chorus of establishment voices, including the American Cancer Society,
the National Cancer Institute and the Senate Committee on Nutrition
and Human Needs, claims that animal fat is linked not only with heart
disease but also with cancers of various types. Yet when researchers
from the University of Maryland analyzed the data they used to make
such claims, they found that vegetable fat consumption was correlated
with cancer and animal fat was not.
Fats Are Not to Blame for Heart Disease and Cancer
something is wrong with the theories we read in the popular press that
are used to bolster sales of low fat concoctions and cholesterol-free
foods. The notion that saturated fats per se cause heart disease as
well as cancer is not only facile, it is just plain wrong. But it is
true that some fats are bad for us. In order to understand which ones,
we must know something about the chemistry of fats.
Chemistry of Fats
lipids-are a class of organic substances that are not soluble in
water. In simple terms, fatty acids are chains of carbon atoms with
hydrogen atoms filling the available bonds. Most fat in our bodies and
in the food we eat is in the form of triglycerides, that is, three
fatty-acid chains attached to a glycerol molecule. Elevated
triglycerides in the blood have been positively linked to proneness to
heart disease, but these triglycerides do not come directly from
dietary fats; they are made in the liver from any excess sugars that
have not been used for energy. The source of these excess sugars is
any food containing carbohydrates, particularly refined sugar and
Classification of Fatty Acids
acids are classified in the following way:
A fatty acid is saturated when all available carbon bonds are occupied
by a hydrogen atom. They are highly stable, because all the
carbon-atom linkages are filled-or saturated-with hydrogen. This means
that they do not normally go rancid, even when heated for cooking
purposes. They are straight in form and hence pack together easily, so
that they form a solid or semisolid fat at room temperature. Your body
makes saturated fatty acids from carbohydrates and they are found in
animal fats and tropical oils.
Monounsaturated fatty acids have one double bond in the form of two
carbon atoms double-bonded to each other and, therefore, lack two
hydrogen atoms. Your body makes monounsaturated fatty acids from
saturated fatty acids and uses them in a number of ways.
Monounsaturated fats have a kink or bend at the position of the double
bond so that they do not pack together as easily as saturated fats
and, therefore, tend to be liquid at room temperature. Like saturated
fats, they are relatively stable. They do not go rancid easily and
hence can be used in cooking. The monounsaturated fatty acid most
commonly found in our food is oleic acid, the main component of olive
oil as well as the oils from almonds, pecans, cashews, peanuts and
Polyunsaturated fatty acids have two or more pairs of double bonds
and, therefore, lack four or more hydrogen atoms. The two
polyunsaturated fatty acids found most frequently in our foods are
double unsaturated linoleic acid, with two double bonds-also called
omega-6; and triple unsaturated linolenic acid, with three double
bonds-also called omega-3. (The omega number indicates the position of
the first double bond.) Your body cannot make these fatty acids and
hence they are called " essential. " We must obtain our
essential fatty acids or EFA'S from the foods we eat.
polyunsaturated fatty acids have kinks or turns at the position of the
double bond and hence do not pack together easily. They are liquid
even when refrigerated. The unpaired electrons at the double bonds
makes these oils highly reactive. They go rancid easily, particularly
omega- 3 linolenic acid, and must be treated with care.
Polyunsaturated oils should never be heated or used in cooking. In
nature, the polyunsaturated fatty acids are usually found in the cis form,
which means that both hydrogen atoms at the double bond are on the
of Fats and Oils
fats and oils, whether of vegetable or animal origin, are some
combination of saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids and
polyunsaturated linoleic acid and linolenic acid. In general, animal
fats such as butter, lard and tallow contain about 40-60% saturated
fat and are solid at room temperature. Vegetable oils from northern
climates contain a preponderance of polyunsaturated fatty acids and
are liquid at room temperature. But vegetable oils from the tropics
are highly saturated. Coconut oil, for example, is 92% saturated.
These fats are liquid in the tropics but hard as butter in northern
climes. Vegetable oils are more saturated in hot climates because the
increased saturation helps maintain stiffness in plant leaves. Olive
oil with its preponderance of oleic acid is the product of a temperate
climate. It is liquid at warm temperatures but hardens when
Defined by Length
classify fatty acids not only according to their degree of saturation
but also by their length.
fatty acids have four to six carbon atoms. These fats are always
saturated. Four-carbon butyric acid is found mostly in butterfat from
cows, and six-carbon capric acid is found mostly in butterfat from
goats. These fatty acids have antimicrobial properties- that is, they
protect us from viruses, yeasts and pathogenic bacteria in the gut.
They do not need to be acted on by the bile salts but are directly
absorbed for quick energy. For this reason, they are less likely to
cause weight gain than olive oil or commercial vegetable oils.
