I first learned about the health risks of consuming unsaturated fats in 2006 when I was privileged to learn in person with Dr. Ray Peat PhD in the USA. After returning to the UK, I was excited about sharing my knowledge with my personal clients and my students. However, many were just not ready to hear that the “politically correct” dietary recommendations to consume a low and polyunsaturated fat diet may not be quite so healthy after all. The handful of students who stayed the course are now light years ahead in terms of personal knowledge and experience today. I also produced some good case studies in my personal practice after applying Peat’s protocols of reducing dietary polyunsaturated fats and replacing with saturated and mono-saturated fats.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids, (PUFA’s) are made up of long chain fatty acids. They are extremely fragile and very susceptible to damage by exposure to light and heat, which cause oxidative free radical damage. When used in cooked foods they become rancid in a very short time, even if the food is kept in the fridge. Consuming cooked pufa’s can be more damaging than the fresh oils. The reason why is because they will oxidise with oxygen more rapidly inside the warm human body, which functions at 37C.
In short, polyunsaturated oils are “essential” for the development of pathologies. This appears to contradict the politically correct version that EFA’s are essential. The term “EFA” appears to have been coined after a 1929 dietary study on rats. Unlike other nutrients such as vitamin C for example, there is no reliable published scientific data to indicate the minimum intake of EFA’s required and the specific diseases that may be prevented by consuming them. When the 1929 study was repeated in the 1940’s it was shown that the adverse effects on rats in 1929 was due to a deficiency of vitamin B6 in the diet. Vitamin B6 hadn’t been discovered at the time of the earlier experiment.
Unsaturated oils increase the risk of cancers, heart attacks, diabetes, arthritis, mitochondrial damage and ageing. Pufa’s suppress the natural secretion of pancreatic enzymes. Some authorities state that pancreatic enzymes are significant in preventing the development of cancer. Most disturbing is that some people, eager to find a simple answer to the cancer problem, can read on the internet that cottage cheese and flax oil, “cures” cancer. If this was correct then we would surely have several long-term studies available to review and could observe a decrease in all cancer diagnoses but sadly, the opposite is the case.
PUFA’s damage every part of the human body. They were traditionally used as industrial oils until they were replaced with the much cheaper oils made from petroleum in the 1950’s. The industrial oil companies created a new market for their products and convinced the public that unsaturated oils were heart protective in spite of animal studies that clearly showed this wasn’t the case. The published science showing the harmful effects of humans and animals consuming unsaturated fatty acids is overwhelming.
Flax oil is the American word for linseed oil. Linseed oil is an effective floor varnish and a great paint thinner. It is listed in numerous products available in DIY stores. If you spill some oil on a surface it will quickly harden. Linseed oil is also useful for sealing the wood and extending the life of a cricket bat.
Fish oils are wonderful, for fish. Fish are cold-blooded mammals and as such they require the fragile oils in their make up in order that they don’t become inflexible in cold waters. It is widely accepted that polyunsaturated fatty acids are susceptible to damage by exposure to light and heat. I know of no one who would consider frying an egg in fish oil, but humans are warm blooded, functioning at 98.4F or 37C. Fish oils are so unstable they begin to oxidise before reaching the bloodstream.
There are some short-term studies that suggest some health benefits of taking omega 3 fatty acid supplements. This can be explained because omega 3 blocks the conversion of omega 6 into damaging prostaglandins and the UK diet is generally higher in omega 6. The anti-aerobic effects are very short term. These reactions cannot be pronounced as a health benefit. The volume of genuine scientific published research that clearly shows the adverse health effects of consuming polyunsaturated fatty acids far outweighs the short term studies that are generally freely available on the internet and promoted heavily by those who sell and profit from their sales.
PUFA’s adversely affect several mitochondrial functions, including cytochrome oxidase. Cytochrome oxidase is a mitochondria enzyme involved in cell respiration and electron transfer.
PUFA’s stimulate excess production of prostaglandins, which can lead to inflamed joints, osteoporosis, immune suppression, and fluid retention.
PUFA`s disturb fluid movements within and between cells, adversely affecting communication between cells, which can speed up cell death.
PUFA`s produce the formation of lipofuscin, or liver/age spots due to lipid oxidation. As this pigment appears on the skin, it is also produced in the brain.
PUFA`s generate free radical production. Saturated fats do not.
Children of mothers ingesting large amounts omega 3 have an increased rick of allergies.
Indigenous cultures that have traditionally consumed coconut oil as a staple fat do not suffer the pathologies associated with dietary pufa’s that are consumed in the UK. The Philippines has a tropical climate and the people living there are exposed daily to the effects of the hot sun, yet skin cancer is extremely rare. Coconut oil is both consumed and applied topically in the Philippines and its natural antioxidant properties are considered to be protective.
Philippine women often appear to be much younger than their real age compared to Eskimo women who can appear much older. Eskimos may have adapted well over time to a harsh climate and have low incidence of cardiovascular disease, but nutrients supplied in their high purine protein meats provide some protection from the damaging effects of omega 3. Eskimos are susceptible to infectious diseases and are not known for their longevity.
Studies have shown that unsaturated oils cause wrinkling and ageing of the skin so why on earth would anyone wish to consume or apply them topically. Many organic personal beauty products contain unsaturated oils.
70 years ago our consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol was many times higher than it is today, yet the incidences of cancer and heart disease was rare compared to statistics available today. Common causes of death 70 years ago were malnutrition, infectious diseases such as TB, and death in childbirth.
The fat composition in the human body is 90% mono and saturated fat and our food intake should reflect this. I estimate that some people are consuming around 30% fats from unsaturated sources. It can take over 2 years in a healthy person, eating a minimum of PUFA’s during that time, for the imbalance to be corrected. PUFA’s are released when under stress and/or during the night. Carnitine may be useful during this process because it helps to block the oxidation of pufa’s.
Remember that you are always at the mercy of an animals diet. If a cow or a chicken is fed grains and polyunsaturated oils then it wont produce saturated fat.
Flax oil and fish oil supplements do not build health or prevent disease. In fact they are essential to produce the very pathologies they are sold to you to prevent. Intensive fishing in the UK, to meet the supply and demand for fish oil supplementation, cannot be sustained and threatens our marine eco-system.
Copyright (c) Sheri Dixon 2011
“I began my practice as a cardiologist in 1921, and I never saw an MI patient until 1928. Back in the MI‑free days before 1920, the fats were butter and lard, and I think we would all benefit from the kind of diet we had at a time when no one had ever heard the words `corn oil.`
Dudley White, M.D
“Studies have shown that feeding a diet that totally lacked the `essential` fatty acids produced animals with remarkable properties. `They consumed oxygen and calories at a very high rate. They had low susceptibility to cancer. Their mitochondria were unusually tough and stable. Their tissues could be transplanted into other animals without provoking immunological rejection, and they were very hard to kill by trauma and a wide variety of toxins that easily provoked lethal shock in animals on the usual diet”.
Dr. Ray Peat PhD
“All of these oils, even if they`re organic, cold‑pressed, unprocessed, bottled in glass, and stored away from, heat and light, are damaging. Polyunsaturated oils have no shelf life at all. When they`re warmed to body temperature, they disintegrate even faster. Once ingested, they bind with cells and interfere with every chemical reaction in the body. The results are hormone imbalances, inflammation, and all kinds of illness.”
Dr. Ray Peat PhD
“We found that mice developed deadly, late-stage colon cancer when given high doses of fish oil. With the increased inflammation, it only took four weeks for the tumors to develop.”
Janice Fenton Nutritional Scientist based at Michigan State University