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So What’s the Skinny on Fats?

Fat is getting a bad rap these days. I am not talking about the fat on the underside of your arm that continues to assure you that gravity is an unconditional law. Nor the fat in front of my tummy that is in a constant battle with my belt. That is bad fat. No doubt about it. But not all fat is bad. The low fat craze has most of us believing that fat makes us fat. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The reality is that, in order to be healthy, we need fat. In fact, as a chiropractor I am particularly concerned with fat because nearly 50% of your brain, eyes, and nervous system are fat. Fat surrounds your brain and nerves and helps to conduct the neural impulses along your nerves from your brain to the various parts of your body. At home when my wife says that I am being fat-headed it is one of the greatest compliments she could give me. I know she is referring to my intellect!

Dr. Craig’s Cole’s notes on FATS:

Trans fats are very BAD! They are manufactured by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils in a process called “hydrogenation”. This is done to preserve the food and give it a longer shelf life. Trans fats wreak havoc on the body at a cellular level and cause multiple health problems including cancer and heart disease. Margarine is a common trans or hydrogenated fat and should be avoided completely – especially for those with heart problems. Here is a good way to look at this: If an apple falls from the tree and begins to rot on the ground within a few days, why does an apple cereal bar last from months to years?

Some fats are essential to our diet. This means that our bodies can not manufacture them and we therefore need them in our diet. These are omega 6 and omega 3 fats.

Omega 6 are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’S) like sunflower, safflower, canola, corn, and soybean oil. In North America we consume way too many of these. These fats tend to go rancid very easily and produce inflammation and disease in our bodies. Limit or reduce the use of these oils. By the way, many French fries and potato chips are made using these oils which go rancid when heated and become dangerous to our bodies. If I need to tell you that French fries are bad fat, then we need to talk! An optimal diet has an omega 6:omega 3 ratio of 1:1, whereas the typical North American diet has a ratio of between 20:1 and 50:1.

Omega 3 fats are the healthy fats like flax oil, hemp oil, and fish oils. These are truly some of our super foods. Omega 3 fats, from fish sources in particular, reduce brain inflammation, improve nerve growth and repair, lower blood pressure, reduce the chances of heart disease, reduce plaquing of the arteries, lower triglycerides, and have an overall anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Krill oil is the best source for your healthy fats. It is highly absorbed so 500 – 750 mg/day is great for most people.

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