This has been gaining traction for a while now online, but I want to make sure you guys are aware of what is likely causing a significant amount of obesity, heart disease and other health problems in the world. Although sugar gets the most attention, and added sugars are a huge issue with the modern diet, another industrially processed food was added to the western diet around the same time, and has arguably worse health effects.
The product I’m referring to are vegetable or seed oils. This includes canola, soybean, sunflower, safflower and other oils made from the seeds of plants. What all of these oils have in common is being very high in Omega-6 linoleic acid, which caused inflammation in the body when consumed. Prior to the development and addition of these oils to diets, most fats consumed came from animals in the form of butter, lard and tallow. When saturated fat and cholesterol were (wrongly) blamed for causing heart disease in the 70s and 80s, these animals fats were replaced with polyunsaturated seed oils. Massive marketing and government health campaigns were undertaken to get people to switch from butter to margarine, and to fry food in “vegetable” oil instead of lard/tallow. What happened after was an increase in obesity, heart disease and other metabolic diseases.
Omega-6 fats are rare in nature and only appear in large quantities in nuts and seeds. In a natural environment, these would only be available as a main food source in the fall, when animals are trying to fatten up for the winter. Most mammals (including humans) have no satiety mechanism for linoleic acid. You can keep eating these fats, and won’t feel full or satisfied like you would from animal fats. It’s the reason why youll keep eating chips and other snack foods mindlessly, your body doesn’t release the normal hormones to signal you are full when you eat omega-6 fats.
The body uses fats to build hormones as well as to signal how it operates. Saturated fats are mainly used for hormones, as well as are the preferred fat for long term storage and fatty tissues like skin and nerves. Chemically, saturated fats are the most stable due to being fully “saturated” with hydrogen. Unsaturated fats have less stable double carbon bonds which can react with oxidating agents in the body. This can cause the fats to break down into other chemicals that the body then has to clean up. When the majority of your stored fats are unstanle omega-6 fats, this results in a lot of aldehydes and reactive oxygen species floating in your blood, which damage the mitochondria and other cell parts. On a macro level, this causes metabolic dysfunction and inflammation, the cause of many modern diseases.
Omega-3 fats, while also polyunsaturated, signal your body to reduce inflammation and produce antioxidants. They have a protective effect against omega 6, but only when eaten at an equal ratio. For reference, it would take roughly a pound of wild caught salmon to match the omega 6 in a small fries from McDonald’s. While omega 3 helps, it’s much easier and more effective to avoid high omega 6 oils.
Personally, I’ve had a lot of benefits from removing omega-6. I no longer get hungry or crave snacks during the day and even at meal times have an easier time stopping when I’m full rather than eating to the point of feeling overfull. I’ve had mild asthma and allergies my whole life which has largely cleared up since I’ve stopped eating seed oil. Most interestingly, I can spend much longer in the sun without burning, from 15 minutes to about 3 hours now without sunscreen on a summer day. I believe this is because the saturated fats in my skin now are more stable, and therefore less likely to be broken down by the UV light. This has had a bigger impact on my health than excercing or avoiding processed sugars (these are still good and had their own benefits) and it shocks me how common and promoted these oils are, despite how toxic they can be.
This is a pretty broad overview of the effects, and I recommend looking into it more. Check out some of the work from Dr. Ray Peat, Dr. Paul Saladino or fireinabottle.net for more jnfo. I hope you guys can use this info to improve your health and life.
Disclaimer: This content does not necessarily represent the views of IWB.