Fats: Good and Bad

Posted by on Jul 17, 2014 in Nutrition | 0 comments


Fats are misunderstood and while “fat-free” diets were a fad a decade or so ago, we now better understand how important good fats are to our health and to our sense of wellbeing.  Not all fats are created equal and there is a difference between the two – good and bad.  Bad fats are the “trans fats” and saturated fats.

Mayo Clinic says trans-fat is made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called hydrogenation.  Once we used butter fat, tallow, lard and bacon fat, but with refrigeration and other “advancements” we now use other hydrogenated vegetable fats like shortening and margarine.  In manufactured foods hydrogenated fats help them stay fresh longer and have a longer shelf life.  Scientists aren’t sure exactly why, but the addition of hydrogen to oil increases your cholesterol more than do other types of fats. Commercial baked goods — such as crackers, cookies and cakes — and many fried foods, such as doughnuts and french fries — often contain trans fats – and shortening and margarine can be high in trans fat. Saturated fats are found in animal products like beef, pork, butter, and other full-fat dairy products.

Good fats are vital and cholesterol is critical to all functions of the body, especially hormones and our neurological system.  Our brain is made up of about two thirds fat, and it can break fatty acids into ketones as a fuel source.  Ketones feed the brain and prevent brain atrophy, and a primary source of ketone bodies are the medium chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil.

However, the primary fuel your brain runs on is glucose.  When diabetes or the pancreas stops proper insulin production necessary to regulate blood sugar, then your brain literally starves, as it is deprived of the glucose-converted energy it needs to function normally.

In Alzheimer’s disease, a brain atrophy disease, this process appears to begin one or more decades before the symptoms become apparent.  The brain starts to atrophy, or starve, leading to impaired functioning and eventual loss of memory, speech, movement and personality. Diabetics or those with weakened ability to manage sugar have a 65 percent increased risk of also being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

To find out more about “whole foods” living, read Dr. Deanna’s Healing Handbook.

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