Join Date: Feb 2002
Dietary Saturated fats - food for thought.
The numbers indicate studies as support of the article whichI didn't include because of length----
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. [B]Your body (liver)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. [/B] 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. "Whatever is the cause of heart disease," said the eminent biochemist Michael Gurr in a recent article, "it is not primarily the consumption of saturated fats."63 And yet the high priests of the lipid hypothesis continue to lay their curse on the fairest of culinary pleasures: butter and Béarnaise, whipped cream, soufflés and omelettes, full-bodied cheeses, juicy steaks and pork sausages.