There are two types of fat that can be categorized as ‘good’ fats. These are mono-unsaturated fats and long chain Omega‑
3 fats from fish and fish oils and from olive oil, selected nuts and avocadoes. These are exceptionally powerful allies in your quest for a longer and healthier life. Enhanced production of ‘good’ eicosanoids (See – below) requires the presence of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EHA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and long chained Omega-3 fats, found in good concentrations especially in fish oil. DHA is the needed fat for the brain, whereas EPA is the key fat for your heart and overall health.
However, there are some fats you want to avoid or restrict, in your diet. These are ’Transfats’, considered to be really “bad” fats and to be avoided, and Arachidonic Acid (AA), a long chain polyunsaturated Omega-6 fatty acid that needs to be restricted as they are the building blocks used to manufacture “bad” eicosanoids, especially AA from plant sources.
Arachidonic acids are found primarily in fatty red meats, especially in grain fed animals and poultry, (more in beef and pork than in mutton), egg yolks and organ meats and also found in high concentration in vegetable oils. This particular polyunsaturated fat may be the most dangerous fat when consumed in excess.
However, AA is very essential for many biochemical processes in our body, it is when AA is too much that it becomes toxic, especially when it comes from vegetable oils. The American Heart Association recommends a diet of at least 5-10 percent of calories coming from Omega-6 fatty acids including AA mainly from grassfed animal sources. Ironically, the higher your insulin levels, the more your body is stimulated to make increased levels of Arachidonic Acid. The balance of good and bad eicosanoids will be the primary factor determining your physical and mental health.
Arachidonic acid is converted in our bodies into neurotransmitters involved in inflammation and the sensation of pain. Oils such as linseed or hemp seed oil, on the other hand, also contain more of the anti-inflammatory Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), while olive oil contains Oleocanthal, a substance with similar effect.
It is easy to over eat fats. Large amounts of either bad or even good fats are simply too much for our body to deal with. Nutritionists recommend a fat intake between 25-30 percent of our daily energy requirements. This works out to about 55-66 gms of fat a day for the average person. However, for optimal functioning, the ideal diet as recommended by Dr. Ron Rosedale, MD, an expert on treating diabetes through diet, would have 50-70 percent fat, especially saturated fat.
Saturated fats are harmful only in high-carb diet or a diet low in Omega-3 fats. Today High Fat (60 percent to even 85 percent) Ketogenic diets are being recommended to treat cancer. (See – ‘The Budwig Protocol for Cancer Prevention and Cure’).
Perhaps it would be best that in the Low Carb diet lean people should consume about 50 percent to 70 percent fat and obese people restrict themselves to 30 percent to 50 percent. Of course in the Ketogenic diet, the fat content can go up to even more than 80 percent.
It is not just the meat or eggs that you eat that count, but also what the animals and birds from which the meat and eggs come fromate. Stuff them with Omega-6 loaded feeds and you will get meat and eggs loaded with Omega-6. Grass/range fed animals have much lower AA and greater content of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). Also aim to maintain a good ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 in your diet and ensure you have enough minerals and vitamins. All this controls the inflammatory effect of too much AA especially that from vegetable sources.
AA is not an essential fatty acid though it does become so if there is a deficiency in Linoleic Acid (LA) or there exists an inability to convert LA into AA. AA is metabolized into both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory eicosanoids, during and after physical activity, to promote repair and growth of micro tears of tissues. It is present in the membranes of the body’s cells and is abundant in brain, muscles, liver and also acts as a vasodilator. Human milk also contains AA.