The Function of Fat – Part III, In Search of that 10%…

Your Nutritional Moment of Zen      

But first, some “Fun” Facts about Fat:

  • All oil is liquid fat. Doesn’t matter if it is polyunsaturated, mono-saturated or, heaven forbid and with good reason, saturated.
  • A tablespoon of oil has 120 calories (that’s a lot). Once again, irrelevant the type of oil.
  • They (oils) contain minimal nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They are far more empty calories than anything else.
  • While mono and polyunsaturated oils are better for you than saturated fat, they are NOT health foods. Consider them simply the lesser of evils.
  • To be clear – This is not to say that all fat is bad for you (as we know it isn’t) but all oil and fat NOT in nature’s package is.
  • One of the big problems with all isolated oils is they oxidize easily and rapidly both inside the body and waiting to go in. This means they go “bad” or turn “rancid”. That certainly doesn’t sound good, and it isn’t. Oxidized oils readily form atherosclerotic lesions, more commonly known simply as plaque.
  • Omega-3’s vs. Omega-6’s: We have all heard of these. They refer to the location of the first carbon-to-carbon double bond from the non-acid end of the long carbon-hydrogen chain. Remember “fat” is short for fatty acid.
  • The ideal ratio between the two (the ratio we evolved with) is about 1:1. Alas, in the typical Western Diet the ratio can be as high as 15:1 in favor of the omega-6 fatty acid, and that is not the favorable one.
  • The heating of oils, all oils, produce cancer-causing compounds. Makes one wonder why we go out of our way to cook with them.
  • I know this one may be stomping on sacred ground for some – But the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet are in spite of the recommended olive oil, not because of it. [1]

Where to Find Your (Omega-3) Fat:

First though, I want to remind you that 10% max of your caloric intake should be fat, so regarding the list below, more and more is definitely not better and better. Very small amounts are all you require. Nuts by definition are the highly-concentrated source of energy (stored mostly as fat), along with a bunch of starter-nutrients, needed to get a new plant “off the ground”.1

  • Flax Seeds – Grind in batches, place in a sealed container, and then keep refrigerated. (Remember all oils turn rancid / oxidize when exposed to air, with warm air more effective at that then cold.) One tablespoon a day is sufficient. I have it with my oatmeal. They doesn’t really have much of a taste, so whatever you put them in or on you probably won’t notice their presence.

FYI – Flax seeds do need to be ground to be absorbed since the whole seed is not digestible. They pass right thru you…Also an effective NATURAL laxative.

  • Hemp Seeds – A bit pricey. Costco sells them! Can consume if you want, but really flax seeds can be your sole omega-3 (and even omega-6) source.
  • Walnuts – Just a few a day will do! Best to take what you want out first, then put the bag away. Shelled they are far too easy to overdo. I have found Whole Foods bulk ones to be tastier and fresher than Costco’s. Like hemp seeds they are pricey as well, but remember, don’t need many.
  • Soybeans – Don’t believe some of what is out there. They are not harmful in reasonable quantities. They are actually rather good for you. And they do not contain actual estrogen!
  • Leafy Green Vegetables – Yep. Leafy green vegetables.

As you can see, it’s all about getting your fat in nature’s package, not someone else’s.[2]

So where’s the fish (oil)?

Not on the list, and not an accidental omission. Start right with “not in nature’s package”, but also:

  • As a processed, isolated oil it can often be rancid by the time you get it. Heck it can be turned rancid right in the production process!
  • Uninvited guests – Most high-up-the-food chain fish (where most fish oil supplements come from) contain mercury, a serious nervous system, and other stuff, toxin. The price we pay for a lifetime of polluting the waterways…
  • You get what you get, and that often is not what the label says, and only rarely, by chance, the amount you actually use on any given day.
  • In nature’s package your body readily takes exactly what it needs that day and excretes the rest. Kind of need-controlled vs. with fish oil capsules which are supply-controlled (i.e. not up to you).
function of fat

It is worth pointing out, fish do not make omega-3 oils, not a drop.2 They eat plants that make them. So can you. In the words of my work alma mater (Car Toys):

“It’s a better way to go.”


“Nutritional Zen Master in Training”

The Wellness Forum Institute

FYI: The alternative to oil-based cooking is water-sautéing. While this may seem impossible, or at least, challenging, I can assure you with absolute certainty, it isn’t especially difficult. I know this because even I can do it. Here’s a link to a how-to video:

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[2] A whole food plant-based diet readily supplies all the “basic” fat you need. Beans, legumes, whole grains, even fruits, vegetables and the above-mentioned leafy greens all have fat components to their make-up. It’s amazing, and amazingly easy. Slide rules, scientific calculators and food scales not required!