Omega-3s and More: The Importance of Fat in a Healthy Diet

By now, you may have heard the news that a low-fat diet is no good. Here’s what you need to know about that important omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, DHA, alpha linoleic acid, and a host of vital benefits of healthful fats.


| December 2015/January 2016



Free-Range Eggs Grass-Fed Meat

Free-range eggs, cooked in pastured butter, and grass-fed meat are higher in omega-3 fatty acids than their factory-farmed counterparts.


Photo by iStock/CarlaMc

Omega-3 fats are getting a lot of attention these days, but they’re not a panacea. No miracle cure exists for what ails us. Nonetheless, omega-3s do have a unique place in the evolving discussion of which foods to eat. Think of omega-3s as a gateway fat — a portal into a bigger, fuller, richer story of fats in general.

Fats are complicated, a fact we must embrace. It was, after all, an oversimplification that persuaded experts to recommend avoiding them for the past 40 years. Consider, for example, how the popular mantra “You get fat because you eat fat” relates to a cornerstone of contemporary medicine: “Cholesterol in our blood derives from eating certain fats, and causes the heart disease that kills us.”

None of this is true. Despite prominent critiques over the past decade by writers such as Mary Enig, Ph.D., Gary Taubes, and Nina Teicholz, these anti-fat articles of faith spawned legions of unctuous fat nags, cholesterol screenings, skin-trimmed chicken breasts, Egg Beaters, and margarine. All of this was wrong, yet, until recently, the medical industry has stuck by its low-fat guns.

Article at a glance:
Fats in Your Kitchen
Why Grass-Fed Is Better
Small Changes, Big Results: Dietary Changes to Improve Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio

How Bad Advice Brought Bad Health

The long-recommended health guidelines that demonized all fat ultimately increased the amount of recommended carbohydrates in our diets. Unlike fats, carbohydrates are simple. Some carbohydrates are called “complex” — such as whole-wheat flour and potato starch — but all carbohydrates eventually reduce to sugars, which then reduce to glycogen. An overload of carbohydrates triggers an insulin response, leading eventually to insulin resistance — one of the markers associated with metabolic syndrome, which underpins obesity, diabetes, heart disease and the related inflammation.

Our bodies run on combustion, so we eat carbohydrates with the belief that glycogen is the fuel of life — but fat is fuel, too. Fats burn just fine. They just don’t reduce to a single, simple molecule. Your body will use fats in all of their rich variety — monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated.

dittrich@primus.
11/30/2015 11:43:27 PM

How about Sea Buckthorn? Equal amounts of Omega 3 & 6, as well as 7 & 9.






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