The Effects of Fat on the Body

  • Provide a concentrated source of energy
  • Provide building blocks for cell membranes, hormones and hormonelike substances
  • Slow down absorption of food to leave us feeling fuller for longer periods
  • They act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. 
  • Convert carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption and for a host of other processes.


There are 3 classes of fats, classified by saturation: Saturated, Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated we need a balance of all three fats for optimal health. Fats are a class of organic substances that are not soluble in water. In simple terms, fatty acids are chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms filling the available bonds. Most of the fat in our bodies (and in the food we eat) is in the form of triglycerides, that is, three fatty-acid chains attached to a glycerol molecule. 


Elevated triglycerides in the blood have been positively linked to degenerative diseases, including heart disease. These triglycerides do not come directly from dietary fats; they are made in the liver from any excess sugars that have not been used by the body for energy. The source of these excess sugars is foods containing carbohydrates, particularly refined sugar and white flour.


Classification of Fatty Acids by Saturation

Fatty acids are classified in the following way:


Saturated: A fatty acid is saturated when all the available carbon bonds are occupied by a hydrogen atom. They are highly stable, because all the carbon-atom linkages are filled—or saturated—with hydrogen. This means that saturated fats do not go rancid, even when heated for cooking purposes. They are straight in form and bond together easily, so that they form a solid or semisolid fat at room temperature. Your body makes saturated fatty acids from carbohydrates and they are found in animal fats and tropical oils.


Monounsaturated: Monounsaturated fatty acids have one double bond in the form of two carbon atoms double-bonded to each other and, therefore, lack two hydrogen atoms. Your body makes monounsaturated fatty acids from saturated fatty acids and uses them in a number of ways. Monounsaturated fats have a kink or bend at the position of the double bond so that they do not bond together as easily as saturated fats and, therefore, tend to be liquid at room temperature. 


Similarly to saturated fats, they are relatively stable at high temperatures and are not prone to rancidity. The monounsaturated fatty acid most commonly found in our food is OLEIC ACID, the main component of olive oil as well as the oils from almonds, pecans, cashews, peanuts and avocados.


Polyunsaturated: Polyunsaturated fatty acids have two or more pairs of double bonds and, therefore, lack four or more hydrogen atoms. The two polyunsaturated fatty acids found most frequently in our foods are double unsaturated LINOLEIC ACID, with two double bonds—also called OMEGA-6; and triple unsaturated LINOLENIC ACID, with three double bonds—also called OMEGA-3. (The omega number indicates the position of the first double bond.) 


These fatty acids are ESSENTIAL to optimum health as the body cannot manufacture them – we need to source them from wholefood sources. 


The polyunsaturated fatty acids have kinks or turns at the position of the double bond and hence do not bond together easily. They are liquid, even when refrigerated. The unpaired electrons at the double bonds makes these oils highly reactive to heat and light, they go rancid easily and have a very short shelf life. Polyunsaturated oils should NEVER be heated or used in cooking. 


All fats and oils, whether of vegetable or animal origin, are some combination of saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated linoleic acid and linolenic acid. In general, animal fats such as butter, lard and tallow contain about 40-60% saturated fat and are solid at room temperature. Vegetable oils from northern climates contain a preponderance of polyunsaturated fatty acids and are liquid at room temperature. But vegetable oils from the tropics are highly saturated. Coconut oil, for example, is 92% saturated. These fats are liquid in the tropics but hard as butter in northern climes. Vegetable oils are more saturated in hot climates because the increased saturation helps maintain stiffness in plant leaves. Olive oil with its preponderance of oleic acid is the product of a temperate climate. It is liquid at warm temperatures but hardens when refrigerated.




Excess consumption of polyunsaturated oils has been shown to contribute to a large number of degenerative disease conditions including increased cancer and heart disease; immune system dysfunction; damage to the liver, reproductive organs and lungs; digestive disorders; depressed learning ability; impaired growth; and weight gain.


One reason the polyunsaturates cause so many health problems is that they tend to become oxidized or rancid when subjected to heat, oxygen and moisture as in cooking and chemical processing. Rancid oils are characterized by free radicals—that is, single atoms or clusters with an unpaired electron in an outer orbit.  As a natural skincare expert, every day I see evidence in the skin of free radical damage. I believe that free radicals are responsible for decreasing levels of health and wellness, a body that is toxic, acidic and stressed will generate millions of free radicals. They attack cell membranes and red blood cells, causing damage in DNA/RNA strands, thus triggering mutations in tissue, blood vessels and skin. Free radical damage to the skin causes the cellular breakdown of collagen and elastin leading to inflammation, pigmentation, sagginess, wrinkles and premature aging. Free radical damage to the tissues and organs sets the stage for tumors; and damage to the blood vessels initiates the buildup of plaque. 


Polyunsaturated fats should be sourced cold pressed and never heated or exposed to sunlight – cook only with saturated fats as they are more closely bonded and stable.


