Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Retrospective #42: “Unsafe Fats”

While surfing the net one day in 2012, an ad for “Beyond Diet” had a clickbait banner that read, “5 Foods to NEVER Eat.” It worked. I clicked to see if they were dead wrong. They were not! To my surprise, they had it right; they were selling the same message that I espouse at thenutritiondebate.com: Avoid sugar in all forms and all processed and refined “foods” that are sold in boxes and bags; and avoid gluten grains and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), the seed oils that are easily oxidized and damaged, especially when used over and over in deep fat fryers. All the PUFAs, aka “vegetable” oils, are “unsafe”: corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower, safflower, peanut and Canola oil.
Instead, eat “real food,” whole foods, including meat and eggs, animal products which contain fats naturally found in nature. “Beyond Diet” did have the “right” message. It was refreshing news in the 2012 wilderness that I recall.
The most universally considered “safe” fat is olive oil, a monounsaturated fat. Another mostly monounsaturated fat is avocado oil, which I now use to make my own mayonnaise. Store bought mayo is made with soybean oil, and most brands have added sugar. Beware of the use of the words “made with olive oil” on a mayo label. Olive oil is just a minor ingredient, and the product is so adulterated it can’t even be called “mayonnaise.” It’s a “spread.”
 The avocado fruit, which I occasionally have for lunch, is high in monounsaturated fats. I eat it with my homemade vinaigrette dressing in the pit cavity and real crumbled bacon pieces (Hormel) added on top for a little protein.
Most animal products are combinations of protein and fat. Some are surprisingly high in monounsaturated fats (pork e.g. 44%). The saturated fat gives it the flavor we like. I prefer fatty meats, poultry and fish, especially the fatty cuts: bone-in cuts, mutton and lamb chops, and baby-back ribs rubbed and roasted. I also eat salmon and tuna and dark meat chicken - skin on. Did you know that chicken skin is mostly unsaturated fat?
I learned this from the doyenne of lipid biochemistry (dietary fats), Mary Enig, PhD (now deceased).  Beginning in 1978, after reading the 1977 McGovern Commission report, she fought tirelessly to have trans fats acknowledged as unhealthy. I credit her with the victory in the FDA’s 2003 edict requiring trans fats to be listed separately on the Nutrition Facts Panel on processed foods. It’s working. Blood levels of trans fats declined 58% between 2000 and 2009, according to a CDC research letter published in JAMA and reported in the February 8, 2012, New York Times.
You can read Dr. Enig’s story in “The Oiling of America.” Other good reads with co-author Sally Fallon, President and Founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), are “The Skinny on Fats” and “The Truth About Saturated Fats.” In addition, WAPF has published, “Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.” These resources explain why polyunsaturated fats (vegetable oils) are unsafe.
The Weston A. Price Foundation website itself is a major resource declaiming “industrial foods” and advocating for nutrient dense whole foods. These foods contain the critical fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2 which are found exclusively in animal fats of grass-fed animals, organ meats and seafood. Foods such as butter, egg yolks, whole raw milk, full fat cheese and liver are the basis of good health, WAPF says. WAPF membership, which includes a quarterly newsletter and an annual buyer’s guide, is only $40 ($25 for seniors). I highly recommend it.
Whatever happened to beef tallow and lard? Butter is one of the very best foods, yet we forsook it for trans-fat laden margarine. Whole eggs are a nearly perfect food, yet, when we have eggs, we use Egg Beaters or All Whites.
Enough kvetching. Earlier in this Retrospective series, I posted a 4-part series on dietary fats: #20: “Know Your Dietary Fats,” #21: “The Dangers of Polyunsaturated Fats,” #22: “Omega 6s and Omega 3s,” and #23: “The benefits of Saturated Fats.”  Scroll down (on the website) to see them. On Facebook, click on my name to get to my “homepage” and search there.
I checked the Beyond Diet website again today (March 2019), and they’re still there, claiming over a million subscribers. They’re selling a service, of course, but they’ve got the right message. I’m glad they’ve succeeded.

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