By Rob Archangel, 180DegreeHealth.com staff writer
Today on the Real Food Summit, I listened to Kim Schuette and Rami Nagel. Both were big boosters of traditional fats like butter, coconut oil, and animal fats. Kim spent a little time talking about how traditional fats can be helpful for erectile dysfunction, and Rami describes dietary ways to combat tooth decay and some of the problems with modern dental practices.
First, the *big* question (haha) – how do fats in our diet help with ED? If you eat low in fat (and cholesterol), your body’s ability to synthesize hormones like testosterone and progesterone goes down. This is a bad thing. These hormones are the hormones of youth and fertility ( progesterone= pro-gestation), and also aid in other health benefits like building lean tissue and experiencing strength and vigor. This is also a reason why low fat, vegan diets like 80-10-10 can cause a crash in libido, and are not advisable.
Schuette also mentions cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, and how they contribute to a similar effect. If we artificially lower our cholesterol, we reduce our body’s raw material supply for these fun-times hormones, and possibly run into problems like erectile dysfunction. As an aside, raising our metabolism often lowers cholesterol levels, since the body revvs into high gear and starts making use of the extra cholesterol floating around, turning it into these useful hormones and correcting any deficiencies we might be facing. Once again, a high metabolism is king.
Rami’s talk was next for me, and I like that he points out that bacteria don’t cause tooth decay. S. mutans is the one often fingered for decay, but as it turns out, it performs the useful function of keeping yeast overgrowth in check. Hey, surprise surprise! correlation is not causation. Maybe these bacteria are more prevalent when there’s tooth decay, but they (and their acidic by-products when we eat starches and sugars) are only problematic to weak teeth, and only proliferate when we’re susceptible. If our teeth (and our bodies) are robust and healthy, the bacteria can’t mess with us. Which is to say, germs don’t cause illness- poor health does. There will always be micro-organisms within and around us. Rather than trying to avoid that (not possible), we do better to focus on getting and staying healthy so that exposure does not lead to getting sick.
Animal fats and especially the fat soluble vitamins are pretty important to him as well. The body makes use of them in tandem with minerals to help build and strengthen bones and enamel. He’s especially fond of raw grass-fed dairy and cod liver oil, though mentions that bugs are also a good source of these fats. Back when I was living on a permaculture homestead in Indiana, a friend and I thought about traveling to the Purdue University Bug Bowl to taste some insects. Never made it, sadly. Maybe one day.
Anyway, both talks are probably worth checking out. I wouldn’t fetishize traditional diets, especially if it stresses you out trying to source everything “perfectly,” but go ahead and eat some tasty, quality fats. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that since some is good, more is better, and walk yourself into low-carb land with that delusion.