A Big Fat Fallacy
The Palm Beach Post’s special section on healthful eating for seniors in Thursday’s paper got it partly right, but other morsels of information were just a rehashing of the wrong-headed dictums perpetrated by the medical establishment for decades.
Righting a wrong
“People over age 50 should increase their intake of unsaturated fats and reduce consumption of saturated fats,” the Post article advised. The first part of that sentence is partly right, and the second half is all wrong. Unsaturated fats from vegetable oils, which usually have been processed, are high in omega-6, which we get too much of, according to David Brownstein, M.D., in his newsletter, Natural Way to Health. He lectures internationally to physicians and has authored a number of books, including The Guide to Healthy Eating and Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do. He has promoted my health in at least three obvious ways: The probiotic that he developed has worked wonders; following his recommendation for increasing consumption of sea salt virtually ended my painful leg cramps; and the prostate supplement he developed reduced my nocturnal need to urinate from several times to one.
Dr. David Brownstein
Alpha doctor talks omegas
“As a result of our government’s flawed advice,” he writes, “the estimated ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in the U.S. diet is somewhere between 1:20 and 1:60. That’s a wide variance, but there is no doubt that we are simply eating far too much omega-6 essential fatty acids, and that is because of our use of vegetable oils,” which are found in most packaged foods. Optimal ratio is between 1:2 and 1:4 – half to a quarter of omega 3 to omega 6.
Though the Post article didn’t advocate more omega-6 consumption, it didn’t recommend less, either. The unsaturated fats it referred to were omega-3 fatty acids, found in nuts, olives, seeds, and fatty fishes.
Fine, but the paper also derogated saturated fat, and that was a sin of commission, not just omission.
Eat good fats.
“We do need adequate amounts of fat in our diet, and we need the right kind of fats,” Brownsteinsays. “Increased vegetable oil consumption has been a large part of a low-fat propaganda campaign promoted by the various establishment medical powers like the AMA over the last 35 years. They have convinced the vast majority of us that most fats are bad for us and that the healthiest diets are the diets that promote low-fat foods.
“This misinformation has been a disaster for our health. Eating primarily a low-fat diet is a recipe for becoming deficient in fat-soluble vitamins, as well as proteins and minerals. In order to digest and absorb protein in the diet, we need fat. Furthermore, mineral absorption is enhanced by fat in the diet. I have seen countless patients over the years who eat a low-fat diet and have protein deficiencies, as well as multiple vitamin and mineral shortfalls.
Fats are healthy.
“One of the first pieces of advice I give to my patients is to avoid low-fat food items. If there is a choice between a reduced-fat item and a regular-fat item, choose the regular-fat item. My experience has shown that most patients suffering from metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension are actually fat deficient. They need to incorporate good fats into their diets.”
And this is where saturated fats come in.
“Saturated fats have received a bad rap from physicians and dietitians as well as the media,” Brownstein writes. “In fact, we cannot live without saturated fats. My experience has shown that most people do not ingest adequate amounts of them.” They are stable, withstanding high temperatures in cooking. They “give our cells the strength to maintain structure and, since they predominate in our brains, they are especially crucial for a baby’s brain development.”
So if you’re trying to insult someone by calling him a “fathead,” you may be complimenting him. And if you’re wondering what to choose among the bottles of low-fat, no-fat and whole milk staring at you from the grocery store cooler, forget about the fat and pick the whole milk, which not only is more healthy, but tastes better. Nature did not design this diet staple to cause harm to its consumers. The fat is beneficial.
Coconut and palm oil, cultured dairy products, butter, and meat are good sources of saturated fat. Monounsaturated fats also are healthy, and are found in avocados, nuts, and olive oil.
“Healthy fats should be part of anyone’s healthy diet plan,” the doctor says. “It is impossible to get healthy fats in a low-fat diet. Low-fat foods should be avoided entirely, in my view.”
Whole-grain notion half-baked
Another piece of advice where the Post goes astray is consumption of whole-grain breads and cereals to obtain fiber. Eating one slice of whole-wheat bread spikes one’s blood sugar level as much as do two tablespoons of sugar, some doctors and nutritionists say. Fruits and vegetables are much better sources of fiber.
But it’s no wonder conventional medicine puts out this bad nutritional advice. Dr. Brownstein says he had one three-hour course on nutrition in medical school. The schools mostly ignore nutritional training. Instead, they push pills – a lot more money to be made.