Good vs. Bad Fat

Not to be the bearer of bad news, but the USA, UK, and even developing countries like China are becoming fat, fatter, and even obese. In the fall of 2008, Time Magazine reported that sixty-seven percent of Americans are now overweight or obese, and that ninety-six percent of the population cannot even recall the last time they had a salad, which is roughly 288,000,000 citizens. In the UK, two-thirds of men and nearly sixty percent of women are considered overweight, while China’s youth are 6.6 pounds heavier on average than their counterpart’s thirty years prior.

Although the “F” word usually correlates to our burgeoning waistline, there is fat that we need. Below are examples of “Bad” and “Good” Fats.

Bad:
Trans Fat- Perhaps the biggest “fat” culprit of all, The Harvard School of Public Health, which offers an in-depth history of this man-made fat, describes that trans fat was first developed in the late 1800’s where chemists ¬†added hydrogen atoms to unsaturated fats by bubbling hydrogen gas through vegetable oil. Also noted, the process was found to be less expensive than solid animal fats and their composition allowed for easier transportation and broader use. Until the overwhelming, negative effects of this fat were revealed, trans fat, which is also referred to as partially hydrogenated oils, could be found in cookies, cakes, breakfast products, snack foods, and the list can go on and on. In 2006, it was mandated that trans fat be specifically labeled on packaged food. Since that time, there have been trans fat bans in restaurants throughout New York City, and the entire state of California. Health challenges arising from trans fat include: heart disease, cancer, and liver distress.

Good:
Did you know we actually need fat to survive? This is why “Low or No Fat Diets” are a terrible idea.

Yes, our bodies need fat, specifically those known as Essential Fatty Acids (EFA). Here is a list of EFA’s that you need to know and incorporate into your diet:

Omega-3 and Omega-6- These omega fats cannot be created within the body, we actually need to consume foods that offer them:
Omega-3- Ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, linseed oil, walnut oil, green leafy vegetables (broccoli, kale, and spinach), legumes (mung, kidney, navy, pinto, and lima beans, peas and split peas)
Omega-6- Leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains, and vegetable oils (safflower, cotton, sesame)

Monounsaturated- This fat reduces bad cholesterol levels in your blood and lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke. It also provides nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells. Examples of monounsaturated fats include olive oil (make sure you buy organic), avocados, nuts, and seeds.

We have a valuable service that will assist your regarding your personal fatty acid levels. The Bloodspot EFA profile measures key omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and provides solutions to help determine a proper balance. Furthermore, it identifies levels of inflammatory, eicosanoid balance, and zinc requirements.

Sources:
Harvard Nutrition Source Wikipedia Vegan Peace AmericanHeart.org, Boseley, Sarah. “Fears for the future as figures reveal Britons are fattest people in Europe.” 11 October 2006. guardian.co.uk. 11 November 2008. Park, Alice. “America’s Health Checkup,” Time. 1 December 2008: 41-51.

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