Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Polyunsaturated Fats and Health

Has your doctor recommended that you choose polyunsaturated fats for health? Do you read in magazines and online about how great polyunsaturated fats are, while saturated fats are the enemy? Common health rhetoric stipulates that to maintain health we avoid saturated fats in anything containing these fats - butter, red meat, eggs, and certainly no dark or organ meats. But did you know that this advice, commonly given out by medical professionals, is one of the very things that has been adding to our health epidemic of heart disease and obesity - just to name a few?

This comes in the midst of a medical community that is now heralding the prescription of anti-cholesterol drugs to patients who are younger and younger. We've observed over the last two decades as advertisements for drugs claiming to solve every health issue from arthritis to sexual dysfunction appear more and more often on television and publications - and the drug created to lower cholesterol, Statin, is no exception. Is it really that everyone has a chronic health issue or is it the greediness of the pharmaceutical industry that is causing this stir? Or, could it be a yet a third offender responsible for this problem - industrially-produced meats and dairy products, as well as other fats?

The answer is that all three play an integral role. Here's how:
  • The health problem that has arisen from eating meat (as we discussed in yesterday's post More Evidence Vegetarian Philosophies Fall Short on Environmental and Health Concerns) is due to mass production and over-consumption of industrial meats (as well as other industrial foods). Factory-farmed meats scarcely resemble real food for many reasons - animals slaughtered for meat are raised in feedlots, standing in manure, living sedentary lives, eating genetically-modified grains