Fat is one of the most demonised macro nutrients, and unfairly so. Profit led research and bad science in the past has made the western world think fat is the enemy. In this blog post i’ll be cover the different types of fats, the benefits of them, as well as which ones you should include in your diet, as well as the evidence!
In todays post, lets start off with the fat that is most promoted (and prominent) in our diet, the PUFA’s, or Polyunsaturated Fat as we like to call them. Studies are now showing that rancid (Means gone off) PUFA’s such as vegetable oils play a role in the same effects that saturated fats were demonized for – atherogenesis (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16270286)
The reason why PUFA’s are very prone to becoming rancid (Oxidised/gone off) is because of their molecular structure. They are very unstable, going rancid as soon as they see light, air and heat. Please bear with me for the scientific bit!
- Poly= many
- Unsaturated= Having the power to dissolve more of a substance (such as oxygen which makes it gone off when it reacts with the air)
PUFA’s are highly sensitive, meaning that simply exposure to air or heat and make them rancid. So think about it, all those bottles of vegetable oils that have been sitting in the supermarket for months, do you think they are not rancid?
PUFA’s have been linked to the following:
- Oxidising cholesterol (this is when the damage really occurs)
- Inflammation – Do you have a stuffy nose? headaches? back pain?
- Free radical damage (the opposite of an anti-oxidant!)
Where are they found?
- Grain products
- Fish Oil (However this can be a very beneficial type if not oxidised)
Omega 6 can be inflammatory- and inflammation is what causes most major diseases- including cardiovascular health disease. ( I will make a post explaining inflammation soon)
Whereas Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory, meaning it prevents all those problems associated with inflammation – arthritis, pains, aches, stuffy nose, and a general feeling of wellbeing.
Unbalanced levels are now also being associated with depression.
So whats the ratio in most oils? (Omega 6:Omega 3)
- Olive oil is 3:1
- Soybean Oil is 7:1
- Corn Oil is 46:1