Short-chain fatty acids also contribute to the health of the immune
fatty acids have eight to twelve carbon atoms and are found mostly in
butterfat and the tropical oils. Like the Short-chain fatty
acids, these fats have antimicrobial properties; are absorbed directly
for quick energy; and contribute to the health of the immune system.
fatty acids have from 14 to 18 carbon atoms and can be either
saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. Stearic acid is an
18-carbon saturated fatty acid found chiefly in beef and mutton
acid is an 18-carbon monounsaturated fat which is the chief component
of olive oil. Another monounsaturated fatty acid is the 16- carbon
palmitoleic acid which has strong antimicrobial properties. It is
found almost exclusively in animal fats. The two essential fatty acids
are also long chain, each 18 carbons in length. Another important
long-chain fatty acid is gamma-linolenic acid (OLA) which has 18
carbons and three double bonds. It is found in evening primrose,
borage and black currant oils. Your body makes OLA out of omega-6
linoleic acid and uses it in the production of substances called
prostaglandins, localized tissue hormones that regulate many processes
at the cellular level.
fatty acids have 20 to 24 carbon atoms. They tend to be highly
unsaturated, with four, five or six double bonds. Some people can make
these fatty acids from EFA's, but others, particularly those whose
ancestors ate a lot of fish, lack enzymes to produce them. These
"obligate carnivores" must obtain them from animal foods
such as organ meats, egg yolks, butter and fish oils. The most
important very-long-chain fatty acids are dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid
(DGLA) with 20 carbons and three double bonds; arachidonic acid (AA)
with 20 carbons and four double bonds; eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
with 20 carbons and five double bonds; and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
with 22 carbons and six double bonds. All of these except DHA are used
in the production of prostaglandins, localized tissue hormones that
direct many processes in the cells. In addition, AA and DHA play
important roles in the function of the nervous system.
vs. Polyunsaturated Oils
public has been fed a great deal of misinformation about the relative
virtues of saturated fats versus polyunsaturated oils. Politically
correct dietary gurus tell us that the polyunsaturated oils are good
for us and that the saturated fats cause cancer and heart disease. The
result is that fundamental changes have occurred in the Western diet.
At the turn of the century, most of the fatty acids in the diet were
either saturated or monounsaturated, primarily from butter, lard,
tallows, coconut oil and small amounts of olive oil. Today most of the
fats in the diet are polyunsaturated from vegetable oils derived
mostly from soy, as well as from corn, safflower and canola.
diets can contain as much as 30% of calories as polyunsaturated oils,
but scientific research indicates that this amount is far too high.
Intake of Polyunsaturates
best evidence indicates that our intake of polyunsaturates should not
be much greater than 4% of the caloric total, in approximate
proportions of I 1/2% omega-3 linolenic acid and 2 1/2% omega-6
linoleic acid. EFA consumption in this range is found in native
populations in temperate and tropical regions whose intake of
polyunsaturated oils comes from the small amounts found in legumes,
grains, nuts, green vegetables, fish, olive oil and animal fats but
not from commercial vegetable oils.
Associated with Excess Consumption of Polyunsaturates
consumption of polyunsaturated oils has been shown to contribute to a
large number of disease conditions including increased cancer and
heart disease; immune system dysfunction; damage to the liver,
reproductive organs and lungs; digestive disorders; depressed learning
ability; impaired growth; and weight gain. One reason the
polyunsaturates cause so many health problems is that they tend to
become oxidized or rancid when subjected to heat, oxygen and moisture
as in cooking and processing. Rancid oils are characterized by free
radicals-that is, single atoms or clusters with an unpaired electron
in an outer orbit. These compounds are extremely reactive chemically.
They have been characterized as "marauders" in the body for
they attack cell membranes and red blood cells and cause damage in
DNA/RNA strands, thus triggering mutations in tissue, blood vessels
and skin. Free radical damage to the skin causes wrinkles and
premature aging; free radical damage to the tissues and organs sets
the stage for tumors; free radical damage in the blood vessels
initiates the build up of plaque. Is it any wonder that tests and
studies have repeatedly shown a high correlation between cancer and
heart disease with the consumption of polyunsaturates.
evidence links exposure to free radicals with premature aging, with
autoimmune diseases such as arthritis and with Parkinson's disease,
Lou Gehrig's disease, Alzheimer's and cataracts.
associated with an excess of polyunsaturates are exacerbated by the
fact that most polyunsaturates in commercial vegetable oils are in the
form of double unsaturated omega-6 linoleic acid, with very little of
vital triple unsaturated omega-3 linolenic acid. Recent research has
revealed that too much omega-6 in the diet creates an imbalance that
can interfere with production of important prostaglandins. This
disruption can result in increased tendency to form blood clots,
inflammation, high blood pressure, irritation of the digestive tract,
depressed immune function, sterility, cell proliferation, cancer and
Deficiency of Linolenic Fatty Acid in the American Diet
number of researchers have argued that along with a surfeit of omega-6
fatty acids the American diet is deficient in the more unsaturated
omega-3 linolenic acid. This fatty acid is necessary for cell
oxidation, for metabolizing important sulphur-containing amino acids
and for maintaining proper balance in prostaglandin production.
