Unfortunately, this stigma has carried over to fat in general, with lots of people avoiding fat entirely in favor of lean meats and carbohydrates. As we know, there are some serious metabolic consequences to doing so. So to navigate a healthy diet, free from insulin derangement is becomes essential to know what fats to eat and which ones to avoid.
In the beginning: Omega 6 and Omega 3
When the average person was a hunter-gatherer, the state we lived in for millions of years leading up to modern agriculture, the level of omega 3s and omega 6s were very different. In the absence of refined oils and factory farmed meat, the average person would get most of their fat calories from meat sources such as deer, fish and mammoth. The ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 in the diet sat comfortably at 1 to 1.
Today, in the days of deep fried snickers and canola oil, the ratio has changed dramatically. The average omega 3 to omega 6 ratio of someone on a standard American diet is estimated to be between 1:20 and 1:30.
Everything in moderation
Omega 6 isn’t an inherently evil substance. It is required for many processes within the body including inflammatory response. Both Omega 6 and Omega 3 are considered essential fatty acids, without them, we would not be able to function.
However, with levels as high as they are today, problems are abound. Excess of omega 6 fatty acids has been related to all sorts of problems resulting from inflammation from arthritis to heart disease. Studies have shown a direct correlation between average tissue levels of omega 6 and the incidence of heart diesase.
All the while, people condemn butter for causing heart disease while heaping on low quality vegetable oil based dressings onto their salads. The irony is palpable.
Omega 6 oils are predominantly found in vegetable oils while omega 3 is predominantly found in animal oils. Of course, there are exceptions such as flaxseed oil but for the most part these hold true.
Since the advent of the industrial revolution, vegetable oils have been much cheaper to produce and store than animal based fats and have since become the de facto for cooking and processing of food. American diets have been estimated to get almost 10% of total calories from omega-6 oils!
It’s no wonder people are so scared of fat in this country. They are forced to eat the worst kind of fat available by the corporations that feed them.
What are you to do in order to prevent these myriad problems and how can you incorporate this into your choice of survival foods? Stay tuned for the next post in this series to find out.