HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE
Health at Every Size - these are the buzz words around the internet these days. Are you healthy? Do you want to be healthier?
What is health? The World Health Organization defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". Being healthier doesn't mean losing weight. To you it might mean:
- eating better (such as reducing processed foods)
- exercising/moving more
- stopping smoking
- working on that depression
We are very happy to announce that we have a Registered Dietician on staff who will be writing our Health At Every Size series as well as answering a reader's question each month. You can read about Shari's philosophy and experience on our staff page. If you have a question for Shari, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: This advice is not intended to be a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical, health or nutritional advice.
Dietary fats you don't want to consume
In the world of fats, none of them were created equal - while some types of oils are nutrient powerhouses with impressive health benefits, others can be terribly detrimental to your overall health and waistline. I covered the types of healthy fats in last month's issue so let's talk about which fats to ditch in this article.
1. Industrial seed oils
Industrial seed oils such as soybean, corn, canola, cottonseed, safflower and sunflower oils are commonly referred to as 'vegetable oils' although they do not come from vegetables. As you're probably aware, these oils are touted as being healthy by the AHA and the AND (formerly the American Dietetic Association). These two groups even claim these oils to be 'heart-healthy' alternatives to saturated fats. But the truth is that these oils spell big trouble for your health since they contain way too much omega-6 fatty acids - for instance, safflower and sunflower oils contain 75% and 65% of omega-6 respectively.
Why is that a bad thing when omega-6 is an essential fatty acid (that is our body cannot produce it)? Well, the reason is that our intake of this fatty acid has greatly increased over the past few decades so much so that our omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is now about 16:1 (it used to be around 4:1 to 1:2). Omega-6 fatty acids aren't intrinsically bad but when consumed in large amounts, they considerably change the composition of our body cells thereby increasing the incidence of inflammatory diseases such as 1:
- Heart disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Autoimmune diseases
- Some cancers
- Macular degeneration which can lead to vision losses especially among the elderly>
Three even less well known facts are that these industrial oils:
- Contain a massive amount of trans fats (more about this type of fat later) 2.
- Increase the risk of fatty liver and severe liver damage 3.
- Are produced using a harsh extraction process that involves bleaching, deodorizing and hexane which is a highly toxic substance that increases the risks of cancer. Check out this video to learn more about how canola oil is produced.
2. Trans fats
Short for trans fatty acids, trans fats are formed when liquid vegetable oils are heated in the presence of hydrogen gas and a catalyst through a process known as hydrogenation. This process renders the oils more stable and thus increases the shelf-life of the product. This type of fat which is found in most processed foods (read cookies, muffins, cake mixes, fried foods, snack foods and frozen dinners) has been found to promote accumulation of fat around the organs (visceral fat) 4. When present in large amounts, visceral fat increases the risks of heart disease, diabetes and inflammatory diseases.
Don't believe food labels without checking the ingredient list: many food manufacturers claim that their product is trans-fat free when it contains partially or fully hydrogenated fats or oils; margarine, shortening, monoglycerides or diglycerides - all these ingredients indicate that the product contains trans fat.
Note: The only healthy trans fat is conjugated linoleic acid or CLA which is naturally present in products derived from grass eating ruminants such as cows, sheep, goat and deers 5.
3. Fat substitutes such as Olestra
Put simply, olestra is the molecule obtained when sucrose and vegetable oil are combined. In ?other words, olestra is 100% man-made – you won't find it anywhere in nature. The issue with olestra is that it is one greedy fake fat: scientists found that besides promoting weight gain, olestra also impaired the body's ability to absorb the essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K 6.
According to Susan Swithers 6, professor of psychology, "fat substitutes [like Olestra] can interfere with the body's ability to regulate what it eats, and that can result in overeating."
Instead of relying on these processed fats, why not try natural ones like butter, virgin coconut oil, grass-fed clarified butter, tallow or extra virgin olive oil? Your body will thank you!
Submitted by: Shari
Feel free to post about your own journey with Health At Every Size, any questions you may have or suggestions for future topics on our Facebook page or our Forums. Shari also has her own Facebook page .