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Fats that Kill, Fats that Heal by Udo Erasmus

Fats that Kill, Fats that Heal by Udo Erasmus

A Thumbs Down Book Review

Fats that Kill, Fats that Heal
By Udo Erasmus
Review by Sally Fallon

Fats That Kill, Fats That Heal is one of the few books for the lay public on the subject of fats and oils. It has sold well and is quoted everywhere. While there is some good information in the book, the facts about fats are so intertwined with error as to present a tangled skein, likely to do more harm than good.

The author has worked as a salesman for several companies specializing in cold-pressed vegetable oils, which explains his bias towards polyunsaturated oils and against saturated animal fats and tropical oils, bias that is highly tinged with error. For example, Erasmus states that 16-carbon saturated palmitic acid is the major fatty acid in coconut oil, leaving the impression that coconut oil has no particular health benefits; whereas coconut oil contains very little palmitic acid but is especially rich in beneficial lauric acid. His stand on butter is particularly egregious. He declares that butter is a “neutral” fat, useful for frying but not necessary, and dangerous in excess—wrong on every count. Butter is not neutral, but a highly beneficial source of fat soluble vitamins, anti-carcinogenic substances and antimicrobial fatty acids, hence a very necessary component of the American diet. There is nothing dangerous about including large amounts of butter in the diet, and while fine for sauteing, it is not a particularly good fat for frying. Stable tallows or palm oil are better.

Erasmus neglects to tell his readers that dietary saturated fats are very important for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids, especially for the omega-3 fatty acids in flax oil that he has promoted so heavily. He downplays the dangers of excess polyunsaturates, even omega-3 polyunsaturates. The result is that many people, on Udo’s advice, are now taking dangerous amounts of flax oil that the body cannot properly utilize.

Udo also gives the nod to canola oil, which almost always contains dangerous trans fatty acids formed during processing and which causes vitamin E deficiency in test animals.

His most recent gambit is the promotion of hemp oil, which has never been traditionally consumed by humans and which contains cannabinoids, the active ingredients of marijuana. Unsuspecting disciples have flunked their workplace urine drug tests the morning after a salad prepared with hemp oil. Others have suffered gastrointestinal disorders and psychological effects from hemp oil salad dressing.

Fats That Kill Fats That Heal is more sales pitch than professional science—buyer beware!

Sally Fallon Morell is the founding president of the Weston A. Price Foundation and founder of A Campaign for Real Milk. She is the author of the best-selling cookbook, Nourishing Traditions (with Mary G. Enig, PhD) and the Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care (with Thomas S. Cowan, MD). She is also the author of Nourishing Broth (with Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN).

7 Responses to Fats that Kill, Fats that Heal by Udo Erasmus

  1. Jorx O says:

    Respectfully, I disagree with Sally in this review. I’ve read both Nutrition and Physical Degeneration as well as Fats that Heal…
    a) *PASTEURIZED* butter is not a healthy addition to the American diet. Sally should mention this, and I believe she is referring to whole fat butter from raw milk as Dr. Price did.

    Hemp oil itself has to go through very strict requirements to be commercially sold. A typical batch may test as 0.0004% THC or less.

    Canola oil is bad bad bad, I agree. But Udo never promoted it, and certainly the industrially refined crap found in stores today…

  2. Giulietta Dellhi says:

    Yes this review is nonsense: there is no cannabis in hemp seeds from which the oil is pressed: hemp oil is without doubt the most nutritious food oil there is and has been widely used as such for thousands of years.
    She hasn’t read the book properly. It is very dense and scholarly – unlike her review. The warnings in the book about animal-sourced saturated fats don’t avoid the necessity for saturated fats in the diet
    My money says the woman who wrote this review is well overweight like over one quarter of her country folk !

  3. Elizabeth Barrett says:

    You all should read PEO Solutions by Brian Peskin and Robert Rowen, MD. 2014

    You all have a lot to learn, and as the comments point out, many careless statements
    have been made which erase any credibility of the authors of such statements.

