Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Studies on Saturated Fat

There is so much mis-information out there on the subject of Saturated Fat and its relationship to poor health. When did the most natural fat on earth become the most dangerous in the last 100 years? Now reading this, do you all realize that we've been on this planet for quite a few more years than just 100? Think about it logically if you will. Michael Pollan of The Omnivores dilmena said in Food Inc. "The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000". I often reflect on my childhood and try to count the amount of people I knew with thyroid disruption, gall bladder removal, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and the on slaught of auto-immune diseases out there. None of my grandparents took medications for cholesterol, in fact, I don't remember ever even discussing cholesterol as my Grandfather sat down to his bacon and german pancake breakfast! He lived well into his 90's by the way in quite excellent health. Fortunately, they did not discover spray butter until they were senior citizens.

So, getting back to fat....that macro-nutrient that apparently kills. Saturated fat has saved my life in so many ways. Focus, weight loss, improved blood work, satiety and so much more. I did my stint with McDougal, for a few weeks or so......until I felt the extreme hunger and the thought of gnawing my own arm off at several points sounded appetizing! Take fat away from a girl who has ADHD and absolutely no focus and you have a true recipe for disaster. I'm quite sure my neurotransmittors just became confused!

When advising my clients to increase their fat rather than reduce it, they are quite surprised. Now, we're not just talking any kind of fat, I"m talking about saturated fats from clean, animal proteins fed a species appropriate diet, raw butter and dairy, coconut and palm oils. These are the nurturing fats that will benefit you in the ways below:

You might see this repeated throughout my blog.......while it may seem redundant, redundancy I find assists the memory (as does coconut oil by the way)

Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50 percent of your cell membranes. They are what gives your cells necessary stiffness and integrity.

They play a vital role in the health of your bones. For calcium to be effectively incorporated into your skeletal structure, at least 50 percent of your dietary fats should be saturated.

They lower Lp(a), a substance in your blood that indicates proneness to heart disease.

They protect your liver from alcohol and other toxins, such as Tylenol and other drugs.

They enhance your immune system.

They are needed for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids. Elongated omega-3 fats are better retained in your tissues when your diet is rich in saturated fats.

Saturated 18-carbon stearic acid and 16-carbon palmitic acid are the preferred foods for your heart, which is why the fat around your heart muscle is highly saturated. Your heart draws on this reserve of fat in times of stress.

Short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids have important antimicrobial properties. They protect you against harmful microorganisms in your digestive tract.

Following is some great information on studies. Don't just believe me, check out the studies below!

A survey of 1700 patients with hardening of the arteries, conducted by the famous heart surgeon Michael DeBakey, found no relationship between the level of cholesterol in the blood and the incidence of atherosclerosis.

A survey of South Carolina adults found no correlation of blood cholesterol levels with "bad" dietary habits, such as use of red meat, animal fats, fried foods, butter, eggs, whole milk, bacon, sausage and cheese. A Medical Research Council survey showed that men eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those using margarine.

Mother's milk provides a higher proportion of cholesterol than almost any other food. It also contains over 50% of its calories as fat, much of it saturated fat. Both cholesterol and saturated fat are essential for growth in babies and children, especially the development of the brain. Yet, the American Heart Association is now recommending a low-cholesterol, lowfat diet for children! Commercial formulas are low in saturated fats and soy formulas are devoid of cholesterol. A recent study linked lowfat diets with failure to thrive in children.

Numerous surveys of traditional populations have yielded information that is an embarrassment to the Diet Dictocrats. For example, a study comparing Jews when they lived in Yemen, whose diets contained fats solely of animal origin, to Yemenite Jews living in Israel, whose diets contained margarine and vegetable oils, revealed little heart disease or diabetes in the former group but high levels of both diseases in the latter. (The study also noted that the Yemenite Jews consumed no sugar but those in Israel consumed sugar in amounts equaling 25-30% of total carbohydrate intake.)

A comparison of populations in northern and southern India revealed a similar pattern. People in northern India consume 17 times more animal fat but have an incidence of coronary heart disease seven times lower than people in southern India.

The Masai and kindred tribes of Africa subsist largely on milk, blood and beef. They are free from coronary heart disease and have excellent blood cholesterol levels.

Eskimos eat liberally of animal fats from fish and marine animals. On their native diet they are free of disease and exceptionally hardy.

An extensive study of diet and disease patterns in China found that the region in which the populace consumes large amounts of whole milk had half the rate of heart disease as several districts in which only small amounts of animal products are consumed.

Several Mediterranean societies have low rates of heart disease even though fat-including highly saturated fat from lamb, sausage and goat cheese-comprises up to 70% of their caloric intake. The inhabitants of Crete, for example, are remarkable for their good health and longevity.


A study of Puerto Ricans revealed that, although they consume large amounts of animal fat, they have a very low incidence of colon and breast cancer.

A study of the long-lived inhabitants of Soviet Georgia revealed that those who eat the most fatty meat live the longest.

In Okinawa, where the average life span for women is 84 years-longer than in Japan-the inhabitants eat generous amounts of pork and seafood and do all their cooking in lard.

None of these studies is mentioned by those urging restriction of saturated fats.
The relative good health of the Japanese, who have the longest life span of any nation in the world, is generally attributed to a lowfat diet. Although the Japanese eat few dairy fats, the notion that their diet is low in fat is a myth; rather, it contains moderate amounts of animal fats from eggs, pork, chicken, beef, seafood and organ meats. With their fondness for shellfish and fish broth, eaten on a daily basis, the Japanese probably consume more cholesterol than most Americans. (Interestingly enough, Japanese men smoke heavily)


What they do not consume is a lot of vegetable oil, white flour or processed food (although they do eat white rice.) The life span of the Japanese has increased since World War II with an increase in animal fat and protein in the diet.

Those who point to Japanese statistics to promote the lowfat diet fail to mention that the Swiss live almost as long on one of the fattiest diets in the world. Tied for third in the longevity stakes are Austria and Greece-both with high-fat diets.

As a final example, let us consider the French. Anyone who has eaten his way across France has observed that the French diet is just loaded with saturated fats in the form of butter, eggs, cheese, cream, liver, meats and rich pat├ęs. Yet the French have a lower rate of coronary heart disease than many other western countries.

In the United States, 315 of every 100,000 middle-aged men die of heart attacks each year; in France the rate is 145 per 100,000. In the Gascony region, where goose and duck liver form a staple of the diet, this rate is a remarkably low 80 per 100,000.

This phenomenon has recently gained international attention as the French Paradox. (The French do suffer from many degenerative diseases, however. They eat large amounts of sugar and white flour and in recent years have succumbed to the timesaving temptations of processed foods.)

A chorus of establishment voices, including the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and the Senate Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, claims that animal fat is linked not only with heart disease but also with cancers of various types. Yet when researchers from the University of Maryland analyzed the data they used to make such claims, they found that vegetable fat consumption was correlated with cancer and animal fat was not.

So, what does the above tell us? In my opinion, I believe we need more studies. We need to see a study of peoples currently practicing that of more traditional diets and monitor their health through that of blood work for a 10 or more year period. I once watched a great interview with Mary Enig, Phd., when asked why she or anyone else hasn't conducted such a study? Her words "No special interest groups in the field of health and natural food" Yes, it's SAD and when I say SAD, I mean that's our Standard American Diet.

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