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Q: Why do we need saturated fats in our diet?

Posted September 03, 2014 in Adel, Advice Column

A: Our brains are only 2 percent by weight of our bodies, but our brains use at least 20 percent of our energy supply. Thus, our brain cells are very active, and they require good nutrition and a healthy environment (low in toxins) in order to function well. While all nutrients (protein, fats, vitamins) are required for good brain function, the brain is especially dependent on having plenty of essential fatty acids available. Indeed, the brain is made of more than 50 percent fat. Of the brain’s fat stores, about a quarter are made up of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, and about half is made of saturated fats. The saturated fats are needed to protect and stabilize the delicate polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids. The standard American diet has an excess of omega-6 fatty acids and insufficient omega-3 fats. Deficiency of omega-3 fats is associated with chronic diseases. Our brains require saturated fats to function properly. We have been told to substitute vegetable oils but we now know that vegetable oils contain excess omega-6 fat and promote cancer and inflammation. The recommended low-saturated-fat and low-cholesterol diet is not supported by evidence from clinical trials; and saturated fats and cholesterol are not the culprits in heart disease. Good sources of saturated fats are from organic butter and beef from cows fed their natural diet (e.g., grass-fed which is lower in omega-6 fats), and coconut oil.

Information provided by Toni Sumpter, Sumpter Pharmacy and Wellness, 628 Nile Kinnick Drive South, Suite A, 993-1119.

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