great sources of essential fats but with a deficiency in some key macronutrients, your body may have trouble producing it.

OMEGA 6 FATTY ACIDS

LA can be broken down inside our bodies to form Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA), Dihomogamma Linolenic Acid (DGLA) and AA (Arachidonic Acid). These fatty acids play important roles in the immune system, hormone metabolism and inflammation [8]. Like LNA, LA needs a steady supply of the same micronutrients.

AA deserves particular attention, as it is by far the most abundant fatty acid in the brain, it makes up about 12% of all brain fat [9]. Research shows that patients with autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression have low levels of AA in their bodies [10].

We need both omega 3 and omega 6 fats, however, nowadays diets people generally get more omega 6 than omega 3, which may predispose them to various inflammatory diseases. 

Studies [11] shows that for people with heart problems it is important to have more omega 3, the ideal ratio is disputed as it is very individualized, but studies on healthy adults [12], establish a parameter ratio of 2:1 of omega 3 and omega 6 respectively. 

We should consume all-natural fats in their natural state, in WholeFort we provide the natural base product with the highest nutritional profile, we live in an era of TV and social media with constant exposure to pastries, chocolates, pre-prepared meals, takeaway meals, etc.

The dietary reference intake (DRI) for fat in adults is 20% to 25% of your total calorie intake that is about 44 grams to 77 grams of fat per day if you eat 2,000 calories a day (everybody is different so everybody has different needs, this is just an example). 

Base on the information we provide, we recommended to eat a very balanced intake of fats, the next distribution can be labeled as optimal to aid/maintain/promote a healthy balanced diet.

  • Saturated fat: 5% to 10%
  • Monounsaturated fat: 10%
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 5% to 10%
  • Trans fat: 0%

REFERENCES - Written by Antonio Reyes RDN
  1. Dietz WH, Scanlon, KS. Eliminating the Use of Partially Hydrogenated Oil in Food Production and Preparation. JAMA. 2012.
  2. Antonio M.T., Corredor L., Leret M.L. Study of the activity of several brain enzymes like markers of neurotoxicity induced by perinatal exposure to lead and/or cadmium. Toxicol Lett. 2003.
  3. Phipps, R.P., Stein, S.H., and Roper, R.L. A New View of Prostaglandin E Regulation of the Immune Response, Immunol. 1991.
  4. J. M. Dietschy and S. D. Turley, “Cholesterol metabolism in the brain,” Current Opinion in Lipidology, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 105–112, 2001.
  5. Dietschy JM. Central nervous system: cholesterol turnover, brain development, and neurodegeneration. Biol Chem. 2009.
  6. Holman RT. The slow discovery of the importance of 3 essential fatty acids in human health J Nutr. 1998.
  7. Burdge GC. Metabolism of alpha-linolenic acid in humans. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2006.
  8. Johnson GH, Fritsche K. Effect of dietary linoleic acid on markers of inflammation in healthy persons: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012.
  9. Bezard J., Blond J.P., Bernard A., Clouet P. The metabolism and availability of essential fatty acids in animal and human tissues. 1994.
  10. Hallahan B, Garland MR. Essential fatty acids and mental health. Br. J Psychiatry 2005.
  11. Weber PC, Leaf A. Cardiovascular effects of omega 3 fatty acids. Atherosclerosis risk factor modification by omega 3 fatty acids. World Rev Nutr Diet. 1991.
  12. Astorg, P., Arnault, N., Czernichow, S., Noisette, N., Galan, P. & and Hercberg, S. Dietary intakes and food sources of n-6 and n-3 PUFA in French adult men and women. Lipids. 2004.
  13. J. M. Dietschy and S. D. Turley, “Cholesterol metabolism in
  14. the brain,” Current Opinion in Lipidology, vol.12, no.2, pp.
  15. 105–112, 2001

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