Polyunsaturated Oils and the Skin

Cooked vegetable oil, margarine and animal fat are extremely detrimental to the complexion. They are particularly destructive as they are not miscible with water, we are 80% water life forms and this makes metabolization of these substances extremely difficult for the body. Cooked oil and fats are inflammatory to the tissues, cloud the brain, damage the cardiovascular system and congest the skin, accelerating the aging process. 


Cooking oil at high temperatures, to fry or to roast, changes the molecular structure of the oil, turning it to highly toxic trans-fatty acids that are absorbed into the body’s cell membranes weakening their structure. Cooked oil is the largest cause of free radical damage in the human body. Free radicals are oxygen molecules that have lost an electron making them unstable and reactive. These molecules rebound around the cells and tissues, stealing electrons from healthy molecules, causing damage and creating more free radicals in the process. 


Collagen, a protein molecule that gives skin a youthful, supple texture is particularly susceptible to free radical damage, which appears as the formation of wrinkles and creates a chemical change called ‘cross-linking’. Cross-linked collagen is stiff and inflexible. 


Antioxidants can prevent and even reverse free radical damage. They can be obtained in the form of raw plant fats and cold-pressed oils, minerals (manganese and selenium) vitamins A, C and E. Antioxidants operate to give free radicals the electrons they need to become stable.


Raw plant fats are wonderful for our complexion, beautifying by restoring fat-soluble nutrients to the skin -they include: avocados, olives, raw nuts, raw seeds, raw chocolate. 


In terms of saturated fats I recommend cold pressed, virgin coconut oil, cacao butter and palm kernel oil. The best monounsaturated fats include: avocados, olives, raw nuts and olive oil. The finest forms of polyunsaturated fats include, hempseed oil, hemp seeds, chia seeds, evening primrose oil, borage seed oil, flaxseed oil and walnuts. 


The Benefits of Saturated Fats

For over a generation, saturated fat has been powerfully demonised by processed food manufacturers in order to sell more carbohydrate based nutritionally devoid food. Scientific research has been massaged and even falsified, in order to make us accept the proposition that saturated fat leads to high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, strokes and obesity. This is simply not sound science or nutrition.


Anti-fat propaganda has been so effective that fat intake in Britain has fallen significantly by 50%. You would expect the rates of degenerative disease to fall concurrently, however they are exploding at unprecedented rates. 


Saturated fats play a vital role in the body’s biochemistry:

  • Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50% of the cell membranes, giving every cell its necessary stiffness and integrity.
  • They play a vital role in the health of our bones. For calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure, at least 50% of the dietary fats should be saturated.
  • They lower Lp(a), a substance in the blood that indicates proneness to heart disease.
  • They protect the liver from alcohol and other toxins, particularly toxins found in sugar based processed products.
  • They enhance the immune system.
  • They are needed for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids.
    Elongated omega-3 fatty acids are better retained in the tissues when the diet is rich in saturated fats. 
  • Saturated 18-carbon stearic acid and 16-carbon palmitic acid are the preferred foods for the heart, which is why the fat around the heart muscle is highly saturated. The heart draws on this reserve of fat in times of stress and emotional upheaval.
  • Short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids have important antimicrobial and antifungal properties. They protect us against harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract and yeast overgrowth in the form of candida.



The brain tissue is primarily comprised of water and fatty acids, therefore, the brain needs a clean source of water and natural fats to nourish it and protect it from free radical damage, inflammation and oxidative stress. 



Saturated Fats:  Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil, Grass-fed meats. 

Alkaline Fats:  Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Avocados, Almonds

Omega 3 Fats:  High quality Fish Oil (Nordic naturals Omega 3), Krill Oil, Grass-Fed Meats, Wild Fish, Flax Oil, & Walnuts. 

GLA:  Gamma-Linoleic Acid in Borage Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, & Blackcurrant, & Hemp Oil.


MEAT: For over 60 years red meat has been unfairly vilified for its heart clogging saturated fat and cholesterol content. Poultry products have been historically marketed as a superior source of animal protein due to their low-fat content. New understandings of health and inflammation now reveal that grass-fed beef is significantly more nutrient dense than poultry. 


The more grass an animal eats the greater their omega 3 content and the lower their omega 6 levels.  A 100% green-fed diet, which is genetically congruent for a cow would provide an omega 6:3 ratio of 2:1.  This is ideal for the animal’s long-term health and is highly anti-inflammatory for human consumption.  The omega-3 fatty acids present in this meat are primarily the all-important long-chain variety EPA & DHA.   

Grass-fed mammals contain high levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).  CLA is considered to be one of the most potent anti-carcinogenic nutrients.  Finnish researchers have found that the greater the amount of CLA in a woman’s diet, the lower her risk of breast cancer.  Women who consumed the largest amount of CLA had a 60% lower risk for breast cancer.    


Grass-fed mammals are also extremely rich in carnitine and carnosine.  Carnitine helps the cellular mitochondria drive energy efficiently from fat metabolism. Carnitine is the critical gate-keeper that allows fatty acids to pass into the mitochondrial furnace effectively. Carnosine is a powerful antioxidant that improves muscle, brain & cardiovascular function. It functions to reduce the effects of stress by protecting the proteins of the body, which aids in tissue healing and repair.  


