The Do’s & Don’ts of Fats and Oils

Since we’ve learned a bit about how important our gallbladders are, I thought I’d expand on how to eat to keep it working optimally. Fats are the key to making this happen.

Below is an excerpt from the book “Know Your Fats” by Mary G. Enig, PhD.

Dr. Enig is a highly regarded lipid researcher and is most well know for her research on trans fatty acids. She was one of the first researchers to publish an analysis of commercially available foods showing the level of trans fats they contained. This was before they were required to be labeled on packages, a time when the food industry was trying to pretend trans fats didn’t exist. She is also co-author, with Sally Fallon, of the iconic whole-foods cookbook, Nourishing Traditions. Her recommendations are that all fats and oils be from a natural source with minimal processing.

Dr. Enig’s text in black, my comments are colored.

The Do’s

  • Do eat an egg (or more) a day if you’re not allergic to them. The yolk is where the nutrition is concentrated so eat the whole thing – no more egg-white omelets!
  • Do consume optimal amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Sources include cold-water fish, ground flax seeds, walnut oil in salad dressings.
  • Do limit excess omega-6 fatty acids in your diet. This one sounds more like a don’t to me, but the point is that while we needs omega 6’s in a properly balanced diet, they are really easy to come by and we don’t usually have to make any effort to eat them. These are in the canola, corn, and sunflower oils that are so often used in packaged and restaurant foods.
  • Do include sources of lauric acid in your diet. Lauric acid is a very healthy type of saturated fat that is found in coconut products and also in small amounts in full-fat dairy products. It has anti-microbial properties – very good for your gut flora!
  • Do remember that full fat milk and dairy products are healthful foods and should particularly be eaten by children. Imitation dairy foods should be avoided because their natural fats are usually replaced by trans-fats or other anti-nutrients.
  • Do include some fats in your diet from natural meats, fish, eggs, and/or dairy products. They are necessary  as sources for true Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12.
  • Do consume optimal amounts of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), phytochemicals (like lutein, lycopene, and carotenes), and bionutrients (coenzyme Q10, carnitine). This means having some fat in each meal to help you absorb these.

The Dont’s

  • Don’t fear cholesterol. Cholesterol is the body’s repair substance. It is needed for proper brain function and hormone balance.
  • Don’t fear saturated fats. Saturated fatty acids are the body’s natural fats, which are used for appropriately functioning cell membranes and for critical energy in important organs such as the heart and other muscles.
  • Don’t use only one type of fat or oil exclusively. Fats and oils are different from each other and you need a variety.
  • Don’t save oils that have become rancid even if they were expensive. Rancid fats and oils are dangerous to your health. If it smells “off” throw it away!
  • Don’t consume any products containing partially hydrogenated vegetable fats and oils. The contain trans fatty acids, which have been identified as a major nutritional cause of coronary heart disease. If you only follow one of these rules, let this one be it!
  • Don’t believe the story that there are plenty of people around the world who eat and thrive  even though they contain no animal products. All healthy groups of people seek to provide growing infants and children with milk first from humans and then from animals, and eggs from birds or reptiles or fish.

*** Obviously if you have allergies to any of the products listed above you should avoid them. Not every food will work for every body. ***

*** Please note that I am a student and not a medical provider. Nothing posted on this site should be considered as medical advice. ***

This post is part of Fight Back Friday at FoodRenegade.com

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