Reprinted with thanks from Ancestral Health:
The Perils of Vegetable and Seed Oils
The debate continues as to which is worse for your health—sugar or polyunsaturated oils.
Here is Alex Fergus’s takedown of vegetable and seed oils, and generally foods with higher levels of polyunsaturated fats.
”PUFA's: The Worst Thing For Your Health That You Eat Everyday”
What I found most useful is his chart ranking the biological safety of fats. This morning I’ve already had some cacao butter (100% chocolate), ghee (clarified grassfed butter) and beef tallow (grassfed). Among other benefits, each of these is predominant in the saturated fat stearic acid (C18:0), which signals mitochondrial fusion, which makes mitochondria larger and more efficient, producing less free radical damage than when burning carbohydrates. The effect peaks 3 hours after eating, so I have some when I get up to be in peak metabolic readiness for my morning aerobic activity, such as cycling, kayaking or running.
Of course the eternal conundrum regarding polyunsaturated fats always is DHA, which has important benefits in terms of biophysics and biology. The best natural sources of DHA are cold-water marine animal fats and grass-fed ruminant fat. The problem with DHA or fish oil supplements is that DHA is highly oxidisable once outside the cell (or the source is overcooked).
Why bother with DHA?
There are numerous performative advantages to DHA, especially with regard to cognition, brain resilience and transport of the fat in blood triglycerides into cells for fat-burning (important for the heart muscle).
DHA biophysics is highly conserved in evolution and the biochemistry has evolved to exploit quantum effects of DHA, with it’s highly symmetric structure with short-length bonds that enable quantum effects and even molecular memory. The fundamental principles of reality as a complex adaptive system result in a hierarchy of layers of complexity, generally the progression of layers from physics to chemistry, to biology, to ecology, to society. The unique quantum properties of DHA enable the biology layer to bypass chemistry to exploit the biophysics of DHA to derive quantum benefits from a layer below the chemistry layer on top of which biology generally operates. Quantum effects, in essence, enable optimization problems to be solved using features of physics that operate faster than the speed of light.
For example, an ordinary computer effectively tops out at problems of polynomial time-and-space complexity, such as problems that require n to the power 3 computational power. A quantum computer can solve problems of NP-complete or perhaps even exponential complexity, such as problems of order 3 to the power n.
DHA is the clutch that engages this higher gear of biophysics capacity in ways evolved to enhance our biology.
- Murray Braithwaite