Got Fat?

There is still a great deal of misinformation about fat in the media and even amongst doctors about how much fat one should consume in your diet. The low-fat dictum has been around for a long time and it’s time to put an end to it.  To put it simply, cholesterol and dietary animal fat do not cause heart disease.  Nor does consuming fat make you fat. The main culprit in  both cases is sugar, and also the consumption of polyunsaturated and hydrogenated vegetable oils.  Before 1920 coronary heart disease was virtually unknown in America. By 1960 it had become the leading cause of death among Americans, despite the fact that the proportion of animal fat in the diet had declined from 83 percent to 62 percent and butter consumption declined from 18 pounds per person per year to four. At the turn of the century, most of the fats in the diet were from butter, lard, tallow, coconut oil and some olive oil. Today most of the fats in the diet are polyunsaturated from vegetable oils derived mostly from genetically modified corn and soy. Evaluation of fat in artery clogs reveal that only 26 percent in saturated.  The rest is unsaturated, of which more than half is polyunsaturated. (Felton, CV et al, The Lancet 1994, 344:1195).  It’s true that elevated triglycerides in the blood have been linked to heart disease, but these triglycerides do not come directly from dietary fats; they are made in the liver from excess sugars that have not been used for energy. The source of these sugars in the American diet is primarily refined white sugar and white flour. If you want to lose weight and have a healthy heart- lose the sugar, not the fat.

GOOD FATS

1. Butter- yes, butter is good for you, but it must be organic, free from the hormones that is injected into dairy cows to make them produce more milk.

2. Lard- same as above

3. Olive Oil

4. Nut oils such as peanut, walnut, hazelnut.

5. Sesame seed oil

6. Coconut oil- but be careful as coconut oil goes rancid very easily.

Throw all vegetable oils, margarines and canola oils OUT, they have no place in the human diet. Also, anything that says low-fat on it should generally be avoided. I’d like to add a special note about low fat and skim milk.  The fat in milk is there for a reason- it supplies much needed nutrition to the calves that it is meant for. In  1% and 2% milk, non-fat dried milk solids are added back in to the product. Unlike the cholesterol in fresh milk, which plays a variety of health promoting roles, the cholesterol in non-fat dried milk is oxidized, and it is this rancid cholesterol that promotes heart disease. In a recent study of more than 12,000 children who drank milk over a twelve month period the results showed the more milk a child drank the faster they gained weight, despite the fact that most of the children were drinking low fat milk  (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159:543-550).  My personal opinion is that cow’s milk is great for baby cows, not humans.  If you must drink it, drink it as close to the natural source as possible- this means WHOLE milk, preferably unpasteurized if possible.

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