FROM NEXUS MAGAZINE
The OILING of AMERICA
Part 2 of 2
Modern-day diets high in hydrogenated vegetable oils instead of traditional animal fats are implicated in causing a significant increase in heart disease and cancer.
Early in 1985, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) heard more testimony on the trans fat issue. Enig alone represented the alarmist point of view, while Hunter and Applewhite of the ISEO and Ronald Simpson, then with the National Association of Margarine Manufacturers, assured the panel that trans fats in the food supply posed no danger. Enig reported on University of Maryland research that delineated the differences in small amounts of naturally occurring trans fats in butter, which do not inhibit enzyme function at the cellular level, and man-made trans fats in margarines and vegetable shortenings, which do. She also noted a 1981 feeding trial in which swine fed trans fatty acids developed higher parameters for heart disease than those fed saturated fats, especially when trans fatty acids were combined with added polyunsaturates.24 Her testimony was omitted from the final report, although her name in the bibliography created the impression that her research supported the FASEB whitewash.25
Excess consumption of vegetable oils is especially damaging to the reproductive organs and the lungs - both of which are sites for huge increases in cancer in Americans. In test animals, diets high in polyunsaturates from vegetable oils inhibit the ability to learn, especially under conditions of stress; they are toxic to the liver; they compromise the integrity of the immune system; they depress the mental and physical growth of infants; they increase levels of uric acid in the blood; they cause abnormal fatty acid profiles in the adipose tissues; they have been linked to mental decline and chromosomal damage; and they accelerate ageing.
Excess consumption of polyunsaturates is associated with increasing rates of cancer, heart disease and weight gain. The excessive use of commercial vegetable oils interferes with the production of prostaglandins, leading to an array of complaints ranging from autoimmune disease to premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Disruption of prostaglandin production leads to an increased tendency to form blood clots, and hence to myocardial infarction - which has reached epidemic levels in the US.41
Vegetable oils are more toxic when heated. One study reported that polyunsaturates turn to varnish in the intestines. A study by a plastic surgeon found that women who consumed mostly vegetable oils had far more wrinkles than those who used traditional animal fats. A 1994 study published in the Lancet showed that almost three-quarters of the fat in artery clogs is unsaturated. The 'artery-clogging' fats are not animal fats but vegetable oils.42
Foods containing trans fat sell because the American public is afraid of the alternative: saturated fats found in tallow, lard, butter, palm oil and coconut oil - fats traditionally used for frying and baking. Yet the scientific literature delineates a number of vital roles for dietary saturated fats: they enhance the immune system,54 are necessary for healthy bones,55 provide energy and structural integrity to the cells,56 protect the liver,57 and enhance the body's use of essential fatty acids.58 Stearic acid, found in beef tallow and butter, has cholesterol-lowering properties and is a preferred food for the heart.59 As saturated fats are stable, they do not become rancid easily, they do not call upon the body's reserves of antioxidants, they do not initiate cancer, and they do not irritate the artery walls.
Your body makes saturated fats, and your body makes cholesterol - about 2,000 mg per day. In general, cholesterol that the average American absorbs from food amounts to about 100 mg per day. So, in theory, even reducing animal foods to zero will result in only a five per cent decrease in the total amount of cholesterol available to the blood and tissues. In practice, such a diet is likely to deprive the body of the substrates it needs to manufacture enough of this vital substance.
Cholesterol, like saturated fats, stands unfairly accused. It acts as a precursor to vital corticosteroids (hormones that help us deal with stress and protect the body against heart disease and cancer) and to the sex hormones like androgen, testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone. It is a precursor to vitamin D, a very important fat-soluble vitamin needed for healthy bones and nervous system, proper growth, mineral metabolism, muscle tone, insulin production, reproduction and immune system function. And it is the precursor to bile salts which are vital for digestion and assimilation of fats in the diet.
Recent research shows that cholesterol acts as an antioxidant.60 This is the likely explanation for the fact that cholesterol levels go up with age. As an antioxidant, cholesterol protects us against free-radical damage that leads to heart disease and cancer. Cholesterol is the body's repair substance, manufactured in large amounts when the arteries are irritated or weak. Blaming heart disease on high serum cholesterol levels is like blaming firemen, who have come to put out a fire, for starting the blaze.
Cholesterol is needed for proper function of serotonin receptors in the brain.61 Serotonin is the body's natural 'feel-good' chemical. This explains why low cholesterol levels have been linked to aggressive and violent behaviour, depression and suicidal tendencies. Mother's milk is particularly rich in cholesterol and contains a special enzyme that helps the baby utilise this nutrient. Babies and children need cholesterol-rich foods throughout their growing years to ensure proper development of the brain and nervous system. Dietary cholesterol plays an important role in maintaining the health of the intestinal wall,62 which is why low-cholesterol vegetarian diets can lead to leaky gut syndrome and other intestinal disorders.
Animal foods containing saturated fat and cholesterol provide vital nutrients necessary for growth, energy and protection from degenerative disease. Like sex, animal fats are necessary for reproduction. Humans are drawn to both by powerful instincts. Suppression of natural appetites leads to weird nocturnal habits, fantasies, fetishes, bingeing and splurging. Animal fats are nutritious and satisfying and they taste good.
If you would like to learn more about healthy fats and their health benefits, you may be interested in the following
The Coconut Oil Miracle
DVD: THE OILING OF AMERICA
Eat Fat Lose Fat
Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil
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