Lipids - Mental Health Awareness

Paper two, the fat in food, industrial and home adulteration.The brain is 60% fat and it is so important to have the right fats at the right balance.

Mental Health Awareness – Lipids

As already mentioned in paper one it has now been admitted that saturated fat is not harmful for us, ending several generations of mythology and misinformation. It was this myth, coupled with the idea that low fat was the way to go which resulted in high carbohydrates and high sugar diets, leaving them the root cause of many health issues! It was of course the lipid (fat) side of the equation that is implicated in a decline of brain function and mental health problems.


Unfortunately this myth still persists and it is easy to see evidence by looking in stores which have shelves full of man made spreads, margarines and even worse, people buying them. Margarine was the first man made adulteration of fats and was responsible for the idea that spread (no pun intended) through the American medical world that it was healthier than butter. Margarine was made using hydrogenation and produced a trans-fat that worsened the health of millions. Modern day spreads are still oils, liquid at room temperature that are then turned into a solid! Why would you even want to do this?
All oil is much more delicate than saturated fat, so must be treated with care. The safest thing to do is never heat oil; this degrades its properties and makes it unable to be properly processed in the body. Always do what your mother or grandmother did. Cook in lard or dripping, butter, ghee or coconut oil if you’re vegetarian. I am afraid that the idea that olive oil is healthier than saturated fat is another myth and if used at high temperatures is really bad. Olive oil mainly contains Omega 9 which can be made in the body, so is not that important. This is not to say that you should stop using olive oil, just do not fry or roast with it. Other popular oils often used for roasting or frying are sunflower and rapeseed oil. Here, I criticise some of my fellow farmers who sell rapeseed oil, saying it is safe to use for roasting or frying, it is not! So, in the home you can make changes that in the long term will contribute to better mental health and as a side effect many other health issues will improve. In the commercial world more pressure will be needed to prevent oil being used at high temperature and we know abuse of oil persists and is even promoted as a selling point by MacDonald’s, who proudly say all of their old oil goes into their lorries.

Probably the most high profile abuse of oil is in fish and chip shops; vegetable oil is heated for long periods and in some cases it’s palm oil. Therefore not only do you do yourself harm but you are also contributing to the death of orang-utans and the destruction of their habitat. These shops must use beef dripping, like in the old days. This would be easy for us to change, just stop buying fish and chips for a short time and the shops would soon ask why? When they know they are doing the wrong thing, change will come about quickly. You have the power to do this! Fish and chips are not packaged and labelled but many other foods both processed and unprocessed do have labels. It is these labels that do not spell out how oils have been used to make the product, i.e. have they been heated, but more importantly what is the balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6 you are consuming. Without this information it is clear that food labels lead to mental health problems…the evidence is all around us. Pressure must be brought to bear on the authorities to make changes to the system and we must use every opportunity to do this.

Paper 3 will look at just how early we have to think about the food we eat.

A message from Durwin Banks your heart centred farmer

Durwin Banks

Durwin Banks
The Linseed Farm

Lipids - Mental Health Awareness