Sally Fallon Morell has written a new book, published last month, titled Nourishing Fats: Why We Need Animal Fats for Health and Happiness. In a smoothly flowing 182 pages, she shows why saturated fat and cholesterol are not the villains they are made out to be.
Parents of infants and young children will be drawn first to Chapter 8, “Remember the Little Ones: Why Children Need Animal Fats.” Beneath this title in the table of contents she writes: “Children need animal fats for normal growth and the development of their brains. But at the two-year checkup, doctors warn moms not to give saturated fats to their toddlers, and whole milk is forbidden in school lunches—despite consistent science showing that children on low fat diets are more likely to suffer from allergies, asthma, learning disorders and obesity. We are literally starving our children in the name of phony science.”
The human brain continues to make billions of new brain cells after birth for some number of years. They need saturated fats and cholesterol to form healthy, waterproof cell membranes. Fallon Morell spells out the many important roles saturated fats and cholesterol play in the body, like supporting the “formation of sex hormones, needed in copious quantities during pregnancy.” She points out that “Nearly half of the fatty acids in human breast milk are saturated, suggesting that dietary saturated fats are critical to the development of infants and young children. Saturated fats are so important during these critical stages of development that their abundant presence in breast milk is universal among mammals.”
Nourishing Fats: Why W... Best Price: $6.49 Buy New $6.08 (as of 04:20 EDT - Details) In the first chapter, “The Greatest Villains,” she tracks the unfolding demonization of saturated fat and cholesterol. It began in 1912 with the pernicious marketing of Crisco—its name comes from CRYStalized Cottonseed Oil—by Proctor and Gamble. The company promoted this hydrogenated trans-fat, first used to make candles and soap, as a “healthier alternative to cooking with animal fats.” At the time, Americans used lard (pork fat), tallow (beef and lamb fat), and butter for cooking and baking food. She next addresses the fake science of cholesterol studies in rabbits, who as herbivores are not designed to digest animal fats and cholesterol. Then there is the Framingham Heart Study, where largely ignored follow-up reports contradict its initial findings that high cholesterol blood levels cause heart disease. She shows how the 1977 McGovern Report advocating low-fat “Dietary Goals for the United States” and the 1984 Cholesterol Consensus Conference have played fast and loose with the science.
Other chapters include “A Short Lesson on the Biochemistry of Fats,” “The Many Roles of Saturated Fat,” and “Animal Fats for the Mind.” In the Table of Contents below a chapter titled “Not Guilty as Charged” she writes: “Animal fats get the blame for everything from cancer to ingrown toenails—and none of these accusations is true! The science shows that saturated animal fats actually protect us from chronic disease.”
The last chapter’s title is “The Queen of Fats: Why Butter is Better.” Below it she writes, “The queen of fats, butter is loaded with nutrients the body needs to be healthy and happy. Starve yourself of butter during the day and you’ll crave ice cream when nighttime rolls around. Modern processing technologies cannot come close to providing in spreads and margarines the range of vitamins and lipid components present in butter. Nature’s fat for optimal growth and development.”
Fallon Morell confirms that butter contains a variety of healthful saturated fats. These include, among others, short chain (4-carbon) butyric acid, medium chain (12-carbon) lauric acid, and long chain (14-carbon) myristic acid. Butyric acid occurs almost exclusively in butter and has anti-fungal properties as well as anti-tumor effects. It also helps increase the number of thyroid hormone receptors on cells. Lauric acid has both strong anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Only the mammary glands in humans can make lauric acid. These two fats are absorbed directly without any help from bile salts into the bloodstream and provide quick energy. Butter also is the most common source of myristic acid, which plays important roles in the body. (Coconut oil contains large quantities of lauric acid.)
