What is dietary fat?
Dietary fat is the type of fat found in the foods you consume each day. Dietary fat is needed to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K in the body, which are important in many of your body’s functions.
There are two main types of dietary fats: saturated fats and unsaturated fats.
Polyunsaturated fats, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6, are considered one of the “good” fats, while saturated fats such as trans fats are considered “bad” fats. Saturated fats are found mostly in animal products such as fatty meats, eggs, and full-fat dairy products, while unsaturated fats are found in fatty fish as well as plant-based foods such as plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, and avocado.
Saturated fats have had mixed reviews since some experts believe they are not all that bad for us. This message came from a recent review of studies on saturated and trans fat that found that there was no correlation between saturated fat intake and all-cause mortality. However, as researchers later pointed out, this study even stated in their data findings that due to the low quality of previous studies that were carried out, their conclusions on saturated fat and all-cause mortality were “very low” since they could not indicate what people who ate less saturated fat ate instead, also studies show that saturated fats can raise your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, which in turn increases your risk for heart disease. Saturated fat increases the size of LDL particles in your blood, among other things, in turn, increasing risk of coronary artery disease. By replacing the saturated fat in your diet with polyunsaturated fats such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, you can lower your risk of heart disease and related conditions.
Where are Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats found?
Food sources of Omega-6 fats include:
- vegetable oils such as sunflower, corn oil, and soybean oil
- processed food products, fried foods, and sugary baked goods made with vegetable oils
- nuts and seeds such as walnuts, Brazil nuts, safflower seeds, and sunflower seeds
- proteins such as beef, and chicken
- full-fat dairy products such as butter
For example, the Western diet, which is high in red meat, saturated fats, and processed food products, contains a high ratio of Omega-6 compared to Omega-3.
Food sources of Omega-3 fats include:
- Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, and sardines
- Plant-based oils such as flaxseed oil and olive oil
- Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, flax seeds, and chia seeds
- Grass-fed beef and enriched eggs
- Vegetables such as soybeans and spinach
The Mediterranean diet, which focuses on limiting red meat and consuming mostly plant-based fats, contains a higher ratio of plant-based Omega-3 fats.
What does the research say?
Omega-3 has been found to decrease inflammation in the body, which can in turn reduce chronic disease risk, while higher consumption of Omega-6 fats have been linked to inflammation in the body. The current ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 is estimated to be around 16:1, far from the recommended ratio of 1:1 to 2:1, which along with regular exercise has been found to decrease risk of obesity and related chronic disease risk. However, it is important to note that it is not entirely clear whether low consumption of Omega-3 or increased intake of Omega-6 is what truly impacts disease risk.
- Higher Omega-3 intake by pregnant women led to decreased inflammation in their bodies and lowered blood pressure in their offspring during childhood
- Omega-3 fats from fish decreased risk of developing a triggering disorder associated with multiple sclerosis.
- Higher Omega-6 levels versus Omega-3 levels in the blood linked to obesity, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and depression.
Although much more research is still required to clearly identify which Omega-6 fats pose the most health risk, it is safe to say that adding more Omega-3 fats to your daily diet from plant-based foods and fish is a healthy move in the right direction.
Here in Linas & Dinas we make sure to provide all the healthy and balanced ingredients to assure your daily needs for the macros and vitamins , as a lot of people sign up for keto program which counts more on healthy fats and animal protein which helps to have a smooth and quick weight loss.
- Harvard T.H. Chan- School of Public Health. (2016). “Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution.”
- Jockers, M.D., D. (June 30, 2014). “Reduce Inflammation with the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.”