24 July 2012

Dietary Fat is Healthy

"Civilised man is the planet's only chronically sick animal" 

Our body cannot work without the adequate nutrients, which compose the base of proper hormonal and immune functions. These nutrients have very specific metabolic effects on the human body. If we do not give the needed building blocks to our system, over the years, we develop chronic diseases linked to obesity, like allergies, diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer, auto-immune diseases.

Wild animals eat what they evolved to eat during their time on this planet. They eat when they are hungry, and they do not stop until they reach satiety. They do not need calorie charts and personal trainers, to be able to keep a healthy weight and they do not develop chronic diseases. When food is abundant, animals multiply, they do not get obese.

For more than 2 million years dietary fat was part of our diet (I will write on this more in detail in a different post). Agriculture started only 10.000 years ago (it equals only to 3 percent of our time on Earth) and was not adopted immediately around the world. In the north (Germany, Scandinavia) for example, it appeared much later. Table sugar became widely available only 100 years ago.

"For a modern disease to be related to an old-fashioned food [fat] is one of the most ludicrous things I ever heard in my life."
                                                                              - Surgeon General Dr T. L. Cleave

We cannot blame our modern chronic diseases on dietary fat, a nutrient which was always part of our diet. Starches and sugar are new to the human diet. So, it makes sense to see if these "new" foods have any relationship with the appearance of the "diseases of civilisation". We can observe around the world that chronic diseases appeared when refined carbohydrates and sugar were introduced into native, traditional diets. The type food we are eating today has very little similarity to what we adapted to eat.

We can also see on these maps below that there is a negative correlation between fat consumption and death from coronary heart disease. The more fat in the diet, the lower the number of death from heart disease:

World Health Organization Figures 2005 showing fat consumed (left)
and deaths from coronary heart disease (right).

Dietary fat is not only harmless, it is beneficial to human beings.

If you want to know more, here is another study how fat consumption is inversely associated with obesity.

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