We recently returned from the amazing Swis Symposium in Toronto and what a great weekend it was. Big names, top-notch presenters and loads of amazing information to bring home. One of the most dynamic speakers there was Dr. Eric Serrano. His presentation spoke on fat. Not the fat on your body but dietary fat. Interestingly enough the correlation between the two is significant. Let’s check out some of the highlights.
Dietary fat, which has long been hated by many, actually has a great role in our lives. Dietary fat does many things such as providing the body with EFA’s, acting as a vitamin carrier, aiding in the production of hormones and bile salts and providing protection to our bodies. It also helps your food to taste good and providing you with satiety. All dietary fat falls into one of the 3 categories. Polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fat. Let’s break them down.
Polyunsaturated fats consist of two types, omega 6 and omega 3. Most vegetable oils such as corn, soybean, sunflower and safflower are high in omega 6 fatty acids. Fish, fish oils and flax seed are higher in omega 3 fatty acids. What becomes important when thinking about PUFA’s is the balance between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Today, we tend to be very high in omega 6 fatty acids, which contributes to things such as inflammation, depression, and joint pain. There are several reasons for this. One being non-grass fed meats. These animals have a higher ratio of omega 6 to omega 3. So if you are eating animals with an off ratio, yours will be too. So go grass fed over grain fed! The other being the high incidence of things such as corn, canola and soy bean oil in so many of our foods today. Seriously, just read your labels they are everywhere!!! A few other factors can make you susceptible such as being a mom and having breastfed, genetic disorders and certain lifestyle factors can all deplete your reserves. So moms if you’ve had kids, they’ve probably depleted your omega 3 reserves and you need to replenish them!!!
Monounsaturated fat comes from sources such as avocados, macadamia oil, olive oil and peanut oil. These oils are not super stable at high temperatures and are best for sautéing. Another amazing bonus, avocado oil can help reduce wrinkles. So rub it on your skin! You want to make sure you purchase your oils in a dark bottle so that they are not oxidized by light.
Lastly, we have our saturated fats. These sources are butter, coconut oil and animal fat. These fats have long been getting a bad rap. Saturated fats are stable at high temperatures and can be used for cooking safely. Saturated fats also provide us with cholesterol, which is necessary for many things. Among them, brain and hormone production. A few things we need to know about saturated fat…. Always ensure your butter is grass fed. If your cow is pumped with the wrong diet and hormones then you will be too. Ensure the animal fat comes from grass fed animals since fat is actually where animals store their toxins. And lastly, don’t leave them out! They are good for you :)
Just a few little points on fats… There is so much more we can cover and will do in the upcoming months. But for now, remember fat won’t make you fat. Be choosey about what kind of fats you are consuming and balance out your omegas!