Health begins with reading labels. Awareness is followed by the education of what is healthy and what is not.

We hear the term fat or fats and usually think they are not healthy. Butter took a bad rap when margarine appeared in the United States back in the mid-60s. The FDA took the product to court and lost because margarine was deemed to be a table-spread product. Butter is made from milk and margarine is made from vegetable oil and water.

Healthy Fats,leading%20cause%20of%20death%20worldwide. Healthy fats can save hundreds of thousands of lives annually. Our bodies need dietary fat for good health. It is interesting how certain beliefs are introduced into our society without any real testing to verify the claims of those nutrients.

One example is coconut and palm oil. In the 1980s, there was a claim (unsubstantiated – no testing done, just a plain statement) that these were saturated plant oils; and, therefore, acted like saturated animal oils and were bad for our health. There was absolutely no testing done. It was a position taken by certain companies. It was later supported by the government. Follow the money to find the real story.

In the 1940s, scientists believed that high-fat diets caused heart disease. They found a correlation between high-fat diets and high cholesterol. Correlation does not mean causation.

Just because something is like something else, it does not mean that it caused it. It just means that there is some similarity. For high-risk cardiac patients, it was believed that a low-fat diet might reduce their risk of heart disease. Therefore, these companies convinced the medical community that a low-fat diet would reduce the risk of heart disease. Was there any testing? No!

By the 1960s, the low-fat diet regime expanded into our whole society. If it were good for high-risk heart patients, it would be good for everyone. These companies (along with several new ones) claimed that low-fat diets would cause patients to lose weight because fat was fat. Reduce fat and reduce weight. We know today that fat does not cause us to be fat – carbohydrates do.

In the 1980s, this low-fat doctrine permeated every aspect of our health and medical communities (physicians, the federal government, food industry, health professionals, media, etc.). In the subsequent decades, we have seen Americans get fatter and develop more heart problems while adhering to the low-fat diet. We have created an obesity epidemic. This epidemic is not totally caused by low-fat eating, but it has contributed.

Low Carbohydrates There has been a shift in the past decade to low-carbohydrate diets. It has replaced the low-fat diet. When we travel through the food aisle of our local supermarket, we would not believe that the low-fat mania has subsided at all.

Science has been testing and evaluating the relationships between disease and foods for the past couple of decades. The low-fat diet causes health problems, but there is little evidence of a change in the low-fat diet paradigm.

People are still convinced that fat causes us to get fatter. Therefore, they cut all fats from their food choices. This is extremely bad if we are trying to achieve balanced nutrition. Nutritional imbalances and deficiencies do not lead to a healthy life. Some fats are good and are needed daily. Other fats should not be included in our diet. Good fats build and support healthy tissue, skin, brain, and nervous system.

Saturated and Unsaturated Fats are either saturated or unsaturated. Most unsaturated fats are believed to be good for us. Unsaturated fats can be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated fats are found in almonds, avocados, bacon, cashews, ground beef, olives, pecans, peanuts, and pistachios. Polyunsaturated fats are found in corn oil, cottonseed oil, flax oil, soybean oil, and safflower oil.

Additionally, there are trans fats, cis fats, and omega fatty acids. In general terms, trans fats are considered bad for our health. Saturated fats are derived from animals and some plants (coconut and palm).

Trans fats occur naturally in some meat and dairy products, but there are very few. The majority of trans fat occurs when vegetable oils are heated. Trans fats are found in processed foods.

Cis fats are polyunsaturated and generally good for you unless consumed in extremely high quantities. Cis fats occur naturally. The difference between cis fats and trans fats are the placement of the hydrogen atoms.

Unsaturated fats have a double bond in their molecular structure. Hydrogen atoms are on the opposite side of the carbon double bond in trans fats. As a result, the molecule is straight.
Cis fats have the hydrogen atoms on the same side of the double bond causing the molecule to kink a bit. Cis fats and trans fats will have identical chemical formulas.

Elaidic acid and oleic acid have the same chemical formula. Oleic acid melts at 13.4 degrees Centigrade. Elaidic acid melts at 45 degrees Centigrade. The molecules are loosely packed in the cis fat, oleic acid, and is liquid at room temperature.

The molecules in the trans-fat, elaidic acid, are tightly packed and solid at room temperature. Cis fats are found in Brazil nuts, anchovies, flaxseed, herring, pine nuts, salmon, trout, tuna, and walnuts.

Essential Fatty Acids An essential fatty acid is polyunsaturated. The body cannot manufacture essential fatty acids – hence the term ‘essential’. They are made by plants. Our nutritional intake must include the various plant sources making up this classification of fatty acids. There are a couple of kinds of essential fatty acids – alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) and linoleic acid (omega-6).

Most people are unaware that omega-6 fats dominate the food industry. Omega-6 fats include safflower oil, corn oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil, and soybean oil. As a result, the consumption of omega-6 fats far exceeds the recommended levels for good health. For optimal health, we should have equal amounts of omega-6 fats to omega-3 fats – a 1:1 ratio.

The typical American diet is 20:1 and higher in some areas of our country. Anything over a ratio of 4:1 omega-6 to omega-3 becomes inflammatory in our bodies. This extra inflammation impacts our health negatively.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish, certain nuts (almonds and walnuts), dark leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale), and flaxseed.

The third category of fatty acids (non-essential) is omega-9 fatty acid – olive oil. Omega-9 fatty acid has been shown to lower bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol, and control blood sugar. Our bodies do not make, nor do they need omega-9 fatty acids. However, there are good health reasons to use them periodically.

Trans-Fats Our bodies can manufacture most of the fats it needs to keep us healthy. These are called non-essential fatty acids. They are required for good health. However, there is an exception.

Trans fats fall into the category of non-essential fatty acids. Trans fats increase the shelf life of products made with them. They increase the bad cholesterol and raise the risk of heart disease.

There are some by-products made when fats are digested in our body. They are called free fatty acids (FFA). FFA occur due to the digestion of triglycerides. They can be used as an immediate source of energy by many of our organs. They can also be converted in your liver into ketone bodies – another energy source for us to use.

FFA have been shown to reduce the levels of HGH (human growth hormone). FFA cause insulin resistance and inflammation. Our fat cells store and release FFA. Obese people have more fat cells compared to the norm. As a result, obese people store more FFA. Higher amounts of FFA are common in diabetics. FFA have been shown to increase blood pressure and other health risks.


Many times, when we follow the money, we discover that marketing replaced engineering and products entered the marketplace that should have never found their way to the consumer. Trans-fat is one of them. Coconut oil and palm oil were used in nearly all bakery products prior to the mid-80s. Then, the trans-fat world evolved, and the healthy coconut oil and palm oil were driven from the health scene.

We choose the foods we eat. We are responsible for our health, especially our long-term health. Keeping omega-6 fatty acids in balance with omega-3 fatty acids is critical for long-lasting health. Read labels and become aware of what ingredients make up the products you buy.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –


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