Last week’s Definitive Guide to Fats gave us a chance to unpack the essential fatty acids. But we thought they deserved a closer look still.
Just to review, omega-3 and omega-6 are known as “essential” fatty acids because the body can’t produce them itself. So, it’s up to us to incorporate them into our diet. The typical Western diet is rich in omega-6. (Think corn, soy, peanut, safflower, and other oils.) As for the prevalence of omega-3? Not so much. (Think fish, flax, algae, walnuts, and animal products from grass fed livestock.)
Chalk yet another one up for low-carb, high protein diets: A study in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that a vegetable-based, low-carbohydrate diet can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in women.
To assess the impact of diet on type 2 diabetes risk, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health examined the dietary habits of 85,059 women participating in the Nurse’s Health Study. The women were then assigned a score based on their diet, with higher scores going to the women who consumed a diet rich in animal fats and protein and low in carbohydrates and lower scores assigned to women following a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.
Whereas cholesterol usually gets the gold for most demonized nutritional substance, fats undoubtedly take the silver. We recently covered the cholesterol conundrum, and this week it’s time to confront the fervor over fat. Thanks for joining us today. Please make yourselves comfortable.
As you know, I’ve always been a friend to many fats. But the fact remains, ladies and gentlemen, that not all fats are created equal.
A few fats, including but not limited to trans fats, deserve every bit of disparagement they get and then some. However, we feel for those other little guys in the group. Many of them are, assuredly, a good lot, and we’d like to put in a good word for them.
Everyone ready? Servers are coming around with crudite platters as we speak. Let’s begin, shall we?
There’s been a lively discussion going on in the comment board of yesterday’s “Dear Mark: Pondering Protein” post. I want to make myself clear about what I mean when I say “lean meats”. Here is a markus’s great comment and my reply:
can’t see why you seem to think that Paleolithic man ate lean meats (certainly not on purpose anyway)
many anthropologists and ethnobiologists since the turn of the century noted traditional societies actively sought out the fat – Aborigines come to mind. Never mind the Samburu and Masai herdsmen or the North American Indians or Eskimo (the latter did not all eat fish).
Are you influenced by Cordain?
While we’re all about vegetables here at MDA, we have a special place in our stomachs for clean, lean meat. Yes, it’s the ultimate primal picture-caveperson (O.K.-caveman, but can we get points for trying?) returning from the hunt with dinner for the family.
Fun illustration aside, it’s more than the image. Meat, of the MDA-approved variety, means protein, omega-3s, iron, and a host of other nutrients. And, yes, there’s that gastronomical, savory satisfaction. (Apologies to the vegetarian set. We’ll stop now.)
Nonetheless, as we say here at MDA, not all meat is created equal, especially in the current era of antibiotics, hormone injections, grain feed, factory farms, and cloned animals-coming soon to a neighborhood store near you. (Yes, our friends at the FDA are expected to approve cloned meat and milk in the coming days, according to the Wall Street Journal.)
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