Bad Fat vs Good Fat: Why Most Americans Have too Much of a Bad Thing

How Many Times Have You Heard "We Are What We Eat"

There is no doubt in my mind that this statement is true, and I think most doctors and nutritionists would agree also. The current American diet as disrupted the proper ratios of essential nutrients in our bodies and influenced the pH of most of our digestive systems in the wrong direction. Some people argue that Americans are living longer despite that fact, which actually isn't true, because Americans, inf fact, are NOT living than their ancestors. We have been lead to believe that we are because life expectancy is an average through the range of birth through death. Because infant mortality rates and mothers dying in childbirth was much more commonplace in the days before modern medicine that "expectancy" is skewed in favor of the modern day, but in truth if you eliminate infant mortality and deaths in childbirth, we live, on average, much shorter lives than our ancestors did. The reason why is what we eat now vs. what our ancestors ate back then.

Essential Fatty Acids: The Good Fats

There are certain fatty acids that our body needs that have to come from our diets, these are the good fats. The most important ones are (alpha-linolenic acid) Omega-3 and (linoleic acid) Omega-6. Our body can not make these essential fatty acids on it's own, so we need to get these from our diets, but our current American diet provides them overall in ratios that are incorrect and which cause more harm than good.

Our diet should consist of a ratio of approximately 1:1 or 2:1 Omega-6: Omega-3, and certainly no more than 4:1 at the most. Unfortunately our American diet generally has a ratio nearly 15:1 to 20:1 Omega-6:Omega-3, which many doctors believe may be a contributory factor in such diseases as depression and other disorders. "The omega-6 fatty acid to omega-3 fatty acid ratio is important to avoid imbalance of membrane fluidity. Membrane fluidity affects function of enzymes such as adenylate cyclase and ion channels such as calcium,potassium, and sodium, which in turn affects receptor numbers and functioning, as well asserotonin neurotransmitter levels. It is evident that western diets are deficient in omega-3 and excessive in omega-6, and balancing of this ratio would confer numerous health benefits." Quoted from WikiPedia

"Adequate intake of the essential fatty acids results in numerous health benefits. Documented benefits include prevention of atherosclerosis, reduced incidence of heart disease and stroke, and relief from the symptoms associated with ulcerative colitis, menstrual pain, and joint pain.2-4 Omega-3 fatty acid levels have also been associated with decreased breast cancer risk.' Quoted from pcrm.org

Why Asian Cultures Have Less Heart Disease

It's a well-known and established fact that Asian cultures that subsist on an Asian diet have lower incidences of heart disease than Americans. That is attributed to the much higher amount of fish being consumed in their diets. The downside to that, is that there is no guarantee that the fish they are eating fresh-caught from the sea is mercury-free. That is why it is better for us, as Americans, to supplement our diet with an Omega-3 supplement that is guaranteed to be free of mercury. Such supplements are few and far between and generally will not be found in your local health food store, you supermarket, your department store, or your pharmacy. So, you must do your due diligence when you search for an Omega-3 supplement that is worthy.

Sadly, most nutritional supplements that are sold OTC in retail outlets throughout the US and other countries are mostly contain very little nutritional value. To make matters worse, the industry is largely unregulated by the FDA, so the best thing to do is rely on physical proof to tell if an Omega-3 supplement will actually do what it says it will do.

How Do Essential Fatty Acids Affect You?

Have You Ever Thought About How Essential Fatty Acids Affect Your Health?

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Essential Fatty Acids are Brain Food

"The human brain is nearly 60 percent fat. We've learned in recent years that fatty acids are among the most crucial molecules that determine your brain's integrity and ability to perform. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are required for maintenance of optimal health but they can not synthesized by the body and must be obtained from dietary sources" Quoted from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/


The Dumbing Down of American Youth

Most importantly, the developing brains of of our children NEED essential fatty acids to develop properly. It's no great secret that diseases such as ADD and Autism are occurring in alarming proportions. Some people say that is attributed to those diseases being attributed to other conditions in the past, such as mental retardation. But, the facts are that our American youth are getting left in the dust by the youths in Asian cultures when it comes to academic performance. A HUGE percentage of pH.D. recipients in the sciences are Asian or of Asian descent. I think there is a direct correlation between this trend and dietary trends across cultures.

If we allow this trend to continue, eventually Americans will become so much dumber than the rest of the world that we will become subservient to some other country, much as Adolf Hitler would have liked to accomplish with his plan for world dominance.

"A Rush Institute for Healthy Aging study analyzed fish-eating patterns of more than 800 men and women, ages 65 to 94. Those eating fish at least once a week were much less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those who turned up their nose at it." Quoted from webmd.com

Quick Summary

  1. Essential Fatty Acids are good fats that our bodies can not make, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6.
  2. Omega-3 long-chain fatty acids are principally found in cold-water fish and shellfish.
  3. Omega-3 short-chain fatty acids are principally found in seeds, such as flax seed, chia seeds, walnuts, and leafy green vegetables; however, our bodies can not absorb these short-chain Omega-3 fatty acids as effectively as the long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish and shellfish.
  4. A good diet should contain 2:1 ratio of Omega-3:Omega-6
  5. Most American diets contain 20:1 Omega-6:Omega-3
  6. Omega-6 is found in almost everything we eat that is bad for us.
  7. This imbalance leads to all sorts of health problems including depression, ADHD, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, skin disorders, joint pain, and a plethora of other health problems.

