Good Fat, Bad Fat: A Paleo Perspective
- Total fat consumption has decreased.
- Saturated fat consumption has decreased.
- Animal fat consumption has decreased.
- Omega-6 fat consumption has increased.
- Seed oil consumption has increased.
- Obesity has increased.
- Type-2 diabetes prevalence has increased.
- Heart disease mortality has decreased, but the prevalence of heart disease remains very high.
Guidelines at Odds With History
- Fat: 20 to 40% of total calories
- Protein: 25 to 35% of total calories
- Carbohydrates: 25 to 40% of total calories
Will the Real Bad Fat Please Step Forward?
- Fatty acids (fat) consist of chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached. Saturated fatty acids have the maximum number of hydrogen atoms attached to each carbon atom. Unsaturated fatty acids have carbon atoms without attached hydrogen atoms.
- There are two types of unsaturated fat—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
- Furthermore, there are two primary types of polyunsaturated fat—omega 6 and omega 3.
Our Ancestors Ate Seeds, but Not Seed Oils
- Corn oil
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower oil
- Canola oil
- Safflower oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Cottonseed oil
Why the Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio Matters
- Reduced inflammation13
- Improved risk factors for cardiovascular disease14
- Improved the quality of the skin15
- Improved brain health, especially during the developmental years16, 17
The Omega-6 Problem
- Immune system repression
- Lowering of healthy HDL cholesterol
- Increased risk of heart disease
- The susceptibility of omega-6 to oxidize, which promotes free radical damage
- Increased risk of prostate cancer
- Increased risk of breast cancer
Practical Advice: Learning From Our Ancestors
- Instead of focusing on reduced fat, focus on reduced carbs.
- Eat mostly monounsaturated and saturated fat (all types of animal fat, avocado, coconut, olive oil, whole nuts).
- Minimize omega-6 by eliminating seed oils (flax oil is okay).
- Ensure optimal omega-3 by eating oily fish (sardines, tuna, salmon, etc.) and/or taking an omega-3 supplement.
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