Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Skinny on Fats

Passion. It is a real part of who I am. A friend joked this week, “is there anything you don’t research?”  As I reflected on that question, I realized that as an adult I have always been one to dig deep into any interest. I’ve researched herb and butterfly gardening, baby bottles and equipment when I was pregnant, African parrot sub-species differentiation when we raised parrots, wall paint, blenders, etc. …and now I stay up all hours researching health and wellness products, supplements, and the foods we eat. I don’t take a claim at face value, but dig deeper to find out if the claim is substantiated with research and truths. But how does one determine truth? After all, I am not a bio-chemist by trade. If I can find several sources, books, articles/newsletters and sometimes even lab reports on line – pointing in the same direction, then I feel a claim has “two feet to stand on”.

Today I am sharing information based on hours of researching something we use every day – fats, or oils used in cooking. Everyone has heard of the importance of Omega 3 oils. The American diet is greatly deficient in getting enough of these oils, vital for brain and heart health. Our body cannot produce it on its own – it must be consumed. In contrast, American diets swing in the other direction of the scale when it comes to consumption of Omega 6 oils.  These oils are available to us in foods made by the Creator, and "no thanks" the the food industry, are abundant in processed foods, chips, salad dressings. Packaging and clever marketing persuades us that these are healthy choices, but are Omega 6 oils truly healthy?

Dr. John Lee, in his book, “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer” takes a very strong stance against Omega 6 oils, which become rancid quite readily, especially during processing. Per Lee, these oils are full are free radicals even before the bottles are sealed and readied to line the shelves of our grocery stores. But do I question the health of Omega 6 oils based on the writings of one book by one doctor and two co-authors, no…

I took the title for today's blog post directly from Dr. Russel Blaylock's October 2010 issue. Blaylock is a board certified neurosurgeon who recently retired from his neurosurgical duties to devote his full attention to nutritional studies and research. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about fats in the diet. Saturated fats get the blame for high cholesterol, which truth be told, the real culprit for high cholesterol is simple carbohydrates - folks, if it is made with white, processed wheat flour - it is SIMPLE. Refined sugars also contribute to heart disease, diabetes, cancer (indeed sugar is a fuel cancer cells crave to thrive - but I digress...).
Our bodies are actually in need of saturated fats to function properly, whereas Omega 6 fats are the culprits that cause inflammation, propagates cancer, diabetes, stroke... Do we need both Omega 3 and Omega 6? To this I am not certain, and have more research to conduct. Follow this link to an article about the importance of Omega balance. No matter, the truth is, as a society, we are far from experiencing a deficiency in Omega 6 fats in our diet.

Per Blaylock, below is a list of fats that you may wish to store for reference:

Healthy Fats

• Extra-virgin olive oil

• Omega-3 fats (fish oil, DHA and flaxseed oil)

• EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)

• DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)

• Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) — borage oil

• Conjugated linolenic acid (CLA)

• Extra-virgin coconut oil

Unhealthy Fats

• Omega-6 oils (corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, canola and soybean)

• Trans-fatty acids (partially hydrogenated oils)

When I began this post I had cut and paste all sorts of notes from various health sites to study further and share with you. However, I came across an article that really does a wonderful summary of what both Dr. Lee and Dr. Blaylock stated in their publications, and concurs with the other sources I have found.

Rense, the author of what I deem one of the best articles I have read in quite some time, “speaks” with passion on the subject of Omega 3 vs. Omega 6 oils. Rense is a passionate research journalist, which is perhaps why I find his article compelling, as well as being extremely educational and upfront about fats and oils.  I have added his article to my side bar. You owe it to yourself and your family to read it –  if you don’t have time today please earmark it for future reading. Having read Rense's piece – I won’t even bother to share with you the other sources I have found – again, all pointing in the same direction.
To summarize, in our household we use primarily Extra Virgin Olive Oil for everything.  We rarely cook anything with high heat, but for such needs, use either coconut oil, palm kernel oil, or GHEE (clarified butter). We bake with organic BUTTER.  (BTW – if you have a Costco membership please visit the suggestion/how are we doing table near the service desk and make a suggestion that Costco carry coconut oil.)
Again, please refer to this article by
Dr. Blaylock has authored three books on nutrition and wellness, including “Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills,” “Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life,” and his most recent work, “Natural Strategies for The Cancer Patient.” If you would like a PDF copy of his newsletter on "fats" please send me an email or comment with a contact reference.

Another book highly recommended on is “Know Your Fats – Understanding Cholesterol”.

 This link to a lab has an interesting report on Omega 6 to 3 ratios if you care to check it out.
I know for fact that I do not get enough Omega 3 in my diet, even though I use olive oil almost exclusively in my food preparations, and supplement with a quality vegan Omega 3. God has provided plenty of Omega 6 sources, such as nuts, seeds, vegetables and even meats. When choosing fats and oils to use in your kitchen, do your heart a favor and select from the list Blaylock provided above.

To your health!
Rita S.

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