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The Skinny on Fats Part II

Ask anyone. Saturated fats are bad. Don’t eat red meat or butter. They are rich in saturated fat which increases cholesterol and causes heart attacks and strokes…

This conventional wisdom has created a nation of people leading the world in incidences of heart disease, cancer, and obesity. Compare the typical American diet of 1900 to today. In 1900, dietary fats were primarily saturated or monounsaturated coming from butter, lard (fat from hog), tallow (fat from cattle and sheep), coconut oil and olive oil. There was no need to designate food “organic” because it all was organic. Today, most of the fats in the diet are polyunsaturated coming from the vegetable oils of soy, corn, safflower and canola. If you want foods that have been naturally grown and harvested without the use of chemicals, you have to pay a premium for “organic”.

The modern diet in total caloric intake contains approximately 30% polyunsaturated fat coming from vegetable oils with a ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 at about 20 to 1. Scientific research indicates this number should be approximately 4%, in about a 1 to 1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids coming from legumes, nuts, grains, green vegetables, fish, olive oil and animal fats…NOT vegetable oils. So the problem is not only the amount, but the source as well. Polyunsaturates tend to become oxidized or rancid when subjected to heat, oxygen or moisture when being cooked or processed. These oxidized, rancid fats are characterized by highly reactive free radicals which attack cell membranes and red blood cells causing damage to DNA and RNA leading to mutations in tissues and organs, blood vessels and skin. This free radical damage causes wrinkles in the skin and premature aging, sets the stage for tumor growth in tissues and organs, and starts the build-up of plaque in the blood vessels. Recent evidence has shown free radicals to be linked to autoimmune diseases, arthritis, cataracts and Alzheimer ’s disease. Further, this rancid vegetable oil situation is exacerbated by the extreme excess of omega-6’s which causes interference in the production of prostaglandins resulting in the tendency to form blood clots and inflammation, high blood pressure, irritation of the digestive tract, depressed immune function, sterility, cancer and weight gain. Not a good scene at all.

Conversely, the satanically represented saturated fats that Americans effort fully avoid are in fact essential to health. They are NOT the cause of our modern diseases. In fact, the LACK of them has contributed to those very diseases we are told they cause.

Consider these human physiology facts:

  1. Saturated fats make up at least 50% of all cell membranes giving them the necessary stiffness and integrity to maintain proper cell function.

  2. For calcium to be effectively incorporated into bone, at least 50% of dietary fats should be saturated.

  3. Saturated fats protect the liver from alcohol and other toxins, such as Tylenol.

  4. Saturated fats enhance the immune system.

  5. They protect against harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract.

  6. They are needed for the proper utilization of EFA’s and tissue retention of omega-3’s is enhanced by a diet rich in saturated fats.

  7. Fat around the heart muscle is highly saturated and the heart draws on this reserve of fat in times of stress.

The scientific research does not support the assertion that saturated fat clogs arteries. Actually, analysis of the fat in clogged arteries is more than 75% unsaturated and 50% of that is polyunsaturated! In Part III of The Skinny on Fats, the truth about cholesterol will be discussed. Please follow-up and read about this important and shamefully misrepresented subject.

-Dr. Janice Piro

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