It’s true, we rail against the dangers of sugar consumption kind of a lot. Okay…every day.  All day. In our defense, it’s because sugar inflames the entire brain and lays waste to the immune system and we love you. It’s the chief culprit in diseases like depression, anxiety, diabetes, obesity, dementia, and many more. Sugar is bad. But we digress, we’re here to talk to you about bad fats today. They thought they’d sneaked past us because we’re always on about sugar, but we see them there, destroying arterial walls and enabling sugar’s immune-wrecking ways, and we have to call them out.

For years conventional wisdom insisted we eat low-fat diets to prevent heart disease and other killer conditions. Alas, that wisdom was not actually all that wise. The issue was never fat per se, it was bad fat (and sugar, we haven’t forgotten you, sugar). So what makes a fat a bad fat? Glad you asked! We’re referring to PUFAs (Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids) from seed oils. Oils like canola (also called rapeseed oil), soy oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, anything listed as “hydrogenated” at any level or called shortening or margarine. While seed oils themselves are not inherently dangerous to human health, our methods for processing them and our extraordinary overuse of them is. For example, Americans are  eating about 1,000 times more soy oil today than we were 100 years ago.

A helpful chart courtesy Dr. Catherine Shanahan.

One of the worst things these PUFAs can do to our bodies is, at high enough concentrations, they shut down our mitochondria’s ability to produce energy, which in turn, causes us to reach for more sugar for energy! Yes, it all comes back to sugar. Well, sort of. The fact remains that something that prevents our cells from making energy to run our bodies is not healthy for us. And, you’ve probably made this leap already, but it will certainly put the kibosh on the immune system’s ability to fight off invasion.

Where are we getting so many of these dangerous fats? You could walk blindfolded through a grocery store’s center aisles, reach your hand out and grab something and it will most likely contain one or more of the seed oils listed above. Processed foods are rife with them because they are cheap and easy to get in high quantities. It’s what pretty much all fried foods are fried in. It’s used in commercial salad dressings and condiments. It’s actually as challenging to avoid as sugar.

So what do we mean when we differentiate between good and bad fats? We want you to eat plenty of good fats, because they are key elements in real, sustainable energy for your body. By eliminating foods that contain the bad fats, you’ll also find you’re eliminating a lot of the processed, simple carbohydrates (they go together oh so well!). Once you’ve done that, you’ll have room for lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy protein sources, and good fats. Here’s a little list of happy oils that are good options for cooking (check heat tolerance), dressings, and baking to feed your cells and strengthen your immune system, you brain power, and your longevity:

  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • MCT Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Butter/Ghee
  • Tallow/Lard
  • Palm Kernal Oil
  • Walnut Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Macadamia Nut Oil
  • Walnut Oil
  • Almond Oil

Start with those for your cooking needs, and if you see the seed  oils listed on a package of some convenience food you’re considering ingesting, think twice! Maybe skip the packaged item altogether and grab an apple for a snack instead!