Deficiencies have been associated with asthma, heart disease and
learning deficiencies. Most commercial vegetable oils contain very
little omega-3 linolenic acid and large amounts of the omega-6
linoleic acid. In addition, modern agricultural and industrial
practices have reduced the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in
commercially available vegetables, eggs, fish and meat. For example,
organic eggs from hens allowed to feed on insects and green plants can
contain omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the beneficial ratio of
approximately one-to-one; but commercial supermarket eggs can contain
as much as nineteen times more omega-6 than omega-3!
Fats Play Important Roles in Body Chemistry
much maligned saturated fats-which Americans are trying to avoid-are
not the cause of our modern diseases. In fact, they play many
important roles in the body chemistry:
Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50%
of the cell membranes.
They are what give our cells necessary
stiffness and integrity.
They play a vital role in the health of our
bones. For calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal
structure, at least 50% of the dietary fats should be saturated.
They lower Lp(a), a substance in the blood
that indicates proneness to heart disease.
They protect the liver from alcohol and other
toxins, such as Tylenol.
They enhance the immune system.
They are needed for the proper utilization of
essential fatty acids. Elongated omega-3 fatty acids are better
retained in the tissues when the diet is rich in saturated fats.
Saturated 18-carbon stearic acid and
16-carbon palmitic acid are the preferred foods for the heart, which
is why the fat around the heart muscle is highly saturated. The heart
draws on this reserve of fat in times of stress.
Short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids
have important antimicrobial properties. They protect us against
harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract.
The scientific evidence, honestly evaluated,
does not support the assertion that "artery-clogging"
saturated fats cause heart disease. Actually, evaluation of the fat in
artery clogs reveals that only about 26% is saturated. The rest is
unsaturated, of which more than half is polyunsaturated.
what about cholesterol? Here, too, the public has been misinformed.
Our blood vessels can become damaged in a number of ways-through
irritations caused by free radicals or viruses, or because they are
structurally weak--and when this happens, the body's natural healing
substance steps in to repair the damage. That substance is
cholesterol. Cholesterol is a high-molecular-weight alcohol that is
manufactured in the liver and in most human cells. Like saturated
fats, the cholesterol we make and consume plays many vital roles:
with saturated fats, cholesterol in the cell membrane gives our cells
necessary stiffness and stability. When the diet contains an excess of
polyunsaturated fatty acids, these replace saturated fatty acids in
the cell membrane, so that the cell walls actually become flabby. When
this happens, cholesterol from the blood is "driven" into
the tissues to give them structural integrity. This is why serum
cholesterol levels may go down temporarily when we replace saturated
fats with polyunsaturated oils in the diet.
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,
estrogen and progesterone.
Cholesterol 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.
The bile salts are made from cholesterol.
Bile is vital for digestion and assimilation of fats in the diet.
Recent research shows that cholesterol acts
as an antioxidant. 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
Cholesterol is needed for proper function of
serotonin receptors in the brain.
Serotonin is the body's natural "feel-good" chemical.
Low cholesterol levels have been linked to aggressive and violent
behavior, depression and suicidal tendencies.
Mother's milk is especially rich in
cholesterol and contains a special enzyme that helps the baby utilize
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. This is why
low-cholesterol vegetarian diets can lead to leaky gut syndrome and
other intestinal disorders.
is not the cause of heart disease but rather a potent antioxidant
weapon against free radicals in the blood, and a repair substance that
helps heal arterial damage (although the arterial plaques themselves
contain very little cholesterol.) However, like fats, cholesterol may
be damaged by exposure to heat and oxygen. This damaged or oxidized
cholesterol seems to promote both injury to the arterial cells as well
as a pathological build up of plaque in the arteries. Damaged
cholesterol is found in powdered eggs, in powdered milk (added to
reduced-fat milks to give them body) and in meats and fats that have
been heated to high temperatures in frying and other high-temperature
serum cholesterol levels often indicate that the body needs
cholesterol to protect itself from high levels of altered,
free-radical-containing fats. Just as a large police force is needed
in a locality where crime occurs frequently, so cholesterol is needed
in a poorly nourished body to protect the individual from a tendency
to heart disease and cancer. Blaming coronary heart disease on
cholesterol is like blaming the police for murder and theft in a high
thyroid function (hypothyroidism) will often result in high
cholesterol levels. When thyroid function is poor, usually due to a
diet high in sugar and low in usable iodine, fat-soluble vitamins and
other nutrients, the body floods the blood with cholesterol as an
adaptive and protective mechanism, providing a superabundance of
materials needed to heal tissues and produce protective steroids.
