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View Diary: A Trans Fat Ban and Marijuana Legalization: Liberal Hypocrisy? (139 comments)

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  •  Advice on "fats" has nearly always been confused. (13+ / 0-)

    We can't expect two compounds to behave the same in the body because we've grouped them together in some category ("fat", "animal fat", "unsaturated fat" etc.).

    I've followed the science and public recommendations for years now, and have seen that mistake is made over and over when it comes to fats. Years ago the message was "all fat is bad", and I still see stuff on the supermarket that carries this implicit message, even though scientific support for such a broad prohibition was weak. "Fat" is not  single thing; for example saturated fats are different from unsaturated fats.  

    And we keep treating categories of fats as the same thing when they're not.  We were told that unsaturated fats were good for us, but in fact trans fats are by definition unsaturated, and now they are considered more villainous than saturate fats.

    Even trans fats differ from each other. Human breast milk contains conjugated linoleic acid and vaccenic acid -- both trans fats.   While breast milk may not be the ideal diet for adults, I think we can safely assume it is not toxic, even though it contains both trans and saturated fats.

    Every fat compound is quite possibly a special case in the category we've assigned to it, e.g. conjugaged linoleic acid in trans fats; stearic acidin the saturated fats.

    This already confusing picture is further confused by confounded or sloppy research.  Remember the advice that we were supposed to especially avoid "tropical oils" like palm or coconut oil?  This advice was based on research into hydrogenated tropical oils. "Lard" has been used as the poster child for "unhealthy fat", but in the US it's practically impossible to obtain lard that hasn't been hydrogenated. Pig fat turns out to be high in monounsaturated fats (like olive oil) and almost certainly better for you than the hydrogenated vegetable oil (Crisco) commonly substituted for lard as a "healthier" plant-base alternative.

    As for "animal" fats, they aren't all the same. The fat in beef is different from the fat in salmon.  The fat from a specific species isn't all one thing either.  It depends on how the animal was raised. Grass fed beef has a different fat profile than feedlot beef.  Wild caught salmon is different from some farmed salmon.

    I'm not a organic-food type myself; for example if I could buy irradiated meat and eggs, I would.  However, I think we should avoid consuming much synthetic food.  If a fat compound doesn't exist in nature or is very uncommon, I'd say it makes sense to avoid it (e.g. partially hydrogenated anything).  Other than synthetic ones, I am not particularly worried about "fat" per se. Eating a varied diet of of unprocessed food seems to me to be reasonable. Where meat is concerned naturally raise animals are preferable for a number of reasons, not the least of which are humane.

    I've lost my faith in nihilism

    by grumpynerd on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 08:16:29 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

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