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“What are healthy fats ?”
The secret to being healthy………….
It used to be, go LOW FAT.
The growing popularity and success, of low carb diets, has led to a slight reframe of the message.
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 ?
The quick answer, would be anything that is not a saturated fat or a trans-fat, put another way, vegetable fats are good for you.
But are they ?
A team of researchers from the Riverside campus of the University of California, decided to pit an unsaturated fat, against a saturated fat, to see which fat was best.
Battle of the fats
As their unsaturated fat, the team selected soybean oil. The reason, they chose this particular vegetable oil, it is most widely used in the production of processed foods i.e. we’re eating a lot of it. It’s in margarine, salad dressings and snack foods, it is also the oil, most commonly used by restaurants.
As the saturated fat, they chose coconut oil. Admittedly, not an oil which is traditionally associated with the saturated fat camp, but a solid choice, with the added advantage of being pretty much the same, from batch to batch.
NOTE : Lard, the more traditional saturated fat option, is quite variable, it’s exact composition, is a function of the diet of the animal, from which it is being derived.
The two different fats, were fed to hungry male mice from the c57/BL6 clan…..
Fat for dinner
For the mice, it was an all you can eat buffet of mice pellets, served up twice weekly, for 35 weeks.
The only difference between the pellets, was in the oil mix.
- Group 1 – the pellet had 25 g of soybean oil and 220 g of coconut oil, mixed in
- Group 2 – the pellets had 115 g of soybean oil and 130 g of coconut oil, mixed in
As far as the mice were concerned, the pellets tasted great.
Okay, great might be a stretch, but the mice did tuck into them and there was no difference in pellet consumption, between the two groups.
But, there was a difference in their health, 35 weeks later.
Fatties and thinnies
The mice munching on soybean oil were………………..
You’re expecting me to say thinner. No, they weren’t.
They were in fact, significantly heavier.
The difference between the two groups of mice, was close to 10 g.
And, as expected, the heavier mice, had more metabolic problems….
- They showed signs of being insulin resistant, struggling to keep their sugar levels in line
- Their livers accumulated lots of fat, and the lipid droplets inside their livers, were HUGE
But, it was a case of heavier with a “twist”
They had lower cholesterol levels.
Go figure………… every other health biomarker was screaming, HEALTH CRISIS, with this one exception.
How could this be ?
The team demonstrated the soybean diet, changed liver chemistry significantly. Probably not a big surprise, considering the appearance of changes in liver morphology. They reported, genes belonging to the cytochrome P450 genes, especially the cyp3a and cyp2c families were disrupted.
The lower cholesterol level, was due to overall liver DIS-RUPTION.
High cholesterol is associated with heart disease, but……………
Putting your liver at risk, to lower your cholesterol level, doesn’t sound terribly healthy.
Especially, when you realize, cardiovascular disease, is an inflammatory disease. Cholesterol is not causing the inflammation, something else is……
The something is very often, HIGH SUGAR levels.
Mmm…… upset livers, frequently have trouble handling sugars.
In fact, the team identified the pdk4 gene, which codes for pyruvate dehydrogenase, as one of the genes whose functioning was disrupted, in the mice eating lots of soybean oil. When this gene is disrupted, the liver shifts to making more glucose, via the process of gluconeogenesis.
And more glucose, means HIGHER SUGAR levels. Eish !
And the winner is ……NOT soybean oil
Soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, canola oil – none of these polyunsaturated fats are NATURAL.
They’re NOT THE SOLUTION, they’re part of the problem.
Fats should be part of your diet………….in fact, to overcome insulin resistance, you want to
Cut the Carbs and Add protein, FAT and fibre.
When adding fats, use “natural” as your guiding principle, think – meat, milk, eggs, olive oil, avocado. For more tips and strategies on how to overcome insulin resistance, download our free report.
The fatty acid implicated in health troubles is palmitoleic acid. A diet high in carbs, raises their levels, a diet high in saturated fats, keeps them low.
The chemistry of fats is complicated. High fat levels are not because you stacked your plate with butter, meat, cream and eggs – your body made those fats.
When fats are burned, they’re consumed by FIRE, generating heat. It makes sense. But, this picture of fat burning, is not scientifically accurate…..
Want to discover more ways to create BETTER BODY CHEMISTRY ?
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