What are PUFAs?
PUFAs = PolyUnsaturated Fatty Acids
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, or PUFAs, are found in industrial seed and vegetable oils— the go-to ingredients added in loads of packaged foods. It all starts with the heavy processing of seeds and veggies needed to refine them to turn them into an actual oil.
The Rise of Processed PUFAs: A Turning Point in Dietary Habits
Back at the turn of the 20th century, someone figured out there’s a good profit to be made from these cheap oils, and that’s when things started to change. Before that, our diets didn’t have these unnatural, processed PUFAs making their way into every meal.
At no point in history in anywhere in the world have we consumed as many PUFAs as we are today.
Since the 70’s up until recently we have been told “fat is bad, fat makes you fat” without taking into account the types of fats.
The WRONG fats will slow the metabolism. PUFAs are easy oxidized, creating free radicals in the body, increasing inflammation and fatigue, and is correlated to heart disease, slowed metabolism/thyroid, increased risk of sterility and dementia etc.
The PUFAs Predicament: Understanding the Risks
- they are hidden in packaged foods and snacks (including crackers, popcorn, soups, alternative dairy products, nut butter, dressings, sauces, chips, etc. THINK: anything with an ingredients list that doesn’t spoil)
- PUFAs are unstable fats that go rancid easily creating free radicals in the body(high level of oxidation)
- They lead to hormonal imbalance– PUFAs are very estrogenic, and we are constantly exposed to excess estrogen in our environments already
- PUFAs accelerate aging, decrease immune function, slows metabolism
Fat is still important
Understand that there is a difference between “fats” and “oils”. Fats will typically be solid at room temperature where as oil is liquid. This comes down to the ratios of unsaturated to saturated fats.
Consuming the right fats IS essential however as they:
- are needed for production of energy and hormones
- are the building blocks for cell membranes (the fluidity of the membranes is reliant on types of fats eaten)
- provide long, slow burning energy (blood sugar stability)
- needed for fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
- works synergistically with proteins
- makes food taste better
- protect vital organs
- needed for growth, reproduction, immunity, metabolism
Fats to use:
- coconut oil
- grass-fed butter (low heat cooking or on top of food)
- grass-fed ghee (higher heat cooking)
- raw cacao
- beef tallow/lard
Mono-Unsaturated : (for use on top of foods, not the best for cooking with)
- extra virgin olive oil
- avocado oil
In wrapping up our exploration into the world of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs), it’s clear that these little components play a significant role in our diets, lurking in everyday foods. From their industrial origins to their infiltration into our meals, PUFAs have undergone a transformative journey.
The wrong fats, particularly easily oxidized PUFAs, can wreak havoc on our bodies, contributing to inflammation, fatigue, and various health risks.
In essence, understanding the complexities of PUFAs empowers us to make informed dietary decisions. Let’s strive for a balanced approach, incorporating the right fats and steering clear of the detrimental ones, ensuring a healthier, happier lifestyle.