Healthy vs unhealthy fats lassoed my attention a few months ago when I heard someone say, “Bad fats are our most damaging food. Worse than sugar. Sugar spikes insulin which has a cascade of effects. Bad fats harm us at a cellular level. Every. Single. Cell.”
I thought too much sugar was enemy #1? Did I miss something? Maybe I did. I’m not saying sugar is healthy but unhealthy fats might not only be more harmful to our brains and body, we might be eating them and not knowing it.
I’ll share with you my updated info on fats, how good and bad fats affect the body and brain, and specifically what that means to people who have neurological issues, as is the case for people on the autism and fetal alcohol spectrums, those with sensory issues, ADD and ADHD. We’ll wrap it up as we always try to, with practical tips - easy ways to reduce our intake of bad fat and increase our intake of good fat.
I tried to write ‘the skinny’ of how fat affects our brains but there is too much relevant information.
Here is Part 1 on how fat affects our brains.
The higher the fat quality, the better your body will function. Stop and think about it: You have more than 100 trillion cells in your body, and every single cell should be constructed of high-quality fat.
Action Ideas (Ideas to get ya thinkin’. Not medical advice.)
As you read this, keep in mind that neuroatypical people have tested up to 70% lower in brain fat than the average person (!!!). When you read how healthy fat affects the brain, their low brain-fat and their symptoms will make more sense.
Our basic building blocks
We are made of trillions of cells. Everything we are, brains, bodies, insides, and outsides, are made up of cells. They are the building blocks for all living things.
A cell’s membrane is largely composed of proteins and phospholipids (phospholipids are mostly fat). Common sense tells us, if we use inferior building blocks, we will have a structure that will fall apart.
If we build a cell’s membrane with poor quality fat, we will end up with a poorly functioning membrane, which, because it’s our foundation of life, is frightening.
A cell’s membrane should be semipermeable, so nutrients can flow in, but only nutrients.
However, if a cell membrane is damaged, then other particles can flow in as well and disrupt a cell’s functioning.
It’s this impact on our basic building blocks that caused the speaker in the intro to believe that the impact of poor-quality fats is the single most damaging food to our health.
Good fats vs bad fats
A general and simple way to differentiate a good fat from a bad fat is the amount of processing. Because oil damages so easily, the more processed it is, the greater the chance it will damage our cells. Getting your oil from whole foods reduces the chance of it being spoiled. For example, we should consume walnuts instead of walnut oil, fish rather than fish oil.
Once considered healthy options, now vegetable oils are classified as unhealthy because of the processing. Likewise, fish oils are also now being questioned because so many of them arrive at the consumer in a damaged state. Before I knew this fact, I twice returned bottles of rancid smelling fish oil capsules, falsely believing I had the poor luck of purchasing a bad bottle. If it smells bad or repeats on you, return the bottle.
This chart is the clearest one that I could find. Use it as a guideline to shift foods from the red to the yellow and the yellow to the green.
Start the awareness of the different type of fats week and I’ll share more specifics next week about how fats affect the neuroatypical brain.
While you’re considering what goes into your mouth, if you need something for a chewer in your life, check out our motor-oral products. We have lots of choices.
Whatever you choose to eat this week, enjoy it! And maybe have a summer salad that includes olives, nuts, and seeds and a simple lemon juice/olive oil vinegarette. 😋
Providing calmness & comfort, learning & laughter,
P.S. We know healthy fats are good for us.
Did you also know that if they aren’t paired with a carb, fats aren’t fattening?
I had heard that and it was verified by a nutritionist. So enjoy the above-mentioned salad but remove the croutons and try to keep any fruits (mangos, raisins, cranberries) to a minimum.
If you want to reduce the carbs in a healthy fat meal but don't know where to begin, try searching for keto or paleo recipes. I don't follow either method but have often used their recipes because of my grain issues.
If you've recently changed the fat in your diet and noticed a difference, please share with me. I'd be interested to learn more.
P.P.S. If you are interested in the sources, contact us (info<@>innovaid.ca). We are working on a link to the list of resources but it's not ready yet. Thanks for you patience.