Monday, January 7, 2008

Fats and Oils : Rethinking our FAT phobia

I have taken a break from my Whole Grains series for a while to start another series, another favorite subject of mine...Fats and Oils. Politically Correct nutrition is based on the assumption that we should reduce out intake of fats,particularly saturated fats from meats, whole milk, butter, ghee, coconut oil,... So we started using skimmed milk, lean or no meats, and polyunsaturated oils like vegetable oils, margarine, dalda. But statistics show that, we are facing coronary heart diseases, diabetes,and many degenerative diseases more than any other time in the history of mankind. Clearly something is wrong with the theories we are being told.

The diet gurus tell us that polyunsaturated oils are good for us and that saturated fats cause cancer, heart diseases and weight gain.Suppose you were forced to live on a diet of red meat and whole milk. A diet that, all told, was at least 60 percent fat -- about half of it saturated. If your first thoughts are of statins and stents, you may want to consider the curious case of the Masai, a nomadic tribe in Kenya and Tanzania.

In the 1960s, a Vanderbilt University scientist named George Mann, M.D., found that Masai men consumed this very diet (supplemented with blood from the cattle they herded). Yet these nomads, who were also very lean, had some of the lowest levels of cholesterol ever measured and were virtually free of heart disease. Scientists, confused by the finding, argued that the tribe must have certain genetic protections against developing high cholesterol. But when British researchers monitored a group of Masai men who moved to Nairobi and began consuming a more modern diet, they discovered that the men's cholesterol subsequently skyrocketed. Similar observations were made of the Samburu -- another Kenyan tribe -- as well as the Fulani of Nigeria.Or even close to home the Pathans of high mountains and plateau districts of northern India and Tibet, Whose diet depends largely upon butter made from milk of the yak and sheep. These Pathans are probably the most physically perfect ..very tall and free of tooth decay-- Weston Price..While the findings from these cultures seem to contradict the fact that eating saturated fat leads to heart disease, it may surprise you to know that this "fact" isn't a fact at all. It is, more accurately, a hypothesis from the 1950s that's never been proved.

The first scientific indictment of saturated fat came in 1953. A researcher named Ancel Keys proposed a theory - called the Lipid hypothesis - that there is a direct relationship between the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet and the incidence of coronary heart diseases. Numerous researchers pointed out the flaws in his data and conclusions. Nevertheless, Keys recieved far more publicity than those presenting alternative views. The vegetable oil and food processing industries, the main beneficiaries of any research that could be used to demonize traditional foods, worked behind the scenes to promote further research that would support the lipid hypothesis.

Most of the fat in our bodies and in the food we eat is in the form of triglycerides. Elevated triglycerides in the blood have been positively linked to proneness to heart diseases, 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.your body makes fat from carbohydrates. It works like this: The carbs you eat (particularly starches and sugar) are absorbed into your bloodstream as sugar. As your carb intake rises, so does your blood sugar. This causes your body to release the hormone insulin. Insulin's job is to return your blood sugar to normal, but it also signals your body to store fat. As a result, your liver starts converting excess blood sugar to triglycerides, or fat. The source of these excess sugars is any food containing carbohydrates, particularly refined sugar and white flour. Triglyceride levels increase with increasing intake of refined sugars, refined starches, sedentary lifestyle, and hard, non-essential fats. According to researcher John Yudkin, sugar consumption is one of the quickest ways to increase triglycerides because the body turns sugar into fats to protect itself from the toxic effects of excess sugar. Sugar increases oxidation damage, inhibits immune functions and interferes with the transport of vitamin C...all leading to dardiovascular and other degenerative diseases.

Fats have more than twice as many calories as carbohydrates, foods such as sugar, wheat, potatoes and fruits. Conventional wisdom says that reducing fats in the diet is essential for people who want to lose weigth. That sounds logical doesn't it? But its not true. In real life , eating fats helps you lose weight--but only if you make a deep cut in carbohydrates you eat Fats have more calories but fats satisfy your hunger four or five times as much as carbohydrates. Thats one of the several reasons why eating fats help people lose weight.

According to Udo Erasmus: 1. Fats are digested slowly and prevent hunger from recurring quickly. Protein and carbohydrates are digested in half as much time so overeating is encouraged. 2. EFAs increase metabolic rate and help mobilize and burn excess saturated fats. 3. The body loses the craving for food when its need for EFAs is satisfied. 4. A poor diet lacking essential substances fails to still hunger, leading to overeating and weight gain. 5. Contrary to popular opinion, not all fats make a body fat.Healthy fats can halt and even reverse many degenerative diseases such as: atherosclerosis, hypertension, allergies, cancer, skin conditions, yeast conditions, aging, arthritis, diabetes, asthma, obesity, and some addictions.Bad fats and sugar are responsible for most of the conditions listed above.

