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That “healthy” chicken and mayo sandwich is making you FAT
You’re a weight watcher……..
You’ve had thin years and fat years. You’ve tried every type of diet out there. Right now, you not officially dieting. You’re doing your best to “eat healthy”.
So what does your diet look like ?
Maybe a typical lunch is a chicken and mayo sandwich.
The chicken and mayo sandwich
- You opt for brown bread, because you know whole grains are important.
- You smear on some heart healthy margarine.
- Plop a little chicken on top, the skin has been removed. You try to only eat meat once a week, because you’re “watching your cholesterol”.
- And then to give it some tang, you spoon on a dollop of low fat mayonnaise, made using soy-bean oil.
- You might even add a slice of lettuce, to add a bit of crunch to your sandwich, because greens are good, they’re full of anti-oxidants.
So how are you doing ?
Well the margarine, chicken and low fat mayo, on the surface at least, are good moves. There is very little saturated fat in your lunch and lots of polyunsaturated fat or PUFAs.
Odds are, your dietician and doctor, would give your lunch, an A rating.
Scoring your sandwich
There is one, small problem with your sandwich……
The PUFAs you’re eating are omega-6 heavy.
And, these PUFAs are a novelty, they’re not natural, they’re a processed fat. A hundred years ago, people didn’t eat omega-6 PUFAs on a routine basis – they contributed around 0.006 % of energy.
Today, the number is close to 7.38 % of energy. That is a 1000 fold increase……..
Could this increase be problematic ? A team of researchers, based in Norway believe so.
The team set about studying what happens to mice, when they eat, lots of PUFAs. The PUFA they focused on, was linoleic acid……
It started with a little hanky panky
Pregnant Moms, from the C57BL/6J clan, were put on one of four versions of a “high” fat diet.
- Diets 1 and 2, were high fat – 35 % of energy, was coming from fat.
- Diets 3 and 4, were seriously high fat – 60 % of energy, was coming from fat.
The fat composition of the diets was carefully controlled, so that linoleic acid made up either 1 % or 8 % of the fat, in these high fat diets.
The stork arrived…….
The happy healthy mice pups suckled from their Moms, who kept on with their special diet. At 23 days, the babes were weaned.
And they began eating, the same special high fat diet, their Mums had been consuming.
So what happened ?
Linoleic acid created mouse blobs
The animals eating the lower fat diet (35 %) were fatter, than the animals eating the seriously high fat diet (60 %) – when linoleic acids, made up 8 % of the fat.
Don’t believe me ?
Hopefully you’re not squeamish.
On this side we have the mice eating a diet low in linoleic acid, on this side we have the mice eating lots of linoleic acid. Look at the rolls of fat in those mice bellies.
The so called healthy fat, made the mice, FAT.
How could this be ?
The chemical twist
Chemically speaking, linoleic acid is an eighteen carbon long unsaturated omega-6 fatty acid.
As a fatty acid, it has multiple roles in the body.
One of it’s jobs, is to help form cell membranes…………..
Through a series of enzymatic reactions, the linoleic acid can be transformed into arachidonic acid – a rather sensitive soul, which sits as a sentinel in the membrane.
The winds of change
As the winds of change blow across the membrane – arachidonic reports the situation.
As a rule, arachidonic acid talk is negative……. as far as it is concerned,
“The sky is ALWAYS falling !”
And when the sky is falling – what should you do ?
Prepare for the worst………..
Store up those calories
When the forecast is poor and rainy days are imminent – eating MORE and storing MORE, is the appropriate behaviour. After all, who knows, when the next meal will come.
The team confirmed, mice consuming extra linoleic acid were in MUNCHING MORE mode.
And the impetuous for the MUNCHING, was increased levels of anandamide, one of the products produced when arachidonic acid, starts with the negative talk.
Now anadamide is not a BAD chemical at all.
In fact, it is a chemical which brings BLISS.
In preparation for a rainy day……… becomes problematic, if the rainy day never actually comes.
It leads to increased levels of FAT.
And increased levels of FAT, often causes the cellular environment to become “unpleasant”, as fat cells succumb to the stresses and strains of, packing it all away. The arachidonic acid tucked inside cell membranes around the body then reacts……….. leading to MORE MUNCHING.
Stop the cycle
By dropping the levels of arachidonic acid in your cell membranes.
Since the levels are correlated with diet, the easiest way to do this, is to adjust your diet – cut back on eating omega-6 fatty acids, while loading up on omega-3 fatty acids.
Compensatory changes in the composition of the membranes of full fat cells, launches the avalanche of inflammation which causes diseases of obesity.
Now, it’s okay to eat fats, as long as they’re “healthy” fats. Which leads to the million dollar question, what are “healthy” fats ?
Being sedentary i.e. not moving enough, is a big health issue. TV remotes, cars, obesity are all blamed, but the real culprit, might be what you ate for dinner