Essential Fatty Acids

Absolutely avoid hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils: As time passes, we keep finding out more and more bad things about hydrogenated oil and fried foods.


Hydrogenation is the food industry's way of turning a liquid oil into a solid fat. This gives packaged foods a longer shelf-life than if they were made with natural oils. Hydrogenation produces trans fats, which have been linked to a number of health problems.

• Women with higher levels of trans fats in their cells are much more likely to develop breast cancer than those with low levels.

• High levels of trans fats create platelet aggregation, which is the beginning of the plaque associated with coronary heart disease.

• Pain and inflammation become much worse for clients who consume hydrogenated oils. They chemically prevent the formation of natural anti-inflammatory substances that are normally produced by the body. If you suffer from chronic pain or have recently been injured, strictly avoid hydrogenated oil.

• Trans fats are incorporated into the cells and make them less resistant to bacteria and viruses. They are a source of immune system problems.

• There may be a link between trans fats and ADD, depression and fatigue. Brain and nerve tissue have a high content of fat. Some researches believe that when trans fats are incorporated into the nerve cells they affect certain functions, creating problems like ADD and depression.

• Muscle fatigue and skin problems are also linked to hydrogenated oils.

Most chips and fried snacks contain hydrogenated oils. Hydrogenated oils are found in a lot of packaged foods like crackers, cereals, and even bread. They are in margarine, mayonnaise and a lot of bottled salad dressings. Read labels. Not all fats are bad for you. Permissible fats include raw nuts (not roasted), virgin or extra virgin olive oil and avocados. Eat foods that contain essential fatty acids: Raw nuts and seeds and cold water fish (like salmon) are good sources of essential fatty acids. Your practitioner may have some specific suggestions for you.

A lot has been written and broadcast about the dangers of eating fat. Doctors, athletic trainers, and dieticians are recommending low-fat diets. What has been lost in the midst of all of this advice is that fat is actually a necessary component of your diet. You need fats and oils for a properly functioning immune system, integrity of the skin and mucus membranes and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, E, D, and K). Not all fats are created equal. Some need to be avoided; some are a vital component of a healthy diet. Most Americans need to add a source of essential fatty acids to their diets; so avoiding fats completely is not always a good idea.

Americans are commonly deficient in essential fatty acids for a variety of reasons. One of the main causes of essential fatty acid deficiency is the consumption of hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated oils. Hydrogenation is a process in which hydrogen is bubbled through an oil, turning it into a solid. Unfortunately, it changes the chemistry of the oil so that it is unusable by the body. Hydrogenating oil turns a liquid oil into a solid fat with a very long shelf-life—good for food processors, bad for your health. The fats created are called “trans fats” and they can create health problems.

Trans fats not only cause health problems of their own, they prevent the essential fatty acids from being properly utilized by tying up the enzymes necessary for their metabolism. Infact, one common sign of trans fats creating problems is a craving for fried food, or snacks fried in oil, like potato chips. The body is actually craving the essential oil it needs, but when deep-fried food is substituted it “gums-up” the works, creating a more severe deficiency than if the fried food was never consumed.

Trans fats get incorporated into cells, lowering cellular integrity. Cells become more prone to microbial invasion. One common problem created by this is dry skin. Another problem is muscles that fatigue easily. Since the myelin sheath is largely composed of fat, trans fats may affect function of the nervous system and there may be a connection to attention-deficit disorder (ADD). They have also been linked to heart disease and breast cancer.

Trans fats also help create chemicals that cause inflammation and inhibit chemicals that prevent inflammation. Clients suffering from chronic pain and inflammation should strictly avoid hydrogenated oil and trans fats. For that matter, they should go easy on meat products since they too may contribute to inflammation.

Another reason for essential fatty acid deficiency is the prevalence of low-fat diets. Americans are so afraid of fat that they will consume sugar and all manner of chemicals if the food promises to be low in fat. The problem isn’t the amount of fat we eat as much as it is the quality of the fat we eat.


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