Fats…a paradigm shift

I am so excited to see that there is finally a mainstream perspective that recognizes the importance of essential fatty acids and the detriment of eating low-fat foods.

Tracy Rohland in the Down to Earth website states:

“Proper nutrition and weight loss are both hot topics in society today. It is important to be aware that weight loss does not necessarily translate into proper nutrition. Many individuals believe that in order to lose weight, one must eliminate fat from the diet. Unfortunately, this can be very harmful to the body as certain types of fats are critical to proper function of the body. These beneficial fats are known as Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). They are essential because your body cannot produce them on its own so they must come from your diet. The two primary EFAs are known as linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).

These EFAs are necessary for the following processes:

  • Formation of healthy cell membranes
  • Proper development and functioning of the brain and nervous system
  • Proper thyroid and adrenal activity
  • Hormone production
  • Regulation of blood pressure, liver function, immune and inflammatory responses
  • Regulation of blood clotting: Omega-6 FAs encourage blood clot formation, whereas Omega-3 oil reduces clotting. The ideal is to achieve a balance between omega-6 and omega-3 FAs
  • Crucial for the transport and breakdown of cholesterol
  • Support healthy skin and hair

Sources of Omega 3’s include flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, soybean and its products such as tofu and tempeh. Walnuts, and dark green veggies, such as kale, collards, chard, parsley, and cereal grasses (wheat & barley grasses), are also good sources. This is because all green (chlorophyll-rich) foods contain Omega-3 FA in their chloroplasts.

Sources of Omega-6 fatty acids include nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, and dairy.

Experts advise that one should consume a minimum of between 3% and 5% of calories from Omega-6 and about .5% to 1% from Omega-3 FAs. In a 2000 calorie diet, that is about 12 grams of Omega-6 and 3 grams of Omega-3.

A vegetarian diet is naturally low in fat, so be sure to include EFA-rich foods in your healthy lifestyle.”

…and from a news article from The Telegraph:

Low-fat diet could kill you, major study shows

Low-fat diets could raise the risk of early death by almost one quarter, a major study has found.

The Lancet study of 135,000 adults found those who cut back on fats had far shorter lives than those enjoying plenty of butter, cheese and meats.

Researchers said the study was at odds with repeated health advice to cut down on fats.

Those doing so tended to eat far too much stodgy food like bread, pasta and rice, the experts said, while missing out on vital nutrients.

Participants eating the highest levels of carbohydrates – particularly refined sugars found in fizzy drinks and processed meals – faced a 28 per cent higher risk of early death.

The NHS cautions against having too much saturated fat, on the grounds it raises cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease.

But the latest research, presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress, in Barcelona found those with low intake of saturated fat raised chances of early death by 13 per cent compared to those eating plenty.

And consuming high levels of all fats cut mortality by up to 23 per cent.

(read more)

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