Hypothyroid individuals are particularly susceptible to infections,
heart disease and cancer.
True Cause of Heart Disease
cause of heart disease is not animal fats and cholesterol but rather a
number of factors inherent in modern diets, including excess
consumption of vegetables oils and hydrogenated fats; excess
consumption of refined carbohydrates in the form of sugar and white
flour; mineral deficiencies, particularly low levels of protective
magnesium and iodine; deficiencies of vitamins, particularly of
vitamin C, needed for the integrity of the blood vessel walls, and of
antioxidants like selenium and vitamin E, which protect us from free
radicals; and, finally, the disappearance of antimicrobial fats from
the food supply, namely, animal fats and tropical oils. These once
protected us against the kinds of viruses and bacteria that have been
associated with the onset of pathogenic plaque leading to heart
serum cholesterol levels provide an inaccurate indication of future
heart disease, a high level of a substance called homocysteine in the
blood has been positively correlated with pathological build up of
plaque in the arteries and the tendency to form clots-a deadly
combination. Folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and choline are
nutrients that lower serum homocysteine levels. These nutrients are
found mostly in animal foods.
best way to treat heart disease, then, is not to focus on lowering
cholesterol-either by drugs or diet-but to consume a diet that
provides animal foods rich in vitamins B6 and B12; to bolster thyroid
function by daily use of natural sea salt, a good source of usable
iodine; to avoid vitamin and mineral deficiencies that make the artery
walls more prone to ruptures and the build up of plaque; to include
the antimicrobial fats in the diet; and to eliminate processed foods
containing refined carbohydrates, oxidized cholesterol and
free-radical-containing vegetable oils that cause the body to need
Dangers of Food Processing on Polyunsaturated Fats
is important to understand that, of all substances ingested by the
body, it is polyunsaturated oils that are most easily rendered
dangerous by food processing, especially unstable omega-3 linolenic
acid. Consider the following processes inflicted upon naturally
occurring fatty acids before they appear on our tables:
Oils naturally occurring in fruits, nuts and seeds must first be
extracted. In the old days, slow-moving stone presses achieved this
extraction. But oils processed in large factories are obtained by
crushing the oil-bearing seeds and heating them to 230 degrees. The
oil is then squeezed out at pressures from 10 to 20 tons per inch,
there generating more heat. During this process the oils are exposed
to damaging light and oxygen. In order to extract the last 10% or so
of the oil from crushed seeds, processors treat the pulp with one of a
number of solvents-usually hexane. The solvent is then boiled off,
although up to 100 parts per million may remain in the oil. Such
solvents, themselves toxic, also retain the toxic pesticides adhering
to seeds and grains before processing begins.
processing causes the weak carbon bonds of unsaturated fatty acids,
especially triple unsaturated linolenic acid, to break apart, thereby
creating dangerous free radicals. In addition, antioxidants, such as
fat-soluble vitamin E, which protect the body from the ravages of free
radicals, are neutralized or destroyed by high temperature and
and BRA, both suspected of causing cancer and brain damage, are often
added to these oils to replace vitamin E and other natural
preservatives destroyed by heat.
Safe Technique for the Extraction of Oils
is a safe modem technique for extraction that drills into the seeds
and extracts the oil and its precious cargo of antioxidants under low
temperatures, with minimal exposure to light and oxygen. These
expeller-expressed, unrefined oils will remain fresh for a long time
if stored in the refrigerator in dark bottles. Crushing olives between
stone or steel rollers produces extra virgin olive oil. This process
is a gentle one that preserves the integrity of the fatty acids and
the numerous natural preservatives in olive oil. If olive oil is
packaged in opaque containers, it will retain its freshness and
precious store of antioxidants for many years.