Why the Ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 is Important

"Before the introduction of grains, fats, and artificial substances, says Maroon, the ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s was two to one. Today, we consume at least 20 times more omega-6s than omega-3s. The problem is that excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids can promote inflammation, a key step in many chronic diseases." Quoted from webmd.com

We are always in such a hurry to go here and get there, that we are no longer thinking about what we are eating and how it affects our health. Our diets are filled with saturated fat, high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, and salt.............pretty much everything that eaten in excess makes a BAD diet and causes all sorts of health problems, which are starting at earlier and earlier ages.

How many people do you know that are getting at least 2-8 oz servings of cold-water fish each week? Especially the children, who have over time, become conditioned to only want to eat high fat, high Omega-6 content foods, such as cookies, crackers, french fries, burgers, and all other manner of ethyl-methyl di-ethyl deathly bad stuff. Now, it's time for us, as parents, to turn the tide and get our kids on the right tack to eating the right foods, taking the right dietary supplements, and to stop eating foods that are making them dumber, fatter, and sicker.

Good Sources of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids

Sources of Long-Chain Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
Sources of Short-Chain Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
Best Source of Omega-3 Dietary Supplements
Calamari
Chia Seeds
http://healthylivingmarketplace.net
Mackeral
Flax Seed
 
Salmon
Flax Seed Oil
 
Anchovies
Spinach
 
Sardines
Kale
 
Herring
Collard Greens
 
Tuna
Mustard Greens
 

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry Eye Syndrome

Why Omega-3 is Important for Eye Health

"A 2003 National Eye Institute study showed that 60- to 80-year-olds eating fish more than twice a week were half as likely to develop macular degeneration as those who ate no fish at all." Quoted from webmd.com

Studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids are of paramount importance in the development of eyesight in infants. Therefore, it is important that a expectant mother be consuming enough Omega-3 from cold-water fish or dietary supplement sources in order to provide her little bundle of joy that is gestating in her womb with a sufficient supply of Omega-3. It is equally important that after that little bundle of joy enters the world, that he/she continues to receive an ample supply of Omega-3 in the diet. That means that nursing mothers should continue to consume ample supplies of cold-water fish, or supplementing their diet with a a good Omega-3 dietary supplement.

Mothers who are not nursing should provide their infant with a formula that is fortified with Omega-3 to make sure the little one is getting enough to ensure good vision development. Studies at the Havard School of Public Health and published in the journal Pediatrics should that infants that were provided with sufficient Omega-3 had better vision a few months into life than those who were not provided with Omega-3.

Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to help prevent or greatly reduce dry-eye syndrome in a study of 32,000 women between the ages of 45 and 84. Studies in mice with a topical application of Omega-3 also showed a reduction in dry-eye syndrome; therefore, it is logical to make a conclusion that there must be some correlation between the ratio of Omega-3:Omega-6 and the incidence of dry-eye syndrome.

Salmon=Omega-3 Long-Chain Fatty Acids=Good Fat

How to Get More Omega-3 Into Your Diet

Best Ways to Get More Omega-3 Into Your Diet

Eat more cold-water fish like Salmon, Mackarel, Tuna, Sardines, Herring, etc. Eat leafy greens like Spinach, Kale, Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, etc., and eat flax seeds or chia seeds and walnuts. It is better to consume wild-caught cold-water fish vs. farm raised cold-water fish, because their exposure to toxins and other stresses in their environment will be less, thus making them the healthier choice. Although PCBs have been banned in the US since 1976, there are still other countries that are using PCBs, and it's easy for the farm-raised fish to get exposed to these toxins due to rain-water runoff getting into the fish farming pens. There is still the risk of mercury however, from cold-water wild caught fish, and mercury unfortunately is a cumulative toxin (ie once it gets into the system it stays there, and if more gets into the system it continues to build up).

The best place to buy Cold-Water, mercury-free and PCB-free fish oil Omega-3 Supplements is HERE.

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6 comments

Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 2 years ago from Rural Arizona

This is not my favorite subject, but well worth taking the time to read.

I am one who has never paid attention to all these dietary facts but has been lucky I guess. I do find that some foods I hated as a child are now on my favorite things to eat list. My parents never had much money but my mother was always able to put something on the table that we liked.

Now whether that was good for us or not is debatable, but we lived through it.

Thanks for the great job of researching and sharing that information with us.


pocono foothills profile image

pocono foothills 2 years ago from Easton, Pennsylvania Author

Hi Thanks for your comment, again. I'm glad you find my hubs enjoyable reading.


manatita44 2 years ago

Great and needed article. Obesity is a current problem in the Western World. Well-written and with good advice. I use Omega 3 quite often. Peace.


pocono foothills profile image

pocono foothills 2 years ago from Easton, Pennsylvania Author

Hey manatita44, Thanks for your comment. I believe, (of course, I'm a bit biased) that the world's best omega-3 is available from http://healthylivingmarketplace.net


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Obesity is a huge problem over here in England too, especially up North, we really should take more notice of how other countries eat, like more fish etc, interesting stuff, and something we should all take notice of, nell


pocono foothills profile image

pocono foothills 2 years ago from Easton, Pennsylvania Author

Hey Nell, Thanks for the comment. Obesity is a problem in lots of countires, and many Eastern Countries are now becoming influenced by Western diets, which is a very, very bad thing.

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