Believe it or not, fats are the good guys. There are good fats and bad fats.
Fat is essential to life. 86 per cent of the developing brain of an infant is made of fat.
How well that nervous system will grow will depend on exactly what type of fat you put in your diet. Simply put, your body needs fat to survive.
Think about this for a moment: Every cell in your body, whether it is bone, skin, vessel, hormone, blood cell or intestinal is coated by two layers of fat.
This is called a bilipid layer, bi-meaning two, lipid-meaning fat. The function of this layer is to regulate and protect the cell from would be attackers.
Think of the fat layer as ‘call display’ and the attacker as the ‘in-laws.’
A properly functioning fat will allow only the friendlies in and keep the bad guests out.
Having said that you can see how important good fats are in maintaining health and proper metabolism in your body and mind.
When reviewing the bad oils, one realizes that there is no such thing as bad, just ghastly oils. For instance, any oil that’s hydrogenated is poison.
The process of hydrogenating an oil changes its formation to a combination that is toxic to the liver.
In essence, it changes the normal formation; a cis fatty acid to a trans fatty acid. These fats are very harmful to your body and indeed can cause problems later in life.
The bad guys are the trans fatty acids and hydrogenated fats.
These are the ones to avoid. These fats are omnipresent in most refined and overly processed foods available today. Take a look in your pantry tonight and you will be surprised to see just how many things have hydrogenated oil in them.
Trans fatty acids create havoc in the body causing disease, inflammation and an accelerated aging process as well. Almost all fast food is riddled with these nasty oils.
As an aside, when cooking use grape seed oil. It is one of the few oils that are stable at high temperatures. That means it will not convert to TFAs at high temperatures. Many other oils such as flaxseed, olive, canola, safflo, mazola oil, will become trans fatty acids at high heat.
As I said, you need fat to survive. The no-fat diets of today create chaos in your body’s inner workings.
Good fats can be found in ‘essential fatty acids’ like the omega 3, 6 and 9s.
By the way, these are called ‘essential’ because they are essential or necessary for life. Animal fats in moderation are acceptable as well, as long as you are choosing lean cuts of meat.
Fish oil is superb. I must stress that omega 3 is one of the most important oils out there and it is not readily available in the North American diet, so I suggest daily supplementation.
These all-important fats cannot be manufactured or made by your body, hence the term ‘essential’ fatty acids. They are essential to life and you must put them in your diet daily.
I like to suggest omega 3 essential fatty acids to my patients with chronic connective tissue disorders like fibromyalgia or a myofascial pain syndrome.
These essential fatty acids are legendary in decreasing tissue inflammation, increasing brain function and immunity all the while staving off would be diseases.
Fats do not choose you, you choose your fats.
Success in life is attained solely by taking a role of leadership over yourself and your life. I am reminded of a quote by Kahil Gibran. He wrote this: “A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than knowledge that is idle.”
Markus Thiel is a doctor of chiropractic practicing in Kelowna.