This is the process that turns polyunsaturates, normally liquid at
room temperature, into fats that are solid at room
temperature-margarine and shortening. To produce them, manufacturers
begin with the cheapest oils-soy, corn, cottonseed or canola; already
rancid from the extraction process-and mix them with tiny metal
particles-usually nickel oxide. The oil with its nickel catalyst is
then subjected to hydrogen gas in a high-pressure, high-temperature
reactor. Next, soap-like emulsifiers and starch are squeezed into the
mixture to give it a better consistency; the oil is yet again
subjected to high temperatures when it is steam-cleaned. This removes
its unpleasant odour. Margarine's natural colour, an unappetizing grey,
is removed by bleach. Dyes and strong flavours must then be added to
make it resemble butter. Finally, the mixture is compressed and
packaged in blocks or tubs and sold as a health food.
hydrogenated margarines and shortenings are even worse for you than
the highly refined vegetable oils from which they are made because of
chemical changes that occur during the hydrogenation process. Under
high temperatures, the nickel catalyst causes the hydrogen atoms to
change position on the fatty acid chain. Before hydrogenation, pairs
of hydrogen atoms occur together on the chain, causing the chain to
bend slightly and creating a concentration of electrons at the site of
the double bond. This is called the cis formation, the configuration
most commonly found in nature. With hydrogenation, one hydrogen atom
of the pair is moved to the other side so that the molecule
straightens. This is called the trans formation, rarely found in
nature. Most of these man-made trans fats are toxins to the body, but
unfortunately your digestive system does not recognize them as such.
Instead of being eliminated, trans fats are incorporated into cell
membranes as if they were cis fats-your cells actually become
partially hydrogenated! Once in place, trans fatty acids with their
misplaced hydrogen atoms wreak havoc in cell metabolism because
chemical reactions can only take place when electrons in the cell
membranes are in certain arrangements or patterns, which the
hydrogenation process has disturbed.
Connection Between Cancer and Hydrogenated Fats
the 1940's, researchers found a strong correlation between cancer and
the consumption of fat--the fats used were hydrogenated fats although
the results were presented as though the culprit were saturated fats.
In fact, until recently saturated fats were usually lumped together
with trans fats in the various U.S. data bases that researchers use to
correlate dietary trends with disease conditions. Thus, natural
saturated fats were tarred with the black brush of unnatural
hydrogenated vegetable oils.
partially hydrogenated fats made from vegetable oils actually block
utilization of essential fatty acids, causing many deleterious effects
including sexual dysfunction, increased blood cholesterol and
paralysis of the immune system. Consumption of hydrogenated fats is
associated with a host of other serious diseases, not only cancer but
also atherosclerosis, diabetes, obesity, immune system dysfunction,
low-birth-weight babies, birth defects, decreased visual acuity,
sterility, difficulty in lactation and problems with bones and
hydrogenated fats continue to be promoted as health foods. The
popularity of partially hydrogenated margarine over butter represents
a triumph of advertising duplicity over common sense. Your best
defense is to avoid it like the plague.
This is the process whereby the fat particles of cream are strained
through tiny pores under great pressure. The resulting fat particles
are so small that they stay in suspension rather than rise to the top
of the milk. This makes the fat and cholesterol more susceptible to
rancidity and oxidation, and some research indicates that homogenized
fats may contribute to heart disease.
Media's Attack on Saturated Fats is Suspect
media' s constant attack on saturated fats is extremely suspect.
Claims that butter causes chronic high cholesterol values have not
been substantiated by research, although some studies show that butter
consumption causes a small, temporary rise while other studies have
shown that stearic acid, the main component of beef fat, actually
lowers cholesterol. Margarine, on the other hand, provokes chronic
high levels of cholesterol and has been linked to both heart disease
and cancer. The new soft margarines or tub spreads, while lower in
hydrogenated fats, are still produced from rancid vegetable oils and
contain many additives.
Diet Dictocrats have succeeded in convincing Americans that butter is
dangerous, when in fact it is a valued component of many traditional
diets and a source of the following nutrients:
Vitamins: These include true vitamin A or retinol, vitamin D, vitamin
K and vitamin E as well as all their naturally occurring cofactors
needed to obtain maximum effect. Butter is America's best source of
these important nutrients. In fact, vitamin A is more easily absorbed
and utilized from butter than from other sources. Fortunately, these
fat-soluble vitamins are relatively stable and survive the
Dr. Weston Price studied isolated traditional peoples around the
world, he found that butter was a staple in many native diets. (He did
not find any isolated peoples who consumed polyunsaturated oils.) The
groups he studied particularly valued the deep yellow butter produced
by cows feeding on rapidly growing green grass. Their natural
intuition told them that its life-giving qualities were especially
beneficial for children and expectant mothers. When Dr. Price analyzed
this deep yellow butter he found that it was exceptionally high in all
fat-soluble vitamins, particularly vitamin A. He called these vitamins
"catalysts" or "activators." Without them,
according to Dr. Price, we are not able to utilize the minerals we
ingest, no matter how abundant they may be in our diets. He also
believed the fat-soluble vitamins to be necessary for absorption of
the water-soluble vitamins. Vitamins A and D are essential for growth,
for healthy bones, for proper development of the brain and nervous
systems and for normal sexual development. Many studies have shown the
importance of butterfat for reproduction; its absence results in
"nutritional castration," the failure to bring out male and
female sexual characteristics. As butter consumption in America has
declined, sterility rates and problems with sexual development have
increased. In calves, butter substitutes are unable to promote growth
or sustain reproduction.
