Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Nutrition Debate #270: “The Skinny on Fats”

Long before I started writing this column – but years after I discovered the Low-Carb, High-Fat (LCHF) Way of Eating (WOE) – I discovered an article called “The Skinny on Fats” and saved the link as a “favorite.” My link still works, as do links to other articles, “The Oiling of America” and “The Truth About Saturated Fat,” by the same authors.  The authors are Sally Fallon Morell and Mary G. Enig, PhD. Sally is the founding president of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Mary, co-founder and vice president, died a few months ago. An appreciation by Kaayla Daniel, PhD, her successor, appears here.  The website is worth a look.

The article “The Skinny on Fats” so influenced me that I cleaned out our kitchen cupboards. This article is also the first chapter of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.” That cookbook has now sold upwards of half a million copies. Now, a new book, The Skinny on Fats, by David Brownstein, MD, and Sheryl Shenefelt, CN, has just been published. It was reviewed with a “thumbs up” by Sally Fallon Morell in the Fall 2014 edition (pg. 69) of Wise Traditions, the WAPF quarterly publication. Morell’s full book review is reproduced below:

The subject of fats and oils is complicated and fraught with misconceptions – so much so that explaining the myths and truths about fat can be long and complicated. People’s eyes glaze over when you try to explain it all, even though information on fats and oils can be life changing and life saving. Brownstein and Shenefelt have solved these hurdles with this very well put together book on fats and oils.

The authors start with a summary of surprising facts about fats:

1.       We need fat in our diet to live!

2.       Fat does not make us fat!

3.       A low fat diet is not healthy!

4.       Fat performs many essential functions in our bodies!

5.       Some dietary fats are better than others!

6.       Saturated fat is not the enemy!

7.       Saturated fat and cholesterol do not cause heart disease!

8.       Dietary fat is not the culprit of disease!

9.       Canola oil and other refined vegetable oils are not healthy for you!

10.   Low-cholesterol food does not do your body good!

Even if readers go no further than this short introductory section, they will be much wiser than before. But for those who want more information, there follows chapters that detail the structure of fats, the different types of fats and oils, the role of cholesterol in the body and problems with low fat diets. Particularly interesting are discussions on your brain’s absolute dependence on fat and how eating fat can assist with weight loss. The authors point out that getting enough fat affects mood and behavior, cognitive function, mental acuity, focus and clarity. Low fat diets can lead to depression, reduced mental capacity and behavior problems. Cholesterol is concentrated in the myelin sheath so attempts to reduce cholesterol can lead to serious degenerative disorders of the nervous system, including multiple sclerosis and dementia.

Brownstein and Shenefelt devote a whole chapter to the subject of fats and children – for it is our children who are paying the greatest price for the anti-saturated fat, anti-cholesterol folly. Children’s brains need lots of fat and cholesterol for proper development. Children need butter, eggs, cream, cheese and meat fats, not margarine, spreads and low fat products.

The book ends with a nice collection of recipes dripping with butter, cream and cheese. Thumbs up.”

The message here, and in The Nutrition Debate #269, (just below) and in #20, “Know Your Dietary Fats,” and is #23, “The Benefits of Saturated Fats,” is that saturated fats are not only good but necessary fats. The fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K, require fat to absorb optimally. Message Two is that the refined vegetable oils, which are manufactured from primarily polyunsaturated fats, are bad for you; Read #21, “The Dangers of Polyunsaturated Fats.” But if you read nothing else, please read the Enig and Fallon article, “The Skinny on Fats.” If you take it to heart, as Morell says, it will be life changing and potentially life saving.
N.B.: A Senior Membership in the Weston A. Price Foundation is just $25 (Regular Membership $40). It’s a good thing.

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