Here’s the real skinny on fats
Editor’s note: Summit Daily News provides the Rocky Mountain Remedies section for health care providers who advertise in the health section; it is a venue for them to share personal and professional viewpoints and tips. This article is brought to you by the Summit County Chiropractors (listed below) and from Suite101.com.Are all fats bad? Let’s start from the beginning. When researchers realized that arteriosclerosis was a major factor in heart disease, they suggested cholesterol was a culprit. Analysis of arterial wall plaque deposits revealed dense areas of cholesterol compounds. The margarine manufacturers jumped on this one in a big way. In the 1960s and ’70s, we were inundated with television and print commercials touting the health benefits of various butter substitutes. Butter became evil.Soon this butter paranoia spread to other fats and oils and, by the late ’80s, we had a virtual fat-free frenzy. All fats, we were told, were evil, and, given the obsession with slimmer-than-slim bodies, we quickly latched onto this hysteria. So the food manufacturers fed us low and ultra-low fat foods.But the fact is that fats and oils are absolutely essential to good health. The brain, spinal cord and nerves are composed of about 70 percent fat – mostly cholesterol. Hormones are cholesterol based. Just as there are seven essential amino acids from which your body can produce hundreds of proteins, and just as there are essential vitamins and minerals, so too are there essential fats – three to be precise.Now please don’t get me wrong. There are harmful and dangerous fats, mostly those that have been overheated. Fats also spoil and go rancid, just as proteins do. It is important that we eat only fresh oils and fats. Your nose is your best guide here. If your olive oil smells off, then it probably is. One of the problems with shelf life is that if a substance can sit on a shelf for months and not spoil, how alive was it to begin with? Some oils simply never spoil; they are that over-processed. Don’t buy those things. Same goes with ultra-pasteurized milk. If milk can sit unrefrigerated on a shelf for a month, how can it be beneficial?If simple lifeforms such as molds can’t live on this milk, or on processed cheese or on corn and sunflower oils, how can complex beings like us? A rule-of-thumb: Eating sterile and devitalized food can only make you sterile and devitalized.Anyway, back to fats. The fat component of our typical diet is the most messed up of all the other parts. Fats are classed into groups. One common group is the Omega fats. These are classed as Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9. The most important ratio is between Omega 6 and 3. It has been observed that our ancestors in prehistoric times ate a diet in which the ratio between these fats was around 1:1. If your diet is under 4:1, that is, four times more Omega 6 than 3, you can get along OK. As the ratio rises, so does inflammation. Inflammation causes pain and congestion. Congestion causes blood vessel blockages (arteriosclerosis), heart disease (heart attacks, angina), poor brain circulation (depression, Alzheimer’s disease) and many other common conditions. Inflammation also causes joint pain and arthritis. High ratio foods are pro-inflammatory, while low ratio foods are anti-inflammatory.Examples of high ratio foods that enhance inflammation are: White bread (21:1), whole wheat bread (27:1), potato chips (60:1) and corn chips (12:1). These are foods that have been baked at high temperatures, and many of the fats have been altered as well. Altered fats are called “trans fats,” and these are dangerous in other ways, but that’s a subject for another day. If you have joint pain, try to avoid these foods for three weeks. Replace your salad dressings with flaxseed or walnut oil, and use olive oil for cooking. You’ll probably be surprised at the reduction in your pain levels.Foods with good Omega fat ratios are: Broccoli (1:3), kale (1:1.3), lettuces (1:2), fresh fish (1:7) and packaged fish (1:1). Fruits are generally 2:1 (bananas) or 1:1 (cherries).So, by decreasing the high ratio foods and increasing the low ratio ones, you’ll not only have much less inflammation, but you’ll probably lose weight as well.
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