all the societies Dr. Price studied ate butter; but all the groups he
observed went to great lengths to obtain foods high in fat-soluble
vitamins-fish, shellfish, fish eggs, organ meats, blubber of sea
animals and insects. Without knowing the names of the vitamins
contained in these foods, isolated traditional societies recognized
their importance in the diet and liberally ate the animal products
containing them. They rightly believed such foods to be necessary for
fertility and the optimum development of children. Dr. Price analyzed
the nutrient content of native diets and found that they consistently
provided about ten times more fat soluble vitamins than the American
diet of the 1930's. This ratio is probably more extreme today as
Americans have deliberately reduced animal fat consumption. Dr. Price
realized that these fat-soluble vitamins promoted the beautiful bone
structure, wide palate, flawless uncrowded teeth and handsome,
well-proportioned faces that characterized members of isolated
traditional groups. American children in general do not eat fish or
organ meats, at least not to any great extent, and blubber and insects
are not a part of the western diet; many will not eat eggs. The only
good source of fat-soluble vitamins in the American diet, one sure to
be eaten, is butterfat. Butter added to vegetables and spread on
bread, and cream added to soups and sauces, ensures proper
assimilation of the minerals and water-soluble vitamins in vegetables,
grains and meat.
Wulzen Factor: Called the "antistiffness" factor, this
compound is present in raw animal fat. Researcher Rosalind Wulzen
discovered that this substance protects humans and animals from
calcification of the joints-degenerative arthritis. It also protects
against hardening of the arteries, cataracts and calcification of the
pineal gland. Calves fed pasteurized milk or skim milk develop joint
stiffness and do not thrive. Their symptoms are reversed when raw
butterfat is added to the diet. Pasteurization
destroys the Wulzen factor-it is present only in raw butter, cream and
Price Factor or Activator X: Discovered by Dr. Price, Activator X is a
powerful catalyst which, like vitamins A and D, helps the body absorb
and utilize minerals. It is found in organ meats from grazing animals
and some seafood. Butter can be an especially rich source of Activator
X when it comes from cows eating rapidly growing grass in the spring
and fall seasons. It disappears in cows fed cottonseed meal or high
protein soy-based feeds. Fortunately, Activator X is not destroyed by
Acid: A 20-carbon polyunsaturate containing four double bonds, found
in small amounts only in animal fats. Arachidonic acid (AA) plays a
role in the function of the brain, is a vital component of the cell
membranes and is a precursor to important prostaglandins. Some dietary
gurus warn against eating foods rich in AA, claiming that it
contributes to the production of "bad" prostaglandins, ones
that cause inflammation. But prostaglandins that counteract
inflammation are also made from AA.
Short-and Medium-Chain Fatty Acids: Butter contains about 12-15% short-and
medium-chain fatty acids. This type of saturated fat does not need to
be emulsified by bile salts but is absorbed directly from the small
intestine to the liver, where it is converted into quick energy. These
fatty acids also have antimicrobial, anti-tumor and immune-system-
supporting properties, especially 12-carbon lauric acid, a
medium-chain fatty acid not found in other animal fats. Highly
protective lauric acid should be called a conditionally essential
fatty acid because it is made only by the mammary gland and not in the
liver like other saturated fats. We must obtain it from one of two
dietary sources--small amounts in butterfat or large amounts in
coconut oil. Four-carbon butyric acid is all but unique to butter. It
has antifungal properties as well as antitumor effects.
and Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids: These occur in butter in small but
nearly equal amounts. This excellent balance between linoleic and
linolenic acid prevents the kind of problems associated with over
consumption of omega-6 fatty acids.
Linoleic Acid: Butter from pasture-fed cows also contains a form of
rearranged linoleic acid called CLA, which has strong anticancer
properties. It also encourages the build up of muscle and prevents
weight gain. CLA disappears when cows are fed dry hay or processed
Lecithin is a natural component of butter that assists in the proper
assimilation and metabolization of cholesterol and other fat
Mother's milk is high in cholesterol because it is essential for
growth and development. Cholesterol is also needed to produce a
variety of steroids that protect against cancer, heart disease and
This type of fat protects against gastrointestinal infections,
especially in the very young and the elderly. For this reason,
children who drink skimmed milk have diarrhea at rates three to five
times greater than children who drink whole milk.
Minerals: Many trace minerals are incorporated into the fat globule
membrane of butterfat, including manganese, zinc, chromium and iodine.
