Fat is Essential, You Just Have to keep it Balanced

For decades we were told that fat will make you fat. It became public enemy number one in the diet world. Saturate fat was considered especially bad and we were told that if we eat any fat, it should be polyunsaturated fats. Fat Free became the new marketing focus in the grocery aisles. Carbohydrates based foods were the substitute, made from refined grains, sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. The result was more weight gain, not the weight loss that was to be expected by avoiding the higher calories in fat. Then we were introduced to the Atkins diet—a diet based on fat—and people were losing weight on it! Not that I would recommend the Atkins diet, but it certainly put an end to the theory that fat makes you fat.
The omega-3 and omega-6 fats are essential for life, we cannot live without them. It is not difficult to get them in our diet, but we need to keep them in balance. That is what is difficult — keeping them balanced, especially given the food choices we have with our industrial agriculture and food industry providing what we have in our grocery stores. Our industrial agriculture system produces millions of tons of grains and carbohydrate rich foods. The fats in most of these foods are high in omega-6, producing omega-6/3 ratios in excess of 10 to 1 and as high as 20 to 1 in some. These high ratios are behind many of our medical problems.
Our bodies do make fats. We can take carbohydrate energy and turn it into fats like triglycerides and cholesterol. We can make a wide variety of fatty acids up to 16 carbons long, but we cannot make the 18, 20 and 22 carbon omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Our bodies do need some of the fats that it makes, but often it is just a way to store excess energy. Cholesterol and triglyceride levels in our bloodstream are indications that we are probably consuming more calories than we are burning—in other words they are indicators of overeating, which is generally pretty obvious based on our height to weight ratio or BMI. Overeating has created a nation that now has 1 in 3 considered obese.
How did we get here? There are a combination of factors; reduced need for physical labor in our jobs, increased intake of sugar, especially high-fructose corn syrup, the makeup of our processed foods and increasing reliance on them, our increasing omega-6/3 ratios which produces hormones that stimulate appetite. As the calories we need to do our jobs decreased, we did not reduce our intake of calories in proportion. Some suggest that sugar is even addictive, giving us a sugar high that the pleasure centers in our brains want us to repeat. The high omega-6/3 ratio produces endo-cannabanoids, which act like marijuana and give us the munchies. All of these factors are singly or in combination producing an obesity epidemic.
Obesity alone is an indicator of a risk for heart disease. It increases the work our heart has to do to maintain circulation. It increases the risk of artery clogging cholesterol and fat deposits. It is part of the reason that medical science jumped to the conclusion that cholesterol was a major cause of heart disease. In addition, they assumed that dietary intake of cholesterol was the real problem, without really understanding the mechanisms behind the manufacturing of cholesterol in our bodies. Ultimately pharmaceutical companies identified drugs that could block the enzyme (HmgCoA ) that our cells use to make cholesterol. However, that doesn’t eliminate the underlying problem of obesity and the drugs (statins) come with their own set of problems.
It was the focus on cholesterol and its correlation with heart disease that pointed us in the wrong direction for the past 30 to 40 years. Dietary sources of cholesterol and saturated fats were to be avoided. In their place, vegetable oils with polyunsaturated lipids were recommended. The medical community had made a common mistake of assuming that correlation implied cause without identifying the mechanisms that could prove cause. Now, with the idea that cholesterol was the cause of heart disease so ingrained in the minds of doctors and people, it has been very hard to correct that mistake and teach people about one of the real causes of heart disease—Omega-6!
The statins have no effect on excess omega-6 and the increased inflammation, clotting and adhesion that it produces. Taking fish oil will help balance the essential fat ratio, but it won’t help much if we continue to consume massive amounts of omega-6 typical of most on western diets. Even those on vegan and vegetarian diets can have excessive omega-6 if they are not aware of the sources and do not eat seafood.


Saturated Fats vs Omega-6

For over 50 years doctors have been telling us that saturated fats and cholesterol were causing heart disease. They were wrong, there was never any biochemical mechanism to show how saturated fats were causing heart disease. There were some studies that showed a correlation between blood cholesterol levels, but there were others that did not show a correlation in other countries. Still, the fact that the arterial plaque contained saturated fats and cholesterol was enough to make some jump to the conclusion that cholesterol was the cause of heart disease. The real cause is omega-6, the correlations are much stronger than they ever were with cholesterol, but again correlation does not prove cause–it just gives you a point to begin the search for cause. The proof comes from the biochemical processes that use the omega-6 lipids to make hormones that promote clotting, adhesion, inflammation, vaso-constriction (causing higher blood pressure), pain and swelling. There are no biochemical mechanisms showing saturated fats doing any of those things that are all associated with heart disease and many other diseases.

Overeating in general is a major factor in the accumulation of fat deposits in our arteries. It is also one of the sources of cholesterol in our blood. When we eat more energy than we burn, our cells look for ways to store that energy, creating fat is one of those ways, but making cholesterol is another. There is a feedback system that suppresses the formation of cholesterol by cells when blood cholesterol levels are high, but we overwhelm that system when we overeat. As I pointed out in an earlier post, omega-6 is one of the causes of our overeating, it causes our bodies to make endo-cannabanoids that stimulate us to eat more than we need. Reducing omega-6 will help you lose weight and will improve you health and prevent many different medical problems.

My book will show you how to reduce your omega-6.

It is on amazon as an ebook for $3.99