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Cholesterol matters, but oxidized levels of linoleic acid may matter more

Cholesterol matters, but oxidized levels of linoleic acid may matter more

 

Not all “good” fats are created equal BY Diane Nelson

There are good and bad fats, nutritionists say. But not all polyunsaturated fats, the so-called good fats, are created equal. A food chemist at UC Davis is exploring whether eating too much linoleic acid—a type of polyunsaturated fat found mainly in vegetable oils—can cause chronic inflammation, headaches, and other health problems.

“Others have shown that too much linoleic acid could be bad for the heart,” said Ameer Taha, an assistant professor with the Department of Food Science. “My research shows that it might also be bad for the brain.”

In collaboration with colleagues at the National Institutes of Health (NIH,) Taha conducted dietary tests with people who suffer drug-resistant, chronic migraine headaches. When migraine sufferers reduced linoleic acid and increased consumption of omega 3 fatty acids— polyunsaturated fats found in foods like fish and walnuts—their migraines decreased 40 percent. Taha has also shown that in rats, too much dietary linoleic acid reduces the brain’s capacity to cope with inflammation, which can cause migraines.

“Omega 3 fatty acids are relatively more healthy than linoleic acid and other Omega 6 fatty acids,” Taha said.

Translation: Fatty fish is more nutritious than French fries.

Good fat/bad fat

The dietary fat debate goes something like this: If we replace the saturated fats found in foods like beef and cheese with polyunsaturated fats—like those in vegetable oil—we will reduce our total cholesterol and improve our health.

Reducing cholesterol is good, Taha says, but there is more to it than many doctors and patients realize.

“Cholesterol matters, but oxidized levels of linoleic acid may matter more,” Taha said. “Replacing saturated fats with vegetable oils such as soybean and corn oil may not be the best strategy.”

Christopher Ramsden, a clinical investigator at NIH recently showed that diets replacing saturated fat with linoleic acid did not decrease the risk of heart attacks or death, despite lowering blood cholesterol. Taha was a postdoctoral fellow at NIH before joining the UC Davis faculty in 2014 and researched linoleic acid alongside Ramsden.

“Chris and his colleagues went back through data from the 1960s and found that study participants who ate a diet low in saturated fat and enriched with corn oil reduced their cholesterol by an average of 14 percent, but the low-saturated fat diet did not reduce mortality,” Taha said. “In fact, they found that the greater the drop in cholesterol, the higher the risk of death during the trial.”

How much is too much?

Our bodies need linoleic acid for basic functions like blood clotting and muscle movement, and we cannot synthesize it on our own. So, we have to consume some linoleic acid to stay healthy. The question is, what is the right amount?

Taha is currently developing methods to measure human requirements for linoleic acid, something that has never been fully understood. He and his team are looking at how much linoleic acid is secreted by the liver, for example, and how much linoleic acid the heart and brain consume.

“When we can measure how much the liver puts into the blood in relation to how much is consumed by organs, we can start to understand how much linoleic acid we should consume when we’re 2 and 20 and 70,” Taha said. “Requirements change with age, disease and genes. Knowing how much our body needs will allow us to better regulate our consumption of linoleic acid, so we will be healthier as a population, overall.”

Pass the butter

In the meantime, Taha says he sticks with fats that are relatively low in linoleic acid, like butter, ghee,olive oil, coconut oil, and canola oil. Processed foods are often high in linoleic acid because they are usually processed or fried in vegetable oils like corn and soybean oil.“You can trace the rise in linoleic consumption in North America to the rise in use of soybean and other vegetable oils in processed food,” Taha said. 

So, when it comes to “good” fats, foods high in omega 3 fatty acids (like grass-fed beef, salmon and walnuts) and low in omega-6 fatty acids, like extra-virgin olive oil, might be best of all.  

Media contact(s)

Diane Nelson, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Office, 530-752-1969, denelson@ucdavis.edu

Ameer Taha, Department of Food Science, 530-752-7096, ataha@ucdavis.edu 

 

5 reasons you should definitely have ghee this winter

5 reasons you should definitely have ghee this winter

5 reasons you should definitely have ghee this winter

This Indian superfood has stood the test of time, and is actually quite healthy.

Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? Our mothers and grandmothers have been pushing us to have thoda ghee since we were kids. We didn’t, because we were told that all fats are high in cholesterol, and can lead to a bunch of health issues. But actually, ghee can do us bucket loads of good!

If you’ve come across conversations with Kareena Kapoor Khan, and her renowned nutritionist friend, Rujuta Diwekar, you’ll already know that it’s true–ghee is actually really good for us. When we first came across Diwekar’s arguments, we were as surprised as you are. Over the last decade or so, nutritionists and dieticians have been telling us to cut off the fat from our lives, whether it’s oil, ghee, or lard.

So how the hell can ghee actually be good for us?

Because granny said so

Ghee is one of the dairy products that have been made and consumed in India since time immemorial. Let’s just say that generations of people in this subcontinent have grown up on ghee. We have it raw, with rice, on our dal or rotis, and even in our curries–and we’ve been doing this for centuries. So our physique is used to and built with ghee, from birth to death. And if our systems are naturally used to ghee, how can it be bad for us? Simple logic dictates that daadi ke nuskhe rarely go wrong. So how can it be wrong where ghee is concerned?

Nectar of life

According to ayurveda, the panchamrit as or five nectars of life are honey, sugar, milk, yogurt, and (guess what?) ghee! These ingredients aren’t just used because they’re ritually associated with the divine or the sacred. They actually have individual connotations, according to their specific characteristics. Ghee, for example, represents knowledge and victory. It’s obvious then, isn’t it? Having ghee actually makes you smarter, because it almost works like a brain tonic!

