Why some fats are healthier than others
March 16, 2015
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Years ago nutritional experts told us that cholesterol was the main culprit in heart disease and that we should try to eliminate it from our diet. The food industry happily jumped on the bandwagon, rejigging the formulation of their products and telling us how heart healthy their new products were.
Then the nutritionists said, no, cholesterol isn’t the main problem, saturated fats are far more dangerous. Once again, the food industry, the diet industry and dear old Aunt Grace took it upon themselves to get us to stop eating so much saturated fat.
Wrong again. Now they tell us that the real culprit is too much Omega 6 oils in our diet. Our body requires a roughly two to one ration of Omega 6 to Omega 3. Too much Omega 6 in the diet reduces the ability of the body to convert the ALA (Alpha linolenic Acid) Omega 3 in plant foods to the EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) forms of Omega 3 that protect us from diseases. An elevated intake of Omega 6 is associated with an increase of inflammatory diseases. The list of such diseases includes: heart disease; obesity; type 2 diabetes; macular degeneration; irritable bowel syndrome; rheumatoid arthritis; asthma; cancer; autoimmune diseases and psychiatric disorders.
The problem is that most of the oils that we have turned to in our stampede to eliminate saturated fatty acids from our diet contain mostly Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acids. Such oils include corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, peanut oil and sesame oil. Soybean oil has a ration of seven to one Omega 6 to Omega 3. Even olive oil is high in Omega 6. Canola oil runs at the ideal two to one ratio.
Flaxseed oil has four times as much Omega 3 as Omega 6, which is why eggs from chickens fed a diet containing flaxseed have the ideal two to one ratio in their yolks.
Fish oils have mostly Omega 3. In addition, the Omega 3 in fish oils is already in the form of EHA and DHA which can be immediately used by the body. Since I have suffered from macular degeneration, I now take an Omega 3 supplement with the highest DHA number that I can find to reduce future deterioration.