Did You Know?

  • Fats are stable; when heated, they do not release free radicals, which have been linked to cancer, as vegetable oils do.
  • Animal fats like lard and tallow are minimally processed, unlike vegetable oils.
  • Dietary fats help the fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E and K) to become absorbed into the body.
  • Fats promote brain functioning, specifically learning, memory, mood control, and the manufacturing of hormones. Sixty percent of the brain is fat.
  • Healthy fats cushion the organs.
  • Animal fats have zero artificial trans fats.
  • Healthy fats lower inflammation and pain. They help control the metabolic and immune systems. They help regulate the clotting mechanism in the blood, which is crucial for preventing clots that may lead to heart attack or stroke.

The Facts

 

Fig. 1

  Source:  Dr. Stephan Guyenet.  The American Diet . 2012.

Source: Dr. Stephan Guyenet. The American Diet. 2012.

The diseases of civilization increased as butter and lard were replaced with vegetable oils and trans fats

In the 20th century, several serious diseases became common in humans. The heart disease epidemic started around 1930, the obesity epidemic started in 1980 and the diabetes epidemic started around 1990. Even though these diseases were almost unheard of before, they have now become the biggest health problems in the world, killing millions of people per year. It is clear from the graph above, that these diseases have skyrocketed as animal fats have been replaced with shortening, margarine and processed vegetable oils.

 

 

Fig. 2

  Source:  Hu FB, et al.  Trends in the Incidence of Coronary Heart Disease and Changes in Diet and Lifestyle in Women.  The New England Journal of Medicine, 2000.

Source: Hu FB, et al. Trends in the Incidence of Coronary Heart Disease and Changes in Diet and Lifestyle in Women. The New England Journal of Medicine, 2000.

The obesity epidemic in the USA started at almost the exact same time the low-fat dietary guidelines were published.

It amazes me that some people still blame traditional foods like meat and butter for the diseases of civilization. These foods have sustained humans in good health for a very long time and blaming new diseases on old foods just doesn’t make sense. All the data shows that people actually reduced their consumption of these foods as these diseases went up. The graph above, from the Nurses Health Study, shows that Americans were reducing their intake of red meat and full-fat dairy at the same time the obesity epidemic was starting.

 

 

Fig. 3

  Source:  Gillman MW, et al.  Margarine intake and subsequent coronary heart disease in men.  Epidemiology, 1997. Photo source:  Whole Health Source .

Source: Gillman MW, et al. Margarine intake and subsequent coronary heart disease in men. Epidemiology, 1997. Photo source: Whole Health Source.

In the Framingham Heart Study, heart disease goes up as people replace heart-healthy butter with toxic margarine.

Back when everyone started pointing the finger at saturated fat as the cause of heart disease, butter and other high-fat dairy products were demonized. Nutrition professionals all over the world started telling people to replace butter with margarine… which was low in saturated fat, but high in man-made trans fats. As with so many of the “truths” in nutrition, this ended up having the exact opposite result. Whereas saturated fat is harmless, trans fats are highly toxic (12, 13, 14). In the graph above, based on the Framingham Heart Study, you can see how heart disease risk goes up as people eat less butter and more margarine instead. For some very strange reason, many health organizations are still recommending that we avoid heart-healthy butter and replace it with processed margarine.