The superfood that burns fat

Contrary to popular believe, ghee is not an ordinary fat. It’s actually a part of the small group of top-performing fats in the world, and has short chain fatty acids. As Rujuta Diwekar explains, these fats actually help break down body fat, and increase the count of healthy bacteria in the gut and stomach. So instead of making you obese, ghee actually helps shed fat and lose weight naturally! Don’t believe us? Just check out this Instagram post by actress Huma Qureshi:

Fight off diseases

If you’ve been wondering how to fight off diseases related to your blood sugar levels, like diabetes, PCOD and obesity, here’s how. You need to have food with low glycemic index, and the best way to do that is to add ghee. Adding ghee to food reduces its glycemic index, which in turn helps regulate your blood sugar levels. So instead of leading to these diseases, ghee is a fat that helps our bodies build up the immunity to fight it.

It’s simply yummy

Finally, let’s just come down to the very basic reason to have ghee–it’s superbly delicious. Adding ghee to your food enhances its flavour like nothing else can. And it doesn’t even matter if the thing you’re cooking up is sweet, savoury or spicy. Ghee goes with everything. The heat generated from having food with ghee on top, in it, or even fried in it, will help you stay warm this winter, and every winter to come.

So let go of the guilt associated with ghee. It’s not a villain you need to avoid, but actually a blessing you must include in your daily life. Trust us, your body and palate will both thank you for having a little bit of ghee.

Source : India Today

The goodness of Ghee from Rujuta’s gyan

The goodness of Ghee from Rujuta’s gyan

The goodness of Ghee

After rice, I feel Ghee occupies the unenviable position as one of the most misunderstood foods in India today. At one time considered the food of Gods, its now a “fattening” ingredient and somehow responsible for the lifestyle diseases of this generation. But is that the truth?

Since the 70s and 80s when inspired by the marketing and propaganda of “heart healthy” vegetable oils, an entire country let go off its 5000-year old food wisdom to eat Ghee, has our heart health really improved?

Are there fewer cases now of diabetes, high cholesterol, etc? Or did we make a blunder when Ghee was labeled “saturated fat” and pushed in the same category as trans-fats and hydrogenated fats?

Things we don’t know or don’t bother to know about GheeMost common myths about Ghee and where you should banish them
Ghee has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Other than helping you recover from sickness, it ensures that you don’t fall sick.Ghee is fattening – Ghee by nature is lipolytic, that which breaks down fat. And this is due to its unique short chain fatty acid structure.
The anti-oxidants in Ghee make it the miraculous anti-wrinkling and anti-ageing therapy you were searching for.Ghee is a saturated fat – It’s a saturated fat, yes, but with such a unique structure that it actually helps mobilize fats from stubborn fat areas of the body. Not a saturated fat like trans-fats in your biscuits, cakes, pizza, etc.
Ghee is excellent for joint health as it lubricates and oxygenates them.Ghee will increase cholesterol – Ghee reduces cholesterol by increasing contribution of lipids towards metabolism. Liver produces excess cholesterol under stress. Ghee helps you de-stress, sleep better and wake up fresher.
Ghee takes nutrients from your food and deliver them through fat permeable membranes like in the brain.Ghee is harmful for heart – Rich in antioxidants, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and fat soluble vitamins like A, E, D, Ghee has just what you need for a healthy heart.
Ghee improves your satiety signal and ensures you eat the right amount of food.Ok, ok fine, Ghee is good, but must not eat it too much – Traditionally we add Ghee in each meal. The quantity at which the taste of food is best is the right quantity. Only your tongue and stomach can tell you that.

What does our ancient food wisdom tells us: Runam krutva, ghrutam pibet – take a loan, but drink ghee. Cook in it or add on top of cooked food, it will continue to bless you.

P.S: And yes, the best Ghee is the one made at home from an Indian cow’s milk. The next decent option is Ghee from buffalo milk. The jersey cow milk and Ghee has no benefits that you seek. So that rules out the tetra packed milk unfortunately.

What you can do is – support a goshala and help preserve the Indian cow.

For people outside India – Use the best possible option but start making a demand for Indian cow milk/ butter. Especially if you are in a country where “customer is the king”.

Source : http://rujutadiwekar.blogspot.in/2013/03/the-goodness-of-ghee.html

Does Ghee Contain Oxidized Cholesterol?

Does Ghee Contain Oxidized Cholesterol?

Does Ghee Contain Oxidized Cholesterol?

Posted on August 22nd, 2006 by Dave

However, several western doctors or scientists make the opposite claim. Who is right?

I’m having trouble finding good quality research papers that provide a definitive answer. If anyone has some good references, please let me know.

I do know of one report by Marc S. Jacobsen in the September 19, 1987 issue of the Lancet on pages 656-658. Ghee was found to contain about 12.3% of all sterols in the form of cholesterol oxides. That’s bad news. [Update: it is also not true.]

Jacobsen attributed the high morbidity and mortality from coronary heart disease of Asian Indians living in the London area to consumption of ghee containing these angiotoxic oxidized sterols.

However, that conclusion does not make sense because CHD was relatively unknown in India until around 50-60 years ago in spite of high consumption of ghee. Furthermore, ghee is revered in ayurveda, and there is a very strong trend where modern science confirms the ayurvedic practices it investigates.

(This is similar to what happens when it investigates oriential medicine practices such as acupuncture.) I suspect that further research would lend further support for the ayurvedic view on ghee. However, in the mean time, I really