Friday, February 18, 2011

One more word on Fats (maybe!)

In previous posts, I've attached links to learning about the importance of fats in our diet - especially animal fats. I just received a little booklet put out by the Weston A. Price Foundation that's purpose is to educate the general public on why the FDA's food pyramid is totally out of whack. So it's a very elementary, dumbed-down version, but still good basic stuff. I've read a great deal of the research behind their statements, and you can always go to their web site to find more in-depth information.

"Most people think that saturated fats are bad for them, and they try to avoid
butter, cream, lard and fatty meat. However, decades of scientific research
have shown that saturated fats are vital for human health. They are needed
for the function of the heart, the kidneys and the lungs; they support hormone
production, healing and cell function. They are essential for normal
growth and development, including the development of the brain.

Every cell in your body is surrounded by a membrane composed of billions
of fatty acids (fat molecules). At least half of these need to be saturated fatty
acids or your cells won’t work properly. It you avoid eating saturated fats like
butter and meat fats, then your body will crave simple carbohydrates like
sugar and white flour, because your body can make
saturated fats out of carbohydrates. The problem is
that consumption of refined carbohydrates depletes
the body of nutrients while animal fats, especially
fats of grass-fed animals, provide the body with
many important vitamins and minerals.

Healthy animal fats are necessary for the function of the thyroid gland.
When your thyroid gland is not working properly, you have low metabolism
and gain weight very easily. Also, if you are not eating healthy animal fats,
then you may crave carbohydrates, which cause weight gain in many people.

It is very unfortunate that people believe cholesterol is bad. Cholesterol is
one of the most important substances in the body. Human life would be
impossible without cholesterol. Cholesterol provides stability to your cells
so they function properly; and your body makes hormones, vitamin D and
bile salts for digesting fat out of cholesterol.
But doesn’t cholesterol clog arteries and cause heart disease? Actually, cholesterol
in our food and cholesterol levels in the blood have very little relationship
with heart disease. People who eat a lot of cholesterol often have very
low levels of cholesterol in the blood and people with low cholesterol levels
in the blood are just as prone to heart disease as those with high levels.

Cholesterol is the body’s repair substance. If you injure yourself, your body
will make more cholesterol to repair the damage.
Cholesterol is what your body needs to make steroid hormones. These
hormones are involved in healing and also help us deal with stress.
If you try to lower your cholesterol levels with diet or drugs, you may have
trouble healing or dealing with stress.

Cholesterol is critical to brain function and the formation of memory.
You may become depressed and have trouble remembering things if your
cholesterol is too low.

Sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen are made of cholesterol. If
your cholesterol is too low, you may not be able to have children or have
a normal sex life.

Cholesterol acts like an anti-oxidant in the body and protects us against
cancer. People with low cholesterol levels are more prone to cancer than
those with normal or high cholesterol levels.
The tragedy of the anti-cholesterol message is that it has led many people
to avoid high-cholesterol foods like eggs, meat, and butter, and instead
consume foods low in cholesterol but high in industrial seed oils and trans
fats – foods that are very unhealthy!
While a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet was originally intended only for
adults “at risk for heart disease,” today it is applied to everyone in the
population. When pregnant women avoid cholesterol and saturated fats
during pregnancy, they put their growing fetus at risk for developmental
problems; when children are denied cholesterol-rich animal fats, their
bodies cannot make all the necessary connections in the brain. Without
adequate cholesterol and saturated fat, children are at risk for developmental
problems, behavior problems, learning disabilities."

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