On contrary, today most of the fats in our diets are polyunsaurated, primarily from vegetable oils derived from soy, corn, safflower and canola. Modern diets contain as much as 30 % of calories as polyunsaturated oils, but this amount is far too hight. Excess consumption of these oils cause many health problems like : immune system dysfunction, damage to the liver, reproductive organs and lungs, digestive disorders etc.

Hopefully these facts and finding help you in making a better choice for you and your percious family.

Be Nourished!!!



Thankyou really for the informative post!Happy New Year to you!

bee said...

thanks for a truly educative post, and wish you a wonderful 2008.

EWallace said...

hello swaroopa i came across your blog this morning and I love it,
it's very exciting! i guess one has to be a whole grain devotee to feel
that way but i love the kind of food you are working with, the gift of
grain, and it's wonderful to see your particular imagination at work.
wishing you the best and all encouragement in exploring the pleasure and
healthy benefits of these natural foods. and your photos are great too.
i am 53 years old, into whole grains and healthy foods since the early
'70's, although not to the exclusion, alas of all those other not so
healthy foods, but we always need more knowledge and inspiration. thank
you for your work! eve wallace in the Bronx, NYC

aparna said...

Thanks for dropping by, Swaroopa.

Thats a lot of research. Leaving aside genetic predisposition, our sedentary and stressed out lifestyles, lack of exercise, and unhealthy eating habits ( an increased amount of processed and fast foods) are largely responsible for the state of our bad health.

Rina said...

Swaroopa dear, thanks for this lovely info post.. Keep the good work going always..Happy new year.

Asha said...

Great post Swaroopa. My doctor husband says we should be eating min. of 30gms fat(including saturated) everyday which helps us to keep elasticity in our skin! I don't cut down fats completely from our daily diet. Anything in excess is bad for us in my opinion, everything in moderation is good!:)
Some go overboard cutting every single oz of fat which is scary to me. Kids when they are young specially need to have some fat in their diet!Grains are so imp too, I just used Soy flour for our dinner today!
Love the post, keep it up. Happy new year!:)

Asha said...

Swaroopa, great post girl, loved it. Adults and specially young kids need atleast 30gms of fat in our diet everyday according to my husband who is a doctor. I don't cut down fat drastically at all and I love to use grains as well. I cooked with Soy flour today infact!:)
Anything in moderation is always great.
Good work, keep it up. Happy new year to you dear, enjoy.

vimmi said...

Hi Swaroopa,

Ur article was great. Its confusing, isn't it? We try to eat everything in moderation, with more vegetables and fruits and whole grains. That i think is good for us.

Richa said...

good post, Swaroopa!
Best Wishes for 2008!

Bharathy said...

Very informative post,Swaroopa!..
A big thanks for sharing this valuable post with us !:)

bird's eye view said...

That's a really informative post, but now I'm all confused - it seems like the more we know, the more we don't know!

Seena said...

Good post, Swaroopa!
I have seen people not taking oil or any thing like that, but nothing helps them. Me too take everything in moderate amount.
thanks for posting this..

Sig said...

Great post Swaroopa, bookmarked this...

Cynthia said...

I think my comment was written under the wrong post :) my previous comment applies to this post: fats and oils...

shakes said...

Hi Swaroopa, I am so thrilled to meet a fellow indian who has read and implements the teachings of the pioneering scientist-dentist, Dr. Weston A. Price. Did you read his book "Nutrition and physical degeneration" ? It's a great, great book.

All the best. Shall keep reading your blog.


Miri said...

Thanks for that well researched and very informative post! Came here through your comment and am definitely going to stay!

Jaya said...

great post on fats /oils ,there composition and nature ,there effects positive and negative on our body .great info ..
hugs and smiles

Swaroopa said...

brids eye : True, its confusing.... but the more we know the better off we are, atleast when it comes to our health & well being.

Shakes: I am glad to meet a fellow Indian who read abt Dr. Weston Prices, books too. Hope to have more advices from you.

Sia said...

thats really interesting and informative post. thanks swaroopa

DEEPA said...

excellent reading and very informative one!!!

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