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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Saturated Fat Again...

I’ve been on the lookout for an organization with whom I could volunteer some time and perhaps make a little difference in the world.  A friend sent me some info about a group locally that is teaching “Better lifestyle habits” to kids.  Since I support that concept I asked for information from the group coordinator.  In the material she sent me was a sample lesson plan, and among it was a unit about how low fat milk or skim milk was the way to go.

Even though there is oodles of research that debunks the "fat is bad" theory, it is persistent and ubiquitous among the “experts” especially those with a formal education in nutrition (registered dieticians) where they’ve been pushing this nonsense for decades!  (And how’s that working for you, America?)

So I thought I’d hit it once again from the perspective of the ‘minority report’—the information that’s not subsidized by special interests or pharmaceutical companies.

Humans developed in bands of family groups living on animal products plus the few fruits, berries, leaves, nuts and roots they could find.  The biology of those ancestors (10,000 years ago or beyond) was EXACTLY the same as our biology.  We are not designed for vegetable oils, grains, tofu and the convenience of fast food or packaged meals.  Those are constructs of profit driven industries looking for the cheapest and most addicting way to separate you from your money.

Grains are a subject for another day and another post.  Fat—especially animal fat—is my subject today.

Our ancestors not only ate all the animal fat they could get (admittedly, antelope or mastodons probably had little extraneous fat) but they also ate every edible part of whatever animals they hunted.  That would include bone marrow, liver, other organ meats including the fatty brain.  That’s our heritage.  If it were bad for survival, we wouldn’t be here; homo sapiens would have died out or been out-competed by some other species.

So with the profit motive in place, we were sold a bill of goods about 40 or 50 years ago.  Saturated fat is bad, substitute vegetable oil and eat a low fat diet.

An America got fatter and sicker.

Animal fats are good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids.  Vegetable oils are mostly Omega 6 fatty acids.  You need both but in a balance to each other because they mediate the balance of inflammation.  Enough inflammation to protect you from bacterial invaders, to clot your blood when injured, to manage anxiety so you’re alert but not paranoid, to constrict blood vessels when needed.  But too much inflammation and those actions (in hyperdrive) cause disease (yes all disease starts with too much inflammation).  See my e-book, “Inflammation Run Amok” for lots more info.

As long as omega 3 and omega 6 oils are about even, your body produces the right chemical messengers for just the right inflammation.  Drop Omega 3 fatty acid sources (animal fats) for Omega 6 fatty acids (vegetable fats) and inflammation quickly get out of hand.

There’s more to this inflammatory story, of course.  High blood sugar and high insulin are also inflammatory.  So are allergens.  So are smoking and environmental toxins.  But the body can handle some assault—it was designed that way.  What it can’t handle is low animal fat and high vegetable oils over years, along with the other assaults. 

By the way, vegetable oils are hidden in most of the restaurant and prepared and packaged foods you may be buying.  Read labels.  Decrease Omega 6 oils and increase animal fats.  Yes, butter, whole milk (if you drink milk) beef, pork, lamb and fish.  Of the animal products readily available in your grocery, chicken is very high in Omega 6.  Less chicken, more beef.

Right, beef fattened with corn is not my preference—grass fed, not factory farmed beef—would be first choice.  But factory farmed beef beats vegetable fats and grains—hands down!
Need some experts’ information?  Here’s a bit: 

In 2001, Dr. Hu, writing in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, noted, "It is now increasingly recognized that the low-fat campaign has been based on little scientific evidence and may have caused unintended health problems." [duh] Or, as Michael Pollan pithily puts it in his In Defense of Food, "The amount of saturated fat in the diet may have little if any bearing on the risk of heart disease, and the evidence that increasing polyunsaturated fats [vegetable sources] in the diet will reduce risk is slim to nil."

See for answers to health questions and e-books for real health!

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