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August 12, 2014

Short chain and long chain saturated fats

by Helene van den Berg

Naturally occurring saturated fats are primarily found in animal and dairy products (family #2 fats) and in some vegetable fats. To clarify: the words “saturated” and “hydrogenated” means the same thing chemically. However, if the words “hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated” appears on a label, it means the fat has been processed and is no longer in it’s natural form. When naturally occurring polyunsaturated fats (cis variety) are commercially changed by the process of hydrogenation and partial hydrogenation, they are altered to the trans variety and become harmful to the body.

All of the fats of family #1 and #3 are polyunsaturated fats (most food and fish oils), while the fats of family #2 need to be limited.

When these naturally occurring saturated fats (e.g. stearic acid) in animal meats are consumed in MODEST amounts and are BALANCED with an uptake of unprocessed, polyunsaturated fats, they are not a concern!

Vegetable sources of saturated fats are used commercially, because they are inexpensive and spoil slowly. Products containing these saturated fats (palm oil, nutmeg, kernel and cottonseed oil) should be avoided to keep the balance of polyunsaturated to saturated fats healthy.

All nuts and nut butters are high in saturated fats and should therefore be limited. Most peanut butters in grocery stores contain high amounts of partially hydrogenated fat.

Saturated (hydrogenated) fats also block the enzyme, delta-6 desaturase, which dam up the normal flow of family #1 and #3 fats into their respective prostaglandins. (level of saturated and partially hydrogenated fats in the diet are far more important than the level of cholesterol in the diet for most people).

It is far better to correct the fat imbalances in our diets, than to take a drug every time a symptom arises.

The drug will block the symptoms, but the fat imbalance may progress to severe levels of a degenerative disease. By that time it is often too late to avoid irreversible damage to our tissues and to our lives!.

The best dietary approach is to eat from each of the fat families #1, #2, #3, but with limited, moderate intake of family #2 – eat more fish, chicken (without the skin), fewer fried foods and limit red meat, dairy fats and shellfish. TOTAL AVOIDANCE OF PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED FATS AND OILS IS ESSENTIAL!!. It takes 51 days for only half of these partially hydrogenated fats to be processed by your body – even limited intakes can build up and cause potential problems.

Most people benefit by consuming more fats in the family #3 e.g. flaxseed (linseed) oil, walnut oil. The use of olive oil where heating is required is recommended, since olive oil tolerates heat better (monounsaturated oil with one double bond), than any of the other natural oils.

NOTE: The highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids are in flaxseed / linseed oil (50%), walnut oil (5-20%), canola oil (10%). These omega -3 fatty acids are converted into EPA (in the presence of adequate vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc and niacin). EPA helps to lower cholesterol, prevent blood clotting and decrease inflammatory (swelling) responses. EPA is also found in abundance in cold water fish (salmon, sardines, herring).

The care of vegetable oils are very important: keep the bottle oil sealed until ready to use. Keep oils out of direct light. Upon opening , add the contents of 100 I.U. vitamin E capsule (no more, no less!). After exposing the oil to air, it must be kept capped and refrigerated to avoid rancidity.

Never re-use oils once they have been heated.

The more natural, healthier forms of dietary fats are liquid at room temperature e.g. vegetable oils. Artificial fats (transfats, like margarine) and saturated fats (meat fats) stay solid at room temperature, while butter (monounsaturated fat), melts at room temperature. Natural cheeses do “melt” as some of the oil leaks out. Poor nutritive quality fats and oils, like margarine, cheese spreads, and most peanut butters stay solid at room temperature. All good dietary fats and oils must be kept cold when not being used, lest their fatty acids oxidize or rancidify. Those which do not spoil at room temperature should not be consumed!.

The climatic location where the natural production of fats and oils takes place, has an effect on their composition. Omega- 6 oils are classified as “southern oils”, while omega-3 oils are classified as “northern oils”. Fats like EPA (5 double bonds) are more suitable to cold weather. EPA is found in salmon, herring, whale and seal blubber and in northern animals like reindeer and elk. ALA (3 double bonds) is found in “northern oils” such as linseed, walnut, wheat germ, chestnut and some in soy.

Plants and animals living in warmer climates do not have to be concerned about their tissues “freezing up”. Southern oils are: most vegetable oils (linoleic acid -2 db and linolenic acid – 3 db) and olive and canola oil (oleic acid – one double bond).

People tend to require the fats, which were present in the geographical locations of their ancestors….regardless of where they presently live. Therefore, people with northern European ancestry, show more a need for omega-3 fats, while those with Mediterranean ancestry, show a need for omega-6 fats.

There is a loose relationship between the two major EFA families (#1 and #3) and the endocrine system. Patients with a hypothyroid tendency are more likely to show a need for the omega-3 family (omega –3 fats and the thyroid gland (body’s thermostat), are important in cold weather tolerance. Patients with a hypoadrenia, are more likely to show a need for omega-6 fats.


Read more from Fats, Fatty Acids

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