Butter also contains the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K2. Fallon Morell devotes a separate chapter to them, with this caveat: “Critical vitamins A, D, and K2 occur uniquely in animal fats—and Westerners are woefully deficient in these nutrients. The body uses vitamins A, D and K2 for everything from proper vision to growth to fertility.” These vitamins help produce and activate various proteins, notably matrix Nourishing Traditions:... Best Price: $5.28 Buy New $14.37 (as of 09:50 EDT - Details) GLA (gamma-carboxyglutamic) protein that removes calcium from coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart. One action of Vitamin A, among many, is that it helps the body deal with dioxins and pesticides
“Food” producers make imitation butter with solid, colorless trans-fats, adding yellow dye to make this dangerous fat look like butter. Now outed, industrial processed trans-fats cause cancer, interfere with insulin receptors in the cells, and interfere with the (desaturase) enzymes required to convert the parent Omega-6 (linoleic) and Omega-3 (alpha linolenic) acids into their important elongated versions, AA (arachidonic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) respectively. She devotes wo chapters to this subject, titled “The Rancid and the Trans” and “AA and DHA.”
The healthiest butter comes from cream that free ranging, contented cows eating grass in sunlit pastures produce. This butter has a natural deep yellow color indicative of high levels of Omega-3 fats and fat soluble vitamins. Butter from industrially confined cows denied access to green pastures has 10 to 13-times less vitamin A and 3-times less vitamin D than grass-fed cows. My wife and I consume Amish butter, which we purchase at a local grocery store in the small town where we live. Amazon has it.
As President of the Weston A. Price Foundation and Editor of Wise Traditions: in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts (the Foundation’s quarterly journal), Sally Fallon Morell commands an encyclopedic knowledge of butter and saturated fats. She states, “No one studied butter more thoroughly than Dr. Weston A. Price. Throughout the 1930s, he analyzed thousands of butter samples shipped to him from all over the world.”
She dedicates Nourishing Fats “To the memory of Mary G. Enig, PhD” (1931-2014), her long-time colleague, friend, and coauthor of key articles and books. The two books they wrote together are Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and Diet Dictocrats (1995) and Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The healthy Alternative to Trans Fats (2005). More than 30 years ago, Dr. Enig exposed the connection between trans-fat margarine and heart disease and cancer. The medical establishment first ignored her, then vilified her, and finally years later treated her findings concerning trans-fat as an unsurprising, obvious fact.
Sally Fallon Morell is a skilled writer with a sharp scientific mind. She cites 707 up-to-date references in this book, which I was pleased to see includes this one: “Statins stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure: pharmacological mechanisms,” by Okuyama H, et al., in the March 2015 issue of Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology (volume 8, pages 389-99). This book also has 32 pages of recipes and 22 pages of notes.
A careful reading of Nourishing Fats: Why We Need Animal Fats for Health and Happiness will change what you eat and thus improve your health. Despite what the medical establishment, government health authorities, pharmaceutical companies, and the soybean industry still say, saturated animal fats, saturated tropical oils (coconut and palm oil), and cholesterol are not villains. Orthodox claims that they are bad for us wilt and become thoroughly discredited when held up to scientific scrutiny.
The bottom line: “Start eating butter, lots of butter!”
Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The... Best Price: $0.98 Buy New $5.02 (as of 12:40 EDT - Details) I address this subject in my 2011 Lew Rockwell article “Enjoy Saturated Fats, They’re Good for You!” It is drawn from a talk I gave on saturated fats earlier that year at the 29th Annual Meeting of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness in Albuquerque. This 53-minute talk is available on YouTube HERE (there have been 325,000 views of it so far). Some of the slides I used in that talk are reproduced in this LRC article.
Graduating from medical school in 1965 and pursuing a 40-year career as an academic member of the medical establishment performing and teaching heart surgery, I unquestioningly adhered to the low-fat creed. For far too long. Then, in 2005, I came upon an article that Mary Enig, PhD and Sally Fallon (now Sally Fallon Morell) wrote titled “The Oiling of America,” first published in the magazine Nexus in 1999. This article stimulated me to look more carefully into the matter and discover that the conventional wisdom regarding saturated fats and cholesterol is false.