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saturated fats and cholesterol

How Much Do You Need To Worry About Saturated Fats and Cholesterol

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All of us have been fed this lie that we have to "watch our fat intake" and "watch our cholesterol" since the 1980s.  

And then what happened?  Did we systematically wipe heart disease off the map?  

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Since the 1980s, the US obesity rates have doubled.  Rates of diabetes have QUADRUPLED.  Other problems that have worsened since the 1900s:  cancer, asthma and allergies, and hormone imbalance.  We have twice the risk of cardiovascular disease as the French, yet they eat twice the amount of butter, cheese, and pork products!  

Ok, but surely cardio vascular disease (CVD) rates have improved.  That's the whole point of the "watch your cholesterol" craziness anyway, right?  The answer is a little tricky because of the difference between HEART DISEASE and HEART FAILURE.  Yes, the numbers of deaths from heart disease have gone from over 1.6 million / year in 1963 to just over 300,000 in 2010, BUT the number of deaths from heart failure have gone from just over 140,000 in 1970 to 250,000 in 2010.  Doubled.

It started in the early 1900s

While the lowered rates of cardiovascular disease (from 1960 - 2010) look good, in the 1900s, the rates were way lower!  It could be that less people reported problems to their doctors at that time, but interesting nonetheless.  But this is when the American diet changed.  

It was in the 1930s that Dr. Weston A. Price noticed increased dental carries in his patients and decided to study other cultures' dietary habits to find out why.

deaths from cvd


The early 1900s did show an increased consumption of TRANS-FATTY ACIDS (crisco, margarine, hydrogenated vegetable oils) and processed wheat and sugar foods. us sugar consumption

THE FRENCH PARADOX:  The French eat 60% more cheese, four times more butter, and three times more pork.  In all, way more saturated fat consumption than the average American.  Yet their obesity rates are less than 10%.  In the US, only 31% of us are not overweight!   If you are not overweight in America, you are in the minority.  That's crazy!  Americans also have twice the risk of CVD.  

Death from asthma and COPD have tripled since the 1960s.  Could it be related to food?    

I like this chart. Notice how the 1960s butter was at an all-time low. Then look at the heart disease chart for the 1960s.


I like this chart. Notice how the 1960s butter was at an all-time low. Then look at the heart disease chart for the 1960s.

And, besides the point, cardiovascular disease is still the #1 cause of death in the US.  So all this low-fat crap and cholesterol pills are really not doing what they're supposed to be doing.

So what's missing?


When Dr. Price traveled the world to figure out the rising incidences of tooth decay he saw in his clinic in the 1930s, he studied traditional cultures.  He went to small villages in Switzerland, Eskimos and Indians of North America, Melanesian and Polynesian South Sea Islanders, African tribers, Australian Aborigines, New Zealand and the Indians of South America.  He saw some similarities in their health:  straight teeth, free from decay, and resistance to disease.  He knew it must be something in their diet.

He found these similarities in all of their diets:

  • No refined or denatured foods such as refined sugar / corn syrup; white flour; pasteurized, homogenized, low-fat anything; hydrogenated vegetable oils; toxic additives or preservatives
  • At least 4x the calcium and other minerals the TEN TIMES THE AMOUNT OF FAT SOLUBLE VITAMINS as the average American diet
  • High food enzyme diet with raw dairy; raw meat and fish; raw honey; fermented vegetables; fruits; and cold-pressed oils
  • They ate grains and nuts but only after sprouting them
  • Animal bones usually in the form of broths
  • Salt
  • Animal products:  fish; seafood; birds; animals; eggs; milk and milk products; reptiles; or insects.  There are NO traditional vegan cultures in the world.  Eating vegan is a relatively new construct.  

I think enjoying a vegan meal from time to time is very healthy.  Eating plant-based is healthy.  As long as you also take in, from time to time, as much as your body craves and needs, animal protein, bones, eggs, and organs.  

Over 50% of your brain weight is fat and most of that fat is DHA fatty acids - the types of fats found in eggs, butter, and fish.  Dear vegans, I implore you to at least consider eating butter.  If not, you must eat plenty of coconut oil; there's no way around it.  

Ideally the ratio of vegetable oils to saturated fats is 1:1.  

In the US, a typical person has more of a 20:1 ratio.  Even those prepackaged "healthy snack foods" use vegetable oils in a lot of their products.  So, most people end up deficient in the Omega 3 category (the saturated fats), and eating too much of the other kind.  

Still worried about that cholesterol number?  

If you don't eat cholesterol (saturated fats), your body will produce it by itself.  Meaning, if you don't eat the butter/eggs/bacon/coconut oil/lard, your liver will produce more LDL as a way to self-persevere.  So, eating saturated fats may lower your LDL.

"In Framingham, MA, the more saturated fat one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person's serum cholesterol....we found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, and ate the most calories, weighted the least and were the most physically active." -Archives of Internal Medicine, July 1992

"Saturated fat intake was inversely associated with mortality from total stroke, including intraparenchymal hemorrhage and ischemic stroke subtypes, in this Japanese cohort." -The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in a study with over 58,000 participants, October 2010

For people worried about a cholesterol level just over 200, this historic longitudinal study on cholesterol found that people with slightly elevated cholesterol LIVE LONGER.  

Signs you may need more cholesterol in your diet:

  • slow wound healing
  • lowered brain function (poor memory/cognition, brain fog)
  • low vitamin D
  • gall bladder problems
  • chronic infections


And those are trans-fatty acids, also known as hydrogenated oils.  There is no safe amount of trans-fatty acids in the diet.  Go ahead and throw these away if you have them in your cupboard. 

  • soybean oil (probably GMO as well as hydrogenated)
  • crisco
  • margarine
  • rapeseed / canola oil
  • peanut oil (may be GMO)
  • corn oil (likelihood of GMO as well)
  • palm oil


Some Omega-6 vegetable oils are OK, like safflower, sunflower, or olive oil, only if you eat them cool, like in a dip or salad dressing.  Do not heat them up or they turn into trans-fatty acids which can cause cellular mutation.  If you're going to cook with oil, opt for a saturated fat like butter, ghee (clarified butter), coconut oil, or lard.  

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