GOOD FATS AND BAD FATS
GOOD FATS AND BAD FATS
Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
A heart attack (and probably also cancer)- preventing diet is low in
saturated and partially hydrogenated fats, low in extracted oils and
high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats as they are found
in nature: in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains,
beans, seeds and nuts and little of everything else.
There are two major categories called saturated and polyunsaturated
fats. When you take in more calories than your body needs, saturated
fats raise cholesterol and increase risk for heart attacks. (When
you do not take in extra calories, saturated fats do not raise
cholesterol. Saturated fats are broken down in your body into
acetone units that are burned for energy and are harmless. However,
if you take in more calories than you need, the extra calories are
converted to cholesterol to cause heart attacks and strokes.)
Therefore, limit foods rich in saturated fats such as meat, chicken,
whole milk dairy products and eggs.
The other type of fat is called polyunsaturated and is healthful as
long as it is left in its natural state and is not converted to
anything else by food manufacturers. It is found in abundance in all
plants and their parts. Unsaturated fats are further classified into
omega-3, omega-6 and more, depending on their chemical structure.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats are particularly healthful because they
help to prevent clotting and swelling that increase your risk for
heart attacks and cancers. Omega-3 fats are found in deep-water
fish, shellfish, nuts, seeds and vegetables. As long as
polyunsaturated fats are left in their natural state, they are
healthful, but when vegetable oils are removed from vegetables, they
turn rancid rather quickly. So manufacturers use a chemical process
that converts healthful polyunsaturated oils into cancer and heart
attack-causing partially hydrogenated fats, also known as trans
fats. Before 1940, the human body had never seen these fats and
still doesn't know what to do with it. Partially hydrogenated fats
have a long shelf life in the store and last a very long time in
your body. We can tell how much partially hydrogenated fat you have
eaten just by removing a bit of fat from your buttocks and analyzing
its content. People who have high levels of partially hydrogenated
fats in their bodies are at high risk for beast and prostate cancer
and heart attacks. Those with low levels are at low risk.
So: Restrict saturated fats in meat, chicken, diary products and
eggs because you are probably eating too much food. Eat fruits,
nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains and vegetables that are loaded with
polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Eat nuts, seeds, whole
grains, deep-water fish and shellfish for omega-3 fats that prevent
cancers and heart attacks. Read labels on all prepared foods and
avoid all that say partially hydrogenated, hydrogenated and trans
fats that are associated with cancer and heart attacks.