The Skinny on Fats
David Brownstein, MD and Sheryl Shenefelt, CN
The subject of fats and oils is complicated and fraught with misconceptions—so much so that explaining the myths
and truths about fat can be long and complicated. People’s eyes glaze over when you try to explain it all, even though information on fats and oils can be life changing and life saving. Brownstein and Shenefelt have solved these hurdles with this very well put together book on fats and oils.
The authors start with a summary of surprising facts about fats:
1. We need fat in our diet to live!
2. Fat does not make us fat!
3. A lowfat diet is not healthy!
4. Fat performs many essential functions in our bodies!
5. Some dietary fats are better than others!
6. Saturated fat is not the enemy!
7. Saturated fat and cholesterol do not cause heart disease!
8. Dietary fat is not the culprit of disease!
9. Canola oil and other refined vegetable oils are not healthy for you!
10. Low-cholesterol food does not do your body good!
Even if readers go no further than this short introductory section, they will be much wiser than before. But for those who want more information, there follows chapters that detail the structure of fats, the different types of fats and oils, the role of cholesterol in the body and problems with lowfat diets. Particularly interesting are discussions on your brain’s absolute dependence on fat and how eating fat can assist weight loss. The authors point out that getting enough fat affects mood and behavior, cognitive function, mental acuity, focus and clarity. Lowfat diets can lead to depression, reduced mental capacity and behavior problems. Cholesterol is concentrated in the myelin sheath so attempts to reduce cholesterol can lead to serious degenerative disorders of the nervous system, including multiple sclerosis and dementia.
Brownstein and Shenefelt devote a whole chapter to the subject of fats and children—for it is our children who are
paying the greatest price for the anti-saturated-fat, anti-cholesterol folly. Children’s brains need lots of fat and cholesterol for proper development. Children need butter, eggs, cream, cheese and meat fats, not margarine, spreads and lowfat products.
The book ends with a nice collection of recipes dripping with butter, cream and cheese. Thumbs up.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2014