Updated: Sep 21, 2022
I find it funny that one day something is good, and the next day it is bad. Take for example coffee or eggs. One day coffee is great and will promote brain health and has antioxidants and the next it's linked to cancer. One day eggs are great for us because they are full of vitamins, minerals, choline and protein! That is until they are not longer good and cause high cholesterol.
The story is the same for FAT. The fat free fad took hold many years ago and has not fully gone away.
Why do we need fat?
First of all fat is a macro nutrient, same as carbohydrates and protein. We need to obtain it in our diet for optimal cell function. Our brains are 70% fat and our cell membranes are made of a phospholipid bilayer (fat). Hence, having the right amount of fat and fat from healthy sources is essential for brain and cellular health not to mention hormone production. (Cholesterol is the start of hormone production).
Fat also helps the body absorb vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E all of which are fat soluble and essential for health.
Types of fat:
I do not mean to send the message that everyone should go out and indulge in butter pies and donuts to get the fat that our bodies do need. There are different types of fat...saturated, trans, and unsaturated or omega 3/6/9 fats.
The omega numbers simply reference how many carbons away from the methyl end of the fatty acid chain that the first carbon-carbon double bond appears. If the double bond is three carbons away, it’s called an omega-3 fatty acid, 6 carbons away is omega 6 and 9 is omega 9!
OMEGA 3, 6, 7, 9, saturated and trans fatty acids:
Omega 3's, aka alpha linoleic acid, contain EPA and DHA which are known for cardiovascular and brain health, are anti-inflammatory and used in cell membrane production, function, and overall gene expression as well as immune system modulation. Omega 6 fatty acids aka linoleic acid sometimes get a bad rap for being inflammatory but actually play a role in cell membrane structure, pulmonary function and the inflammatory response. Hence, we need both omega 3 and omega 6 for optimal cell function and immune response.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, meaning we need to consume them in our diet. Omega 6 fatty aci