In mountainous areas far from the sea, iodine in butter protects
against goiter. Butter is extremely rich in selenium, a trace mineral
with antioxidant properties, containing more per gram than herring or
of Water-Soluble Poisons in Milk and Meats
frequently voiced objection to the consumption of butter and other
animal fats is that they tend to accumulate environmental poisons.
Fat-soluble poisons such as DDT do accumulate in fats; but
water-soluble poisons, such as antibiotics and growth hormones,
accumulate in the water fraction of milk and meats. Vegetables and
grains also accumulate poisons.
average plant crop receives ten applications of pesticides-from
planting to storage-while cows generally graze on pasture that is
unsprayed. Aflatoxin, a fungus that grows on grain, is one of the most
powerful carcinogens known. It is correct to assume that all of our
foods, whether of vegetable or animal origin, may be contaminated. The
solution to environmental poisons is not to eliminate animal fats--so
essential to growth, reproduction and overall health--but to seek out
organic meats and butter from pasture-fed cows, as well as organic
vegetables and grains. These are becoming increasingly available in
health food stores and supermarkets and through mail order and
of Oils and Fats
leaving this complex but vital subject of fats, it is worthwhile
examining the composition of vegetable oils and other animal fats in
order to determine their usefulness and appropriateness in food
Duck and Goose Fat are semisolid
at room temperature, containing about 35% saturated fat, 52%
monounsaturated fat (including small amounts of antimicrobial
palmitoleic acid) and about 13% polyunsaturated fat. The proportion of
omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids depends on what the birds have eaten.
Duck and goose fat are quite stable and are highly prized in Europe
for frying potatoes.
Chicken Fat is about 31%
saturated, 49% monounsaturated (including moderate amounts of
antimicrobial palmitoleic acid) and 20% polyunsaturated, most of which
is omega-6 linoleic acid, although the amount of omega-3 can be raised
by feeding chickens flax or fish meal, or allowing them to range free
and eat insects. Although widely used for frying in kosher kitchens,
it is inferior to duck and goose fat, which were traditionally
preferred to chicken fat in Jewish cooking.
Lard or Pork Fat is about 40%
saturated, 48% monounsaturated (including small amounts of
antimicrobial palmitoleic acid) and 12% polyunsaturated. Like the fat
of birds, the amount of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids will vary in
lard according to what has been fed to the pigs.
the tropics, lard may also be a source of lauric acid if the pigs have
eaten coconuts. Like duck and goose fat, lard is stable and a
preferred fat for frying. I t was widely used in America at the turn
of the century. It is a good source of vitamin D, especially in
third-world countries where other animal foods are likely to be
expensive. Some researchers believe that pork products should be
avoided because they may contribute to cancer. Others suggest that
only pork meat presents a problem and that pig fat in the form of lard
is safe and healthy.
Beef and Mutton Tallows are
50-55% saturated; about 40% monounsaturated and l contain small
amounts of the polyunsaturates, usually less than 3%. Suet, which is
the fat from the cavity of the animal, is 70-80% saturated. Suet and
tallow are very stable fats and can be used for frying. Traditional
cultures valued these fats for their health benefits. They are a good
source of antimicrobial palmitoleic acid.
Olive Oil contains 75% oleic
acid, the stable monounsaturated fat, along with 13% saturated fat,
10% omega-6 linoleic acid and 2% omega-3 linolenic acid. The high
percentage of oleic acid makes olive oil ideal for salads and for
cooking at moderate temperatures. Extra virgin olive oil is also rich
in antioxidants. It should be cloudy, indicating that it has not been
filtered, and have a golden yellow colour, indicating that it is made
from fully ripened olives. Olive oil has withstood the test of time;
it is the safest vegetable oil you can use, but don't overdo. The
longer chain fatty acids found in olive oil are more likely to
contribute to the build up of body fat than the short- and
medium-chain fatty acids found in butter, coconut oil or palm kernel
Peanut Oil contains 48% oleic
acid, 18% saturated fat and 34% omega-6 linoleic acid. Like olive oil,
peanut oil is relatively stable and, therefore, appropriate for stir-frys
on occasion. But the high percentage of omega-6 presents a potential
danger, so use of peanut oil should be strictly limited.
Sesame Oil contains 42% oleic
acid, 15% saturated fat, and 43% omega-6linoleic acid. Sesame oil is
similar in composition to peanut oil. It can be used for frying
because it contains unique antioxidants that are not destroyed by
heat. However, the high percentage of omega-6 militates against
Safflower, Corn, Sunflower, Soybean and
Cottonseed Oils all contain over 50% omega-6 and, except for
soybean oil, only minimal amounts of omega-3. Safflower oil contains
almost 80% omega-6. Researchers are just beginning to discover the
dangers of excess omega-6 oils in the diet, whether rancid or not. Use
of these oils should be strictly limited. They should never be
consumed after they have been heated, as in cooking, frying or baking.