Poultry has significantly less CLA, carnitine and carnosine than grass-fed beef.  Beef also contains a lot more branched chain amino acids.  This includes the crucial muscle building amino acid leucine.  Grass-fed beef has an enormous edge over free-range poultry when one compares the fatty acids, proteins, fat-soluble anti-oxidants and minerals such as zinc.



Saturated fat and cholesterol have been blamed for heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.  Research confirms that saturated fats and cholesterol are necessary for overall cellular health.  They play a critical role in regulating neurological, cognitive and hormone function.  A diet low in these important fats causes lowered immunity, sex hormone function, accelerated aging and brain cell degeneration.   


Zoe Harcombe an Obesity Researcher and author of The Obesity Epidemic claims that “natural foods and grass fed meats have a balanced spectrum of all the fats the body needs to have optimal health – to isolate saturated fats is irrational as nowhere in nature does it exist alone”. 

Our relationship with food is emotional at best and destructive at worst. Our belief that fat is unhealthy and makes us fat is subconsciously entrenched – misguiding the food choices we make for ourselves and our families. 



You have heard about Omega 6’s and Omega 3’s what are the differences and in what amounts do we need them? 

  Humans should naturally have an omega 6:3 ratio around 4:1.  When these ratios become out of balance, they trigger cellular inflammation and accelerated cellular degeneration – this may lead to increased visible signs of ageing, dry skin, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis.  


































An egg for breakfast, cooked in 100% ghee nutritionally outperforms porridge. 


A teaspoon of Olive Oil or Coconut Oil per day will nourish and regenerate skin with clever medium chain fatty acids 




























Our choice of fats and plant and seed oils is one of extreme nutritional importance. Most people, especially infants and growing children, benefit from more fat in the diet rather than less. But the fats we eat must be chosen with care – we need natural saturated fats and raw polyunsaturated fats. 


For optimal health consciously avoid all processed foods containing hydrogenated fats and polyunsaturated oils, these include all the foods we love to eat – breads, crisps, cakes, pastries, ice creams, sweets and confectionary. Instead, use traditional cold pressed vegetable oils like extra virgin olive oil and small amounts of unrefined flax seed oil. Enjoy using virgin coconut oil for baking and animal fats or ghee for occasional frying. Eat egg yolks and other animal fats for their high levels of proteins and essential enzymes. 


Finally, use as much good quality (raw ideally) butter as you like, with the happy assurance that it is a wholesome—indeed, an essential—food for you and your whole family. 


Real, raw butter is NOT bad for you, in fact, there are several little-known benefits of real butter, including:


  • It is one of the most easily absorbable sources of Vitamin A
  • It’s rich in important trace minerals, including chromium, manganese, copper, zinc, and selenium (a powerful antioxidant).
  • It contains cancer-preventing conjugated linoleic acids (CLA)
  • It is a good source of Vitamin K2, for teeth and bone health
  • Butter contains iodine, excellent for a healthy thyroid.
  • Rich in vitamins A and E
  • The saturated fats within have anti-tumor properties
  • Butter does not lead to weight gain as it is burned quickly for energy rather than stored
  • Butter is a good source of dietary cholesterol, and unlike you’ve been told, this cholesterol can help protect the body from damage by free radicals found in things like vegetable oils and trans fats. 



Man made trans fats found in margarine are added to all and processed foods to extend their shelf-life and make them taste edible –these include confectionary, milkshakes, breads, cakes, biscuits and pastries. They are all manufactured from chemically hardened, partially hydrogenated fats – these artificially ‘fattening’ compounds have been banned by Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, California and New York due to their detrimental effect on the body and brain and their links to free radical generation and degenerative disease. Margarine was designed to fatten geese and ducks before slaughter, to make them lay down fat cells in the shortest time to cut costs for farmers. Imagine what ingesting margarine will do for your waistline. 



Beneficial Fats for Body and Brain

  • Eat Seeds and Nuts – grind them for greater goodness.
  • Eat Oily Fish
  • Eat cold pressed oils – either by the spoon or add to cold dishes
  • Use Ghee, Raw butter or Pumpkin seed butter in place of any margarine
  • Cook with Ghee, pure butter, coconut and red palm oil (sustainably sourced)
  • Reduce your intake of fried food and processed food
  • Instead of Fish Oil supplements choose Starflower, Borage or Evening Primrose


 Juliette founded Bare Skin Beauty in 2008, with the aim of redefining the concept of beauty and empowering people to feel confident and radiant in their own skin. Natural beauty flows from inner health. Juliette seeks to enlighten others through her articles, that luminous skin and inner vitality begins with removing toxins from your life and consciously reconnecting with your body. She passionately believes that “we are what we absorb” and that her unique Skinfood skincare can nourish, balance and repair the whole body.

Where corporations clog, Bare Skin Beauty redresses the balance to our skin and the environment



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