Tuesday, January 28

Dietary Fat 101

A friend of ours called the other day expressing some confusion on all the varieties of dietary fat. I spoke to him about the differences on the phone, but wished I would have had a visual to help aid in my explanation. It can undoubtedly be confusing, especially when most of us are new to the scientific nomenclature. "Saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, etc."

Below is a graphic that can hopefully help curb some of the confusion you may have. Please note that this post isn't meant to be a dissertation, but rather "Step 1" in unraveling the tangled mess of nutrition science when it comes to dietary fat.

A few things to consider...
  • Saturated fat: we do not shy away from saturated fat as long as the source is of high quality: grass-fed dairy, pasture-raised animal products, coconut, etc. This is a hot topic that can't be fully addressed in this post, but we plan on tackling it later. In the meantime, see the works of Gary Taubes & Peter Attia on saturated fat.
  • Trans fat: we didn't include trans fats in this chart as they are universally accepted as being detrimental to health. The FDA recently removed them from the "Generally Recognized as Safe" (GRAS) list.
  • Monounsaturated fat: we try to eat plenty of monounsaturated fats in the form of certain nuts (cashews, macadamia, etc.), olives, olive oil and avocado.
  • Polyunsaturated fats: we attempt to keep our ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats as close to even as possible. A higher concentration of omega-6 fatty acids in the body can potentially be harmful. This is why we avoid industrially processed seed and vegetable oils (omega-6) while increasing our intake of fresh fish and pastured eggs (omega-3).


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