Deciphering the Facts about Fats

Fat is not always a bad thing – in fact, fat is essential for daily function of vital organs (such as the brain, heart, and reproductive organs).

Fat can be broken down into two different categories: saturated (“bad”) and unsaturated (“good”).

Unsaturated fats can be further broken down into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Polyunsaturated fats are missing several hydrogen atoms and are essential to our health since our bodies cannot manufacture them.

Polyunsaturated oils, in particular, are necessary for hormone production and to regulate bodily activities.

There are two types of polyunsaturated oils: omega-3 fatty acids (which can be found in fish, eggs, and flaxseed oil) and omega-6 fatty acids (which can be found in seeds and seed oils). While both types are essential for the body, there are several differences between the two types of polyunsaturated fats and different associated health implications.

Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in the prevention of heart disease and several forms of cancer, aid in weight loss and healthy weight maintenance, and also support the production of important hormones that keep you healthy, feeling great, and looking younger and leaner (i.e. the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone).

Omega-3s can be found in eggs, nuts, flaxseed, and cold-water fish.

Omega-6 fatty acids, on the other hand, can be dangerous if consumed in excess amounts as well as if consumed in insufficient amounts. Omega-6 fatty acids should be included in the diet, but in moderation.

These fatty acids are commonly found in corn, peanuts, and seeds (and their oils), as well as in evening primrose and borage oils (which can help ease arthritis and premenstrual cramps).

Results may vary by individual, so consult your doctor today and see if this is right for you!