Dietary fat is generally the most feared of all food substances. From the beginning of time until the middle of the 20th century; however, fat was the most highly-regarded and honored of all food substances. Why the 180?
In the middle of the 20th century, up and coming scientist Ancel Keys developed a theory that fat caused heart disease, which was, and still is, the leading cause of death in modern nations despite its extreme rarity before the 1920’s. He found plenty of data to support his theory, most notably that Japan and a handful of other countries that consumed less fat than America had lower rates of heart disease. He only picked seven countries that backed up his theory, but that was evidently enough for Keys to pronounce, “case closed,” and parade around spreading the new gospel that the reduction of fat consumption could prevent heart disease.
But there were complications. By complications, I mean dozens of exceptions that disproved that fat could be causal of heart disease. For one, countries like France consumed lots of fat, mostly in the form of butter, cream, cheese, and fatty liver (foie gras). Yet heart disease risk, to this day, is but a fraction of what the United States endures. Furthermore, Dr. George Mann of Vanderbilt University traveled to Kenya to study the Masai tribe, who consume the highest-fat diet in the world – the equivalent of four sticks of butter a day in the form of high-fat milk, meat, and little else. Mann found no traces of heart disease whatsoever though. Their hearts and bodies were undeniably in better condition than even that of the Japanese on their practically fat-free fare (as low as 10% of caloric intake).
The famed Eskimos, while living on their native diets, had perhaps the most superb health of any humans ever discovered. They had no heart disease, no tooth decay, had unparalleled physical hardiness and vigor. Even cancer, in its many forms, was never documented amongst an Eskimo living on his native fare. The Eskimo diet, by the way, was the highest-fat diet humans have ever been documented as consuming – about 80% of caloric intake came in the form of dietary fat – all of it from animal sources. It’s awfully hard to blame fats for disease with these kind of exceptions.
The world is starting to slowly come around on fats, referring to fats that come from plant sources or omega-3’s found in coldwater fish as being “healthy fats.” The term healthy fats is used to separate these from fats that everyone and their uncle assumes is harmful. What kind of fat is that? You guessed it, saturated fat, found primarily in animal fat, dairy products, and tropical oils from palm and coconut trees.
Again, these were cherished, staple foods of some of the most robust people documented in modern times, such as the native Polynesians, isolated Swiss peoples, and the aforementioned Eskimos and Masai warriors.
Although you may be very skeptical about fat’s virtues, especially that of saturated fat – and rightfully so seeing how bombarded we are with ideas about its dangers, I assure you that once you see the fragility of the science that the fat kills hypothesis is constructed on; once you are properly informed about the fact that no study has ever shown saturated fat to be causal of disease; once you take a moment to see the gaping holes in the logic vindicating fat as a vile substance; and once you see all the high-fat exceptions that stump the “fat bad” assumptions – you will pull another 180 on it, coming full circle, and once again cherish it as has been the way for millennia.
I hope you do, because fat is not the cause of disease, eating it does not increase your risk of heart disease or any other ailment, and its calorie-density does not lead to the accumulation of excess body fat. In fact, fat, including saturated fat, is the most potent dietary tool available for overcoming the development of heart disease, obesity, and many other unpleasant and dangerous conditions. For more on the real story of fat, follow along at 180DegreeHealth. Sign up to the 180 mailing list and you can start to become free of the stupifying beliefs that the modern world has developed about fat. www.180degreehealth.com.