“The more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person’s serum (blood) cholesterol.”-William Castelli M.D. Framingham Director
One of my favorite documentaries is FatHead. I’ve probably watched this movie 10 times, and when I first received it I had family members and friends watch it also. If you consume low-fat dairy, margarine, canola oil, soy oil or any other vegetable oils, and believe that saturated fats should be avoided or minimized then you need to see this film.
FatHead was developed as a rebuttal to Supersize Me. The film creator Tom Naughton, created the documentary to show that saturated fats are not the cause of heart disease, obesity, and type two diabetes. He decided to consume fast food and only fast food for 28 days, to see if it affected his cholesterol, weight, and overall health. He decided to stick to 2000 calories a day, and limit carbohydrates to 100 grams a day. He interviewed Al Sears, M.D., Dr’s Michael and Mary Dan Eades., Dr. Mary Enig, and Sally Fallon president of the Weston A Price foundation.
He starts off discussing certain diets that he tried such as a vegetarian diet, the Pritikin diet where your fat is to remain under 10% (Pritikin had leukemia and later committed suicide.) He also tried the Fit For Life diet where you follow food combining rules, and only consumed juice and fruit until noon. He felt great at first until the sugar rush wore off and he crashed. Sound familiar?
How did Americans become misled about saturated fat? It started with Ansel Keys in the late 1950s, he was investigating cardiovascular disease, and was determined to prove that saturated fats cause heart disease. He published a study displaying 7 countries. Showing that countries that consumed high fat diets had a higher incidence of heart disease, and those that consumed a low fat diet had low incidences of heart disease. In truth, he studied 22 countries there were countries that consumed high amounts of saturated fat and had low incidences of heart disease, and there were countries that consumed low amounts of saturated fat had and had high incidences of heart disease.
George Mann M.D. a Framingham Researcher stated that the greatest scientific scam of the century, perhaps any century is that heart attacks are correlated with high cholesterol, and that individuals with low or normal levels are just as prone to heart attacks, therefore there is no relation. What could be causing these issues? Dr. Mary Eades says the real issue is inflammation, this could be from lifestyle factors such as smoking, high levels of stress, high blood pressure, or dietary choices such as refined carbohydrates, and consuming too much sugar.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest(CSPI) ran with the lipid hypothesis and deemed the term “artery-clogging” fat. The CSPI has been advocating a plant based diet since they were formed in 1971. One of their accomplishments was banning the use of beef tallow to fry french fries in 1989, which were replaced with tran-fats(they later called upon the FDA to label all foods that contain cholesterol-raising trans-fats.) One of the founders, Michael Jacobson who is also the executive director is a vegetarian and sits on the national board of the animal-rights oriented “Great American Meatout.” On the CSPI website they have a section called Eating Green, which advocates consuming more plant-based foods and less meat and dairy to extend you health. All though the CSPI considers themselves to provide useful, objective information on food, alcohol and health I feel their main goal is to spread their vegetarian agenda.
One of the people interviewed is Al Sears M.D., who states that are natural preferences are sweet, salty, and fat, and that these are the foods that are good for us. When were talking sweets, I don’t mean a candy bar, but fruit or underground vegetables such as yams, sweet potatoes, beets, and carrots. That the fat we consumed from the beginning of time was primarily saturated fat, and that is the type of fat we should be consuming.
What is cholesterol and what does it do? Cholesterol is vital for living, without it you would be dead. Your brain and nervous system is full of cholesterol. Almost all of your hormones are made from cholesterol. Guess what’s related to low cholesterol? Depression, anxiety, suicide, hyperthyroidism, liver disease, malabsorption, and malnutrition.
So what about LDL and HDL? Should you be concerned if you have high LDL? LDL and HDL are not cholesterol, they are proteins that carry cholesterol through your blood. LDL carries cholesterol from your liver to your tissues, and HDL carries old cholesterol back through your liver where it’s recycled. According to Mrs. Eades if you consume more saturated fat, then it will raise your HDL. I can personally attest to to this. In September of 2008 my HDL was 66. In December of 2009, after increasing my intake of saturated fat my HDL was 82. The problem with looking at LDL, is that there’s two different types there’s the small dense ones type B LDL which are known to be harmful, and then there’s the second type the big fluffy ones called Type A which are of no harm. You can have your doctor order a blood test called polyacrylamide gradient gel electrophoresis which measures particle size and determines whether a person has blood cholesterol LDL pattern A or LDL pattern B.
At the end of the movie there are bonus interviews that I recommend you watch. If you want to watch a couple more trailers for the film click here.
Disclaimer: I am not advocating a diet of fast food, and I highly recommend people view Food Inc. Which is available to watch instantly on Netflix.
- Resources: Bias and Nutritional Data
- CSPI website
- Your Cholesterol Profile
- The Overlooked Health Risks of Very Low Cholesterol