Omega-3 Fats

An ideal diet should obtain between fifteen and twenty percent of its total calories from fat.

The American diet provides over forty percent of calories in the form of fats and oils.

Not only is this a shockingly high amount, but the kind of fats that are built into foods are the bad ones, the saturated and polyunsaturated ones.

These oils have been processed, exposed to powerful solvents and overheated. They are unhealthy, adulterated fats.

This cheap energy contains some of the nastiest carcinogenic and atherogenic compounds on the planet. 

Its toll on health can never be calculated.

This is not to imply that all fats are bad. All saturated fat is bad. Almost all polyunsaturated oils are bad including the omega-6, one of the essential fatty acids. It is not that it's bd, it's just that we get too much of it and that is what is bad.

Monounsaturated and omega-3 oils are good fats. The more omega 3 fats in the diet, the more omega 6 fats that can be eaten before it promotes inflammation 

Omega 3 fats repress inflammation and are very healthful.

 

Long chain fatty acids are the building blocks of fats and oils in the diet.  Each chain contains either 16 or 18 carbon atoms and may have one or more double bonds.

The more double bonds a fatty acid contains, the more the fat is subject to molecular alteration.

Double bonds are the sites of free radical attack.

Linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid are polyunsaturated fatty acids containing 18 carbon atoms.

Linoleic acid possesses two double bonds beginning at carbon number 6, while alpha-linolenic acid contains three double bonds beginning at carbon number 3.

Linoleic acid therefore belongs to the omega-6 family of polyunsaturated fatty acids while ALA belongs to the omega-3 family of fatty acids.

Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids are considered, essential fatty acids.  

This is because the body cannot manufacture them. It does not mean they are both desirable.

ALA, or omega-3 oils are good fats. The presence of too much omega 6 fatty acids in the diet makes them a bad fat.

 

The double bond position is important because the 6 position resists hydrogenation and chemical breakdown. This is in contrast to the exposed omega-3 bond, which becomes converted into less desirable oils in the refining process.

Linolenic acid (the omega-3 precursor) is readily converted to a trans-fatty acid when it is hydrogenated. Linolenic acid is destroyed in the commercial extraction process. Hence the complete lack of omega-3 oils in cooking oils.

Linoleic acid is found in high amounts in all vegetable oils including as safflower, soy and corn oils. When taken in amounts greater than ten percent of total calories, linoleic acid causes the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins.  Modified lipoproteins are atherogenic and cause plaque deposits on the inside of arterial walls.

Linoleic acid, although an essential fatty acid, is implicated in initiating atherosclerosis and therefore its intake should be limited.

Polyunsaturated fats become rancid in the presence of oxygen, heat and light.

Omega-6 fats  are converted to arachidonic acid, a precursor to the formation of inflammatory molecules.

When omega 6 oils are consumed in high amounts they change the healthy balance between omega-3 and omega 6 fats.

The new ratio is  an unhealthy one, an imbalance that  promotes inflammation and arthritis.

 

 

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