So how has your week been? Struggling to stay on track eating clean and training dirty now the weather has turned, when sitting on the sofa hoovering a box quality street sounds more appealing?
Just remember how awesome you feel eating right and getting some exercise and how rubbish you’ll feel if you go off track. And well if your good, just remember as of today it is 8 Fridays until Christmas (thanks for the weekly countdown mum!) so if you keep going you can do a little of the quality street hovering then.
So I thought this week I would go back to the Fat issue and cover other types of fats as I focused mainly on Saturated Fat in my previous post. Mainly because it is incorrectly labelled the bad guy and as you will have read it most certainly is not.
Well this is the fat that even the dieters agree is healthy. Monounsaturated fat (MF), or oleic acid, is found primarily in beef, olive oil, avocados, lard and certain nuts like macadamias.
Like saturated fats, MF form the core structure of the body and reduce your risk of heart disease by raising your HDL (healthy cholesterol), lowering your triglycerides and reducing levels of small, dense LDL(loser cholesterol). MF is also a good energy source as like saturated fat it helps to balance blood sugar levels by providing a steadier stream of energy release than many carbohydrates.
POLYUNSATURATED FAT: OMEGA-6 & OMEGA-3
Polyunsaturated fat (PUF) can be split into omega-6 and omega-3. For optimal health we should consume roughly the same amount of omega-6 and omega-3 fat (1:1 ratio), many people unknowingly eat a ratio of up to 25:1! So that’s 25 times the amount of omega 6 your body needs!!
And this is where the puzzle starts to become clear……….. It is this excess consumption of omega-6 that is responsible for our increasing problems with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disease etc. And poor Saturated Fat and Cholesterol have been getting the blame all along. That’s why your egg yolks look so sad………………….
Omega-6 PUF (Also referred to as linoleic acid) is actually in many foods in small amounts like fruits, vegetables, cereal grains and meat, and also higher amounts in most nuts and dark poultry meat however this is not where the problem lies. Omega 6 is found in very large amounts in industrial processed and refined oils, like soybean, corn, safflower and sunflower. Those vitalite sunflowers are starting to look a little sinister now aren’t they?
Not only is it the large amounts that are a problem but also the way they are processed, as PUF are fragile and vulnerable to oxidative damage, meaning that during the processing of these fats into oils, spreads etc. Their original structure gets broken down which creates free radicals (think little monsters bouncing off the walls causing havoc) and it is these little monsters that cause the damage which creates heart disease and many forms of cancer. This brings up the importance of anti-oxidants which I will cover in the near future.
Now I will stress that Omega 6 is an essential fatty acid meaning that is required for proper function of the brain and the body’s ability to makes cells etc. and cannot be produced by the body and therefore must be obtained from the diet. However as mentioned above due to high levels of refined oils in our processed food many of us are vastly over consuming it.
Omega-3 PUFA can be further subdivided into short-chain (alpha-linoleic acid, or ALA) and long-chain (EPA & DHA). ALA is found in plant foods like walnut and flax, whereas EPA & DHA is found mainly in seafood although smaller amounts are found in meat.
Omega 3 plays a key part in reducing inflammation in the body; this inflammation can be presented by joint and muscular aches, skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis and also as weight gain. This is why Omega 3 is a great supplement (particularly fish oil) to take if you are on a weight loss problem, or indeed suffering from any king of potential inflammation in the body.
ALA, EPA & DHA should be considered essential nutrition to obtain from your diet. However it should be noted that it is possible for the body to convert some ALA into EPA and DHA however most people’s bodies cannot do this efficiently enough.
Now briefly onto the really, really bad stuff. TRANS-FATS!!!!!
Firstly I must highlight there are two kinds of Trans fats.
Natural (aka CLA)
The primary natural trans-fat, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is found in small amounts in the meat, fat and dairy. CLA does not have the harmful effects of Artificial Trans Fats.
An artificial Trans Fat is one that is industrially created as a side effect of partial hydrogenation of plant oils. This is where the cross over comes with Omega 6, in that many of the oils, spreads etc. we consider to be healthy because they are a PUF are actually more like a Trans Fat.
Partial hydrogenation changes a fat’s molecular structure as mentioned above (raising its melting point and reducing rancidity) but this process also results in a proportion of the changed fat becoming trans-fat.
This means the body can no longer recognise nor utilise it as a beneficial fat and it therefore becomes a toxin. Cue monsters in your body.
Right I will stop rambling for now, I have ponies to go and pet (not a euphemism!)
PS. If the turn of weather has made you want to start stocking the freezer full of soup, which is a great idea, here is how to make a base bone stock, which is packed full of nutrients as well as being rich in collagen (great for plumping your skin out ladies!) and keratin also good for skin and hair. This makes a great base for any soup or you could actually drink it on it’s own.
You can use any animal bones, chicken, beef etc which you can get from your butcher, free if he’s very generous but at least very cheap!
You can also add any veg you like.
Just add them all to a large pan, cover with water, put the lid on and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for several hours-maybe do this on a day your in the house! (you can also do this in a slow cooker). The longer it is simmered the more nutrients that are released.
Skim off any foam that forms at the top as it cooks.
Once its done, strain the liquid and use immediately or leave to cool before storing. It will keep for several days in the fridge and you could also freeze it to be used later.