Jack Spratt would eat no fat

Fats are vital for our health in all sorts of ways, and, while proteins and carbohydrates get most of the attention, fats are usually relegated to a byline, or mentioned in lurid headlines saying how harmful they are.

There’s a marked difference in the way men and women handle fat. On average, fats make up around 22% of a woman’s bodyweight, and only 15% of a man’s. Female hormones protect women from the cardiovascular effects of excess fat to a much greater degree than men, and women, at least until menopause, suffer one-third as many heart-attacks and strokes.

So, while women need to be eating more fat by body weight, and are better protected against excess, it’s women who are often targetted by the “low-fat” food industry.

However, while fats are vital to health, not all fats are equal. Two of the healthiest fats are hemp oil, which we’re offering new this week, and flax oil. Hemp oil has an almost perfect balance between omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, and is ideal for long-term use. Flax oil does not have this same ideal ratio, but is very high in LNA fatty acids. Most of us who eat a diet high in processed foods will have far too little of this essential fatty acid, and flax can help restore the deficit.

The problem is most of us have a diet far too high in unhealthy fats. Hydrogenised and trans-fatty acids are associated with higher rates of heart disease and cancer, and these fats are readily available. Present in most margarines, they’re commonly found in shortenings and most processed, “convenience” foods.

Most of these start with a low-quality, highly-processed oil, but healthy fats too, when heated, become harmful. Hemp, flax and olive oil shouldn’t be heated much, if at all. For cooking, coconut oil is the best choice.

To top up your fat needs, we offer hemp seed oil, flax oil, a balanced omega 3-6-9 oil, 2 varieties of olive oil and 2 varieties of coconut oil. And if that’s enough fat, and it’s time for a protein boost, there’s hemp powder too.

Paul from Vondis will be on Cape Talk and 702 this Saturday at 8am to answer all your questions about pet nutrition. So if you’ve got concerns about vegan food for dogs, or wonder just what goes into most “healthy” pet foods, this is your chance to ask him.

To order, head on over to www.ethical.org.za

Have a great week,
Ian and the Ethical Co-op team