The Facts on Fat

Fat…the most misunderstood macronutrient of them all. Is it good or bad for? Does it cause atherosclerosis? Vegetable oils are better than animal fats? Saturated fats will kill you?

The above questions are just a few that google reports being most asked. People have been questioning and theorizing over dietary fats for years. It’s a bit of a civil war within the nutritional community still to this day. The few that believe that saturated fats are silent killers and the majority that knows the importance of saturated fats.

This article is not opinion or beliefs, but the facts. Once your armed with information, I trust you’ll be able to decide for yourself which side of the fence you fall on.

There are four different kinds of fat: Saturated, Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated, and Trans Fat. Each of these are unique in composition and must be used at a certain time or place. Let’s start with the easiest…

Saturated Fats

  • Solid at room temperate
  • The most chemically stable
  • Animal sources and coconut oil

Monounsaturated Fats

  • Liquid at room temperature and solid once chilled
  • Slightly unstable
  • Olive oil and avocado are the most common

Polyunsaturated Fats

  • Liquid at room temperature and chilled
  • The most unstable
  • Fatty fish, walnuts, and sunflower seeds

Trans Fats

  • Solid or liquid at room temperature
  • Stable due to being artificial in nature
  • Processed and fried foods

What does stable or unstable mean? In the case of saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats, it means the fat is less likely to oxidize and become rancid. Once fats become rancid they release free-radicals or toxins in the body and do more harm than good. To keep fats stable, they need to be protected from light, refrigerated, kept away from heat until cooking time, and not exposed to air more than necessary.

Inflammation: While most people have negative connotations associated with inflammation, this is a vital process of the body to restore itself from injury and over-use. It becomes an issue when it is chronic, at inappropriate times, or uncontrolled.

Pro-inflammatory

  • Active the inflammation system
  • Saturated Fats, dairy, coconut oil

Anti-inflammatory

  • To remove inflammation
  • Omega-3
    • Flax, walnut, fish oils
  • Omega-6
    • Black currant seed
    • Most oils

While the nutrition world is at odds over saturated fats, everyone has agreed that trans-fats are to be avoided under all circumstances. They increase inflammation within the veins as well as within other parts of the body.