Many of our readers have been asking for a quick review of healthy and unhealthy fats. We have learned that all fats are not bad. This insight counters what was taught and believed for many years. Remember the teaching. “Fats are bad for you. Go on a low fat high carb diet.”
We now realized that we need some fat in our diet and that some fats are actually healthy. The very worse of the bad fats are trans fats. Fortunately they are now banned in the USA. Trans fats increase the bad LDL Cholesterol and decrease the good HDL cholesterol. Trans fats are also inflammatory and contribute to insulin resistance and an increased risk of diabetes II.
It is estimated that for every 2% of daily calories that a person gets from trans fats the risk of heart disease increases 23%.
Saturated fats come from red meat, milk, cheese and coconut oil. Saturated fats can increase your total cholesterol and LDL. It is advised that you limit saturated fats to less than 10% of your total calories.
Good fats are found in veggies, nuts, seeds and fish. Monounsaturated fats are the best. They are found in olive oil, peanut oil, avocados and most nuts. In the 1960s the famous Seven Countries Study demonstrated that Greeks had a longer life expectancy than natives of other countries even though they had a high fat content in their diet. The secret was that the Greeks had a high intake of olive oil. We have a ranch in Sonora California where we produce a superb olive oil. I ingest a tablespoon a day. Try it.
Polyunsaturated fats are found in corn oil, sunflower oil and safflower oil. At one time they were highly touted for their health benefits, but the buzz has died down. They have a limited place in a healthy diet. One the other hand omega 3 fatty acids are extremely important. They are anti-inflammatory and should have an important place in your diet. Many experts are of the opinion that a significant cause of the high incidence of inflammatory disease in our society is the low ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids in our diet. Omega 6 fatty acids are abundant in most of the processed foods that we eat.