Dietary fat has always been a hot topic of debate.
You likely saw the recent report about how the FDA is slowly but surely removing trans fats from the food supply, citing the 1000’s of deaths caused by these dangerous fats.
From the emergence of the Atkins diet several decades ago to the fat free craze in the early 90’s, dietary fat has been embraced by many and shunned by others.
It’s safe to say that at least amidst all of the confusion, there is agreement among most experts that quality is crucial and we have to shift our focus away from just “fat is good” or “fat is bad.”
Well, there is one thing we all can ‘get along’ about … and that’s that artificial trans fat is dangerous, which is why it is being completely removed from the food supply. It increases your risk of heart disease. It may be tied to causing an increase in dangerous belly fat, which makes it doubly bad and so much more.
But what if there’s something even worse than trans fat? And it’s not some unique fat that is rare in the American Diet. In fact, it’s often where trans fat often comes from…hydrogenated soybean oil…
This time, though it’s not just the hydrogenated part we’re concerned with, however. It’s the soybean oil itself. And while you may not use soybean oil regularly to cook with, trust me, it permeates our food supply.
Why such alarm for such a common oil used in so many food products?
The fat within soybean oil is mainly an omega-6 fat.
Omega-6 fats are essential fats, meaning we have to get them from the diet.
But we get way, way, WAY too many.
And this is dangerous for many reasons.
- It increase inflammation throughout the body.
- Inflammation is the underlying issue for most diseases.
- Too much omega-6 fats “block” the crucial omega-3 fats. Some experts suggest omega-3 fat needs are 11 times higher when someone has a high intake of omega-6! Again, remember omega-6’s are already very high in Western diets.
I can go on, but those 3 bullets are pretty telling of why too many omega-6 fats can be dangerous. If omega-3 fat needs are 11 times higher with too much omega 6, yet as a whole most don’t eat enough omega-3’s as it is…you can see our concern! And this is why soybean oil (which is mostly an omega-6 fat) is high up on the “dangerous” list. If you think you don’t eat much of it, check out this picture — courtesy of famed Omega-3 Researcher, Dr. Joe Hibbeln. This graph represents a 1000% increase where 0.2 lbs/person/year was produced to 1909 where 25.0 lbs/person/year was produced in 1999.
- So we’re not eating enough omega-3’s.
- We’re eating way too many omega-6’s (meaning we’re also hurting omega-3 status)
- And soybean oil is one of the major omega-6 culprits in the Western Diet. Sure, there are others, but this fat permeates the foods we eat.
The question now becomes…what do we do about this?
No surprise here — eat less prepackaged, prepared foods. But not just the obvious pastries, Twinkies, Ding Dongs, etc …
…how about MOST prepackaged salad dressings? EVEN if they say “made with olive oil,” that solely means there’s a splash in there somewhere. I can assure you that if you have a prepackaged salad dressing in your fridge right now, high up on the list (usually 2nd) is soybean oil.
Salad dressing certainly isn’t the only culprit, though a common one.
Most prepackaged foods are loaded with soybean oil, often pushed as a “healthy” alternative to other fats.
But considering a recent report suggested omega-3 fat deficiency causes 96,000 deaths per year (only behind high salt intake for dietary causes of death) and above trans fat intake…
...and high omega-6 diets “block” omega-3 benefits, requiring even higher amounts, you can see why we suggest soybean oil is so dangerous.
Now, we’ll write more about this next week — but there are actually a lot of foods that are very high in omega-6 fats that you may not even be thinking about, sometimes often pushed as great options. English muffins, tofu, sunflower seeds, sunflower seed butter, chick peas, peanuts and many, many more …
If you’re curious about your personal levels within your body, you can get an Omega-3 Test to find out your levels. I just had mine done and Kara will have hers, too. Fortunately my blood looks pretty good, but still not in the “optimal” level, which means I’m continuing to tweak and improve to get it there.
Simply adding more omega-3’s on top of a horrible diet isn’t the answer. That’s like putting a band aid on the problem. You can’t go to McDonald’s, take your Nordic Naturals fish oil, and think you’re doing something good.
We need to look at how we can decrease omega-6 fats as well.
Nix the six. Eat the 3’s!
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Disclosure: Nordic Naturals is a client