Loving the BITE: The Wrong Kind of Fat

Asian Ginger Dressing RecipeWhether you realize it or not, you’re surrounded.  It’s in you, in your fridge, in your pantry, in your foods.  While small amounts are okay, large amounts are the enemy.  It’s the wrong kind of fat.  It promotes inflammation and blocks anti-inflammatory fats.  It’s chronic inflammation has negative effects on your health, your cycling performance, and your recovery. And, its source may surprise you.

Recipe of the week: Wonderful Asian Ginger Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root (remember, the skins comes off easily with the side of a spoon)
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce or soy sauce mixed 1:1 with water
  • 3 tablespoon organic honey

Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Enjoy over a fresh salad, or as a seasoning oil for stir-fries.

Comments: 

There’s a very good reason to be extra picky about your salad dressings and condiments.  I mean, looking-at-every- ingredients-list or making-your-own picky.  Quite simply, commercial condiments have the wrong kind of fat in them.  A cheap kind.  A kind that’s pro-inflammatory and hugely detrimental.  And, it’s in many, many of the condiments you likely use regularly.

As if fats are not confusing enough, I’m going to go ahead and throw a wrench into everything you think you know about them.  And this time, we’re talking about unsaturated fats.  Like saturated fats, some are more beneficial than others, and some are harmful to our health.  What makes it confusing is that omega-6 fats, which are necessary in our diets for health in small amounts become harmful to health in large amounts.  And worse, for years, it’s these very fats we’ve been told to consume.  Dang it.

Here’s the issue: Fats with the double bond at the 6th carbon, or omega-6 fats, compete with omega-3 fats to steer our bodies’ production of hormones toward more chronic inflammation and away from reduced chronic inflammation.  Omega-6s are primarily found in plant oils, especially grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil, and soybean oil.  They are also found in whole grains, whole grain products, and the meats of animals that are not grazed but fed grains.  These fats are widely used in the body and readily absorbed.  For the experts who have studied the effects of omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, over-consumptions of omega-6s increase the risk of many diseases including heart attacks, thrombotic stroke, arrhythmia, arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, inflammation, mood disorders, obesity, and cancer (especially breast and prostate cancer).

While small amounts of these fats are necessary, they are so abundant even naturally in foods, that you don’t need to go out of your way to get them.  In fact, while concentrating on getting as much omega-3s as possible, you’ll likely get plenty as these fats are often found in varying amounts in the same foods (so choose the ones that are high omega-3 and lower omega-6).   And, in fact, we should go out of our way to minimize them.  They should only make up a very limited portion of our diet.

At this point, I’m not going to recommend counting every milligram of omega 6s (I’ve seen recommendations as low as 6 grams per day, which is very tough to which to adhere).  Instead, I’m going to tell you the best three ways I know to easily reduce as many grams as you can without too much work.  Ideally, the whole diet should balance to a ratio of only 4:1 omega-6:omega-3 or less.  This is difficult to achieve with our modern processed diets.  And, unfortunately, simply loading up on huge amounts of supplemental omega-3s does not achieve the same results as minimizing omega-6s while getting adequate omega-3s through diet and supplement.  So, let’s get to reducing omega-6s.

The big 3: Minimize your intake of soybean oil, cottonseed, and other omega-6s oils in commercial condiments, stop cooking with the high-omega-6 oils listed above, and don’t use a omega supplement that includes omega-6s (such as omega-3/omega-6/omega-9).

Page 1 of 2 | Next page