The Two Sides Of The ‘Fat’ Story

The Healthy Foodie

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Fats are bad!

Fats kill!

Eat a fat-free diet and you’ll be healthy!

I blindly accepted the declarations of the experts, as I always did — until I discovered the other side of the story.

Fats can actually heal.

Yep.

Heal.

In his book, “Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill,” Canadian author Udo Erasmus said every cell in our bodies is made up of fats. Since we don’t create fats naturally, we have to add them to our diet.

“Understand this basic concept: Some fats kill and other fats heal,” wrote Erasmus. “If you want to be healthy, know the difference, and choose dietary fats accordingly.”

But the typical American diet, full of pre-made convenience foods, contains hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, not a healthy choice for the body.

Erasmus said research shows these processed hydrogenated oils cause cancer, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, interfere with insulin production, decrease testosterone, change the fluidity of cell membranes and affect birth weight.

So what is the difference between good (unsaturated) fats and bad (saturated) fats?

Erasmus says it’s all in the molecular structure of the fat.

I know, I tense up thinking about chemistry, but an illustration might help.

Imagine a bunch of cranberries strung on a string. A flexible string will allow the cranberries to bend and assume all sorts of forms. But strung onto a wire will be stiff and more difficult to mold into a shape. So it goes with the chemistry of fats.

Unsaturated fats, or essential fatty acids, have carbon-carbon double bonds. This creates a molecule with kinks. These kinks, said Erasmus, help every cell in the body.

In comparison, saturated fats have hydrogen molecules on each side of the carbon double bond. This molecular structure creates straight molecules that do not bend. This too affects cells, says Erasmus.

The author explains that since every cell in our body is made up of fats, we need to eat fats, as we need to add Vitamin C to our diet or we get diseases of nutritional deficiency. A lack of Vitamin C leads to scurvy, a lack of essential fatty acids leads to diseases of the heart, hormonal system and cancer.

The cells in our bodies love essential fatty acids (EFA’s), said Erasmus, because the double bonds create cell walls that have a permeable surface. All the kinks in the EFA’s allow cells to build semi-permeable cell walls. These semi-permeable cell walls allow for toxins to move in and out of the cells with ease.

Understand, cells will use whatever fats we ingest. If our diet contains mostly saturated fats, our cells will begrudgingly use them to build cell walls.

So, why are cells unhappy with saturated fats?

These building blocks make the cells rigid and stiff, unable to easily move toxins in and out.

Saturated fats are created when we heat up oils and alter the fat chemistry, said Erasmus. Manufacturers heat up oils to increase their shelf life, but in the process change the molecular structure to create a fat less easily digested and used in the body.

Next: What are the best essential fatty acids to eat and why?

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