High oleic safflower and sunflower oils, produced from hybrid plants,
have a composition similar to olive oil, namely, high amounts of oleic
acid and only small amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids and, thus,
are more stable than traditional varieties. However, it is difficult
to find truly cold-pressed versions of these oils.
Canola Oil contains 5% saturated
fat, 57% oleic acid, 23% omega-6 and 10%-15% omega-3. The newest oil
on the market, canola oil was developed from the rapeseed, a member of
the mustard family. Rapeseed is unsuited to human consumption because
it contains a very-long-chain fatty acid called erucic acid, which
under some circumstances is associated with fibrotic heart lesions.
Canola oil was bred to contain little if any erucic acid and has drawn
the attention of nutritionists because of its high oleic acid content.
But there are some indications that canola oil presents dangers of its
own. It has high sulphur content and goes rancid easily. Baked goods
made with canola oil develop mold very quickly. During the deodorizing
process, the omega-3 fatty acids of processed canola oil are
transformed into trans fatty acids, similar to those in margarine and
possibly more dangerous. A recent study indicates that "heart
healthy" canola oil actually creates a deficiency of vitamin E, a
vitamin required for a healthy cardiovascular system. Other studies
indicate that even low-erucic-acid canola oil causes heart lesions,
particularly when the diet is low in saturated fat.
Flax Seed Oil contains 9%
saturated fatty acids, 18% oleic acid, 16% omega-6 and 57% omega-3.
With its extremely high omega-3 content, flax seed oil provides a
remedy for the omega-6/omega-3 imbalance so prevalent in America
today. Not surprisingly, Scandinavian folklore values flax seed oil as
a health food. New extraction and bottling methods have minimized
rancidity problems. It should always be kept refrigerated, never
heated, and consumed in small amounts in salad dressings and spreads.
Tropical Oils are more saturated
than other vegetable oils. Palm oil is about 50% saturated, with 41%
oleic acid and about 9% linoleic acid.
Oil is 92% saturated, with over two-thirds of the saturated fat in
the form of medium-chain fatty acids (often called medium-chain
triglycerides). Of particular interest is lauric acid, found in
large quantities in both coconut oil and in mother's milk. This
fatty acid has strong antifungal and antimicrobial properties.
Coconut oil protects tropical populations from bacteria and fungus
so prevalent in their food supply; as third-world nations in
tropical areas have switched to polyunsaturated vegetable oils;
the incidence of intestinal disorders and immune deficiency
diseases has increased dramatically. Because coconut oil contains
lauric acid, it is often used in baby formulas.
Kernel Oil, used primarily in candy coatings, also contains high
levels of lauric acid. These oils are extremely stable and can be
kept at room temperature for many months without becoming rancid.
Oils Do Not Contribute to Heart Disease
saturated tropical oils do not contribute to heart disease but have
nourished healthy populations for millennia. It is a shame we do not
use these oils for cooking and baking-the bad rap they have received
is the result of intense lobbying by the domestic vegetable oil
industry. Red palm oil has a strong taste that most will find
disagreeable-although it is used extensively throughout Africa--but
clarified palm oil, which is tasteless and white in colour, was
formerly used as shortening and in the production of commercial French
fries, while coconut oil was used in cookies, crackers and pastries.
The saturated fat scare has forced manufacturers to abandon these safe
and healthy oils in favour of hydrogenated soybean, corn, canola and
summary, our choice of fats and oils is one of extreme importance.
Most people, especially infants and growing children, benefit from
more fat in the diet rather than less. But the fats we eat, must be
chosen with care. Avoid all processed foods containing newfangled
hydrogenated fats and polyunsaturated oils. Instead, use traditional
vegetable oils like extra virgin olive and small amounts of unrefined
flax seed oil. Acquaint yourself with the merits of coconut oil for
baking and with animal fats for occasional frying. Eat egg yolks and
other animal fats with the proteins to which they are attached. And,
finally, use as much good quality butter as you like, with the happy
assurance that it is a wholesome-indeed, an essential-food for you and
your whole family. Organic butter, extra virgin olive oil, and
expeller-expressed flax oil in opaque containers are available in
health food stores and gourmet markets. Edible coconut oil can be
found in East Indian or Caribbean markets.
- by Sally Fallon
I've included a rather significant amount of information here about oils
and fats taken directly from Sally Fallon's book (see references).
This is one of the best,
well-researched sources of information and recipes about healthy
eating that we have come across.
Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats