Eating Healthy Does Not Mean Low Fat
Eating healthy means low fat, right? You may be surprised to learn that actually, a low fat diet is not at all healthy.
If we look back fifty years ago, a healthy diet included real food, not low fat, processed junk food. And unfortunately, this change in the definition of what it means to eat healthy has resulted in a health crisis in America and around the world.
Before the 1900s, Americans got about 50% of their calories from natural fats in the form of:
Despite the consumption of these saturated animal and tropical fats, heart disease was unheard of then.
Crisco vegetable shortening, which was originally made from hydrogenated cottonseed oil, became available in 1911. During the same time period, the consumption of natural saturated fats such as lard and coconut oil DECREASED. And in 1912, the first reported case of coronary heart disease was reported.
Then in the 1960s, the idea that eating foods which contain saturated fat and cholesterol caused heart disease was proposed. Within a few years, eating healthy became synonymous with eating a low fat, high carb diet.
For various reasons, including the influence of several influential senators, the "eating healthy means low fat" idea caught hold in the media, and even though there was no scientific evidence, most everyone came to believe that eating saturated fat and cholesterol caused heart disease. (See Gary Taubes' article The Soft Science of Dietary Fat for more information.)
Saturated Fat is Not DangerousThe mainstream theory on saturated fat is that saturated fat is full of cholesterol, and cholesterol is supposed to cause coronary heart disease (CHD). But this meta analysis shows this theory has no basis in fact.
In addition, this article discusses the scientific evidence supporting the benefits of a higher intake of saturated fat within the context of a low carb diet. In summary, the LOWER the levels of saturated fat consumed, the lower the levels of saturated fat (triglycerides) in the blood, assuming that carbohydrate intake is low. A high carbohydrate diet will increase triglycerides rapidly.
If saturated fat and cholesterol were the killers the mainstream medical establishment would have you believe, then Americans should have been dying from heart disease before 1912.
In addition, the entire populations of France, Spain and the East African Masai tribe should be dying off any time now from heart disease. These groups eat large amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol, but have very low rates of heart disease.
The Alaskan Inuit, who eat fat almost exclusively year round, have extremely low rates of disease also. Indeed, the whole human race, which has been consuming saturated fats for thousands of years, should be extinct.
But in fact, in those populations of people who eat a high fat, high nutrient, natural and traditional diet, disease does not exist.
Processed, Low Fat Foods are Deadly
Only when a population begins consuming a processed, high carbohydrate, low fat or manmade fat diet do the rates of disease skyrocket. Sadly, this highly refined, low fat diet is exactly the type of diet that modern medicine and the American government insist that you eat.
Weston A. Price, a dentist in the 1930s traveled the world studying populations who ate traditional diets. He looked at groups living in remote villages in the Swiss Alps, the Maori in New Zealand, the East African Masai, the Alaskan Eskimos, Irish Gaelics, North and South American Indians and the Australian aborigines. Even though the diets of the groups were very different, they all included some form of saturated animal fat, and relied on a variety of foods which were high in nutrients.
He found these people to be extremely healthy, with no teeth decay or disease as long as they continued to consume their traditional diet.
It was only when these people were exposed to industrialized refined foods and a diet high in refined carbohydrates and modern vegetable oils, that they developed serious health problems. In those groups eating the refined diet, tuberculosis and tooth decay was rampant. In addition, the effects multiplied over time. The children of these modern diet eaters were born sickly with bone deformations and other health problems.
Dr. Price wrote a book about his findings, in which he included compelling pictures of the transformations in health caused by a diet of refined foods. The book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration is in print today, and is the basis for the work of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
So remember, eating healthy does NOT mean eating a low fat, high carb diet. It means eating whole, real foods such as butter, eggs, meat, vegetables and whole fat dairy products.