All The Truth About Polyunsaturated Fats

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Why exactly are foods rich in polyunsaturated fats so bad for you?

What’s truly amazing (and ironic) is that these products were originally marketed as heart-friendly alternatives to natural fat that would solve the problem of heart disease, without any sacrifice in taste. But since their adoption in household kitchen, as well as in modern industrial food production, levels of heart disease have skyrocketed.

The truth is that the use of polyunsaturated products like vegetable oils really didn’t have much to do with health at all. It was about profitability. Polyunsaturated fats have a longer shelf life, and their different molecular structure allows them to always remain a liquid at room temperature. Whereas a natural fat will be either melt or solidify based on the type of fat. (Coconut oil, can be either solid or liquid based on only a few degrees’ difference in temperature. This might seem stranger to a shopper that has been conditioned by marketers to think that cooking oils should always be liquid.)

It’s important not to paint with overly broad brush here: it’s not as simple as “all polyunsaturated fats are bad.” There are different kinds.

Omega 6 and omega 3 fats are both polyunsaturated but are essential to health. The human body cannot produce these fats on its own, so they must be consumed by eating. The problem is the improper ratios between these two different fats in the typical Western diet.

Omega 6 fats are inflammatory, while omega 3s are anti-inflammatory. Inflammation isn’t always a bad thing; it’s part of the body’s natural way of fighting disease, but it often occurs at inappropriate times and for too long, which can contribute to all kinds of health issues. This is exacerbated by the fact that modern diets are far heavier in omega 6s than omega 3s. A proper ratio is for omega 6 fats to omega 3s is around 3:1. Some anti-aging researchers even advocated a totally balanced 1:1 ratio.

Unfortunately, the average person isn’t eating anywhere near these ratios. Studies have shown that the typical person’s intake of omega 6 vs omega 3 fats is as high as a 25:1 ratio! There is a direct correlation with the drastic increase in omega 6 fats with the spread of processed polyunsaturated products.

The bottom line here is that the widespread use of vegetable oils and other artificially produced polyunsaturated products has directly contributed to the highly imbalanced ratios of omega 6 to omega 3 fats, and all the accompanying health problems like inflammation, coronary heart disease, obesity, and more.

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