I think the timing for this book is just right. Many fine researchers and writers have paved the way for the collapse of the anti-saturated fat dogma, most notably Nina Teicholz, whose excellent book The Big Fat Surprise brought this whole issue to public notice, especially readers for the New York Times, a publication that has featured Nina’s work. Nina exposed the background and fraud that led to the low-fat dietary guidelines, and the dangers of a diet that avoids animal fats, even the so-called Mediterranean diet, which was promoted by Ancel Keys. In the course of writing her book, Nina discovered that the reason you never hear about the French diet (high in saturated fat from butter, cream and meat) and the French paradox (rates of heart disease in France are low) in Keys’ papers is because “Keys didn’t like to travel in France.” No, he preferred the sunny Mediterranean, especially Italy, where he eventually purchased a villa. (Fred Kummerow reports seeing Keys enjoying a breakfast of bacon and eggs at a conference many years ago; when he asked Keys why he wasn’t eating a lowfat breakfast, Keys replied that such diets were only for the masses!)
Nourishing Fats has provided a platform to bring together all that we have learned over the past fifteen years, and its key message is that far from posing a threat to human health, animal fats are essential to physical health and mental well being. Here’s a summary of the chapters in my upcoming book:
Chapter 1: The Greatest Villains: An outline of the campaign to demonize butter and lard while promoting industrial fats and oils as free of cholesterol and saturated fat. This pernicious marketing effort, ongoing since 1913, has relied on flimsy evidence to turn Americans away from nutrient-dense animal fats, in the teeth of mounting evidence that the science supporting these claims is shaky to nonexistent.
Chapter 2: A Short Lesson in the Biochemistry of Fat: Saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated? Omega-3, omega-6, omega-9. Fatty acid, triglycerides, cholesterol? What do all these terms mean? The chemistry of fats is actually not that difficult, and this chapter gives you all the information you need.
Chapter 3: Not Guilty as Charged: Animal fats get the blame for everything from cancer to ingrown toe nails—and none of these accusations is true! The science shows that saturated animal fats actually protect us from chronic disease, including heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s and even weight gain.
Chapter 4: The Many Roles of Saturated Fat: We need saturated fat for the brain, the heart, the kidneys and the lungs, for hormone production and for protection against inflammation—in fact for every cell to work properly. Our bodies can’t function without saturated fat!
Chapter 5: AA and DHA: We get these important fatty acids, which support everything from brain function to gut integrity to healthy skin, exclusively from animal fats.
Chapter 6: Remember the Activators! Critical vitamins A, D and K2 occur uniquely in animal fats—and westerners are woefully deficient in these nutrients. A, D and K2 support everything from proper vision to growth to fertility. Vitamin K2 is essential for wide, attractive facial development and naturally straight teeth in children—we owe a great debt to Chris Masterjohn for figuring out that Dr. Price’s X Factor is actually vitamin K2, and for finding all the research on this important vitamin.
Chapter 7: The Rancid and the Trans: With the revelation that trans fats are bad—bad at any level in the diet—food manufacturers and consumers are using more liquid vegetable oils—but these carry the problem of rancidity. Rancid liquid oils cause uncontrolled reactions on the cellular level; trans fats inhibit reactions. The result of the Standard American Diet containing industrially processed fats and oils is biochemical chaos.
Chapter 8: Remember the Little Ones: 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.
Chapter 9: Animal Fats for the Mind: The key components of animal fats—stearic acid, arachidonic acid, cholesterol, and vitamins A, D and K2–are critical for neurological function and for supporting our emotional biochemistry as well. The receptors for serotonin, the body’s feel-good chemical, can’t work without cholesterol, and vitamin A helps us focus on completing tasks. It’s hard to be happy without plenty of animal fats in the diets.
Chapter 10: Why Butter is Better: 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.
The book is beautifully illustrated by Mary Wooden, and begins with a Foreword by Nina Teicholz. My main hope is that this book will convince American parents to feed their kids butter!
Since its founding in 1999, the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) has served as a lone voice in warning the public about the dangers of the low-fat agenda. WAPF receives no moneys from the food industry or government, and depends on membership fees to carry out its important work. Consider becoming a member to support our efforts to return nutrient-dense foods, including important fats like butter and lard, to American tables.