The differences between good fats and bad fats?

What are the good (essential) fats?

Certain fats are defined as 'essential' because:

-The body cannot make them;
-They are required for normal cell, tissue, gland, and organ function, for health, and for life;
-They must be provided from outside the body, through food or supplements;
-They can come only from fats (hence fat-free diets cannot supply them);
-Their absence from the diet will eventually kill;
-Deficiency results in progressive deterioration, can lead to death;
-Return of essential fatty acids to a deficient diet reverses the symptoms of deficiency and results in a return to health.

According to the above definition of essential, there are only two essential fats (technically called essential fatty acids or EFAs). One is the omega 3 (omega-3) EFA, called alpha-linolenic acid. The other, the omega 6 (omega-6) EFA, is known as linoleic acid.

The body converts the omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs into several omega-3 and omega-6 derivatives with important functions in the body. The best known derivatives of omega-3 are EPA and DHA, which are made by the body and are also found in high fat, cold water fish. DHA is the major brain omega-3. Derivatives of omega-6 include GLA (found in evening primrose oil), DGLA (found in mother's milk), and AA (found in meat, eggs, and dairy products, as well as in fish). AA is the major brain omega-6.

From the omega-3 derivative called EPA, the body makes hormone-like series 3 eicosanoids, and from two omega-6 derivatives called DGLA and AA, the body makes hormone-like series 1 and series 2eicosanoids, respectively. Eicosanoids regulate many functions in all tissues on a moment-to-moment basis, from conception until death. 


What are bad (toxic) fats?

Most of the health problems usually blamed on fats should be blamed on the destructive processing of fats, normally used to obtain longer shelf life and greater convenience for manufacturers and consumers.

EFAs are sensitive to destruction by light, air (oxygen), and heat. These three destructive influences produce molecules that have been changed from natural and healthy to unnatural and toxic.

Light produces thousands of free radicals in oils, and leads to random changes in oil molecules. Exposure of oil to air or oxygen produces oxidation and rancidity with its unpleasant odor. Heat speeds the damage done by light and oxygen, and at high temperatures, does it own unique kinds of damage.

Because of their sensitivity, EFAs need to be pressed, filtered, packaged, stored and used with care. They need protection from light, air, and heat. If this protection is not given, EFAs and the oils containing them cannot retain the health benefits that they confer when treated with care.

EFA-rich oils should be made with health in mind, rather than for long shelf life. When this care is not taken, oils and EFAs are damaged, and then they damage our health.