    I read Udo Erasmus book in 1996 around the time it was first published, and as such he is a pioneer of sorts
    in the arena of good/bad fats and oils. But he missed a couple of things including the importance of unadulterated
    Omega 6 – as all of you are, as well.

    Time and 21st century science may well prove that Mary Enid didn’t quite get it right either – dying
    of a stroke ….that was caused by clogged arteries? My guess it was the rancid Cod Liver Oil that Mary boasts
    she took all her life. A wonder she lived to 84.

  4. Mike D says:

    I’ve read both Sally Fallon and Udo Erasmus, and in light of the fact that they agree on so much I find it sad to see them arguing over butter. Both authors are in search of optimal health, and both authors base their conclusions on meticulous scientific research. They are in agreement that sugar, refined foods, white foods, deep fried foods, trans-fats, and hydrogenated fats like margarine are at the root of most of our health problems. They are in agreement that vegetables and whole grains and a moderate amount of fish are an essential part of a healthy diet, and that problems with arterial cholesterol are in large part due to mineral deficiencies. They are in agreement that a plentitude of healthy fats is a key part of an optimal diet. Where they may disagree is what constitutes a healthy fat. Fallon recommends healthy doses of grass fed and wild meats, dairy, and butter. Udo favors limiting saturated fats, which he views as a serious health risk, although he states that a moderate amount of animal fats should be fine in a nutritionally rich diet (plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants). He emphasizes an ample supply of omega 3 rich expeller pressed oils like flax, hemp, chia, safflower, sunflower, and so on. He prescribes this in combination with lots of antioxidants from vegetables and supplements to counteract the higher tendency to form free radicals. Udo breaks down butter’s benefits and detracting features and concludes that it is a wash in an otherwise healthy diet with normal metabolism. Sally counters that he has missed some of the beneficial constituents of butter in his analysis. OK, big whoop. You are either going to tend towards limiting your meat and butter and upping your flax oil and supplements, or you will tend towards eating more meat and butter from free range sources and plenty of organic veg. Either way, if you follow the rest of their dietary suggestions about which they are in agreement, you are going to be eating a healthy diet and be better for it. Come on guys, you are on the same team. Life is too short to quibble over spilt butter.

    • Willie Torrey says:

      I agree with your atttitude on the matter Mike. I would love to arrange a syposium that would include the two of them talking and hashing out their differences and joining the rest of us in a united campaign to educate the general public on eating the right fats.

  5. William M says:

    Mike and Willie are both right.
    As in a way are Sally and Udo.
    The work of Udo is pioneering
    and very big,as was the work
    of Weston Price. Mary Enig was
    also good, but not as comprehensive
    as the painstaking research of
    Udo.He did mention The China
    Study,which is the key to this issue
    of saturated fats.7% of animal
    products is nominated as the
    sensible level after which disease is shown to escalate. Wild and game
    is often quoted as best.Farmed has
    its limitations as does pasteurised dairy.The information is all in Udo’s
    book, which cannot be read in a day.
    I came across his work when it was
    first published and it led me to adopt the idea that I am a (bad) vegetarian
    and consume about 3% of my food as animal products, being raw dairy,eggs,fish,meats,wild or grass fed or organic.The China Study by Campbell is also an enormous work and all of these a gift to humanity. Weston Price would not have wanted
    this confusion over interpretation of finer points.Thank you Udo Erasmus.
    Thank you Dr Weston Price.Thank you Dr Campbell.Thank you to the Legion of pioneers like Edward Howell with his book “Enzymes”,Thank you Linus Pauling for telling us about Vitamin C combined with lysine.

  6. Robin Keuneke says:

    Fats That Heal Fats That Kill is comprehensive and excellent. I am a nutrition writer and published author, and tis is THE holy grail on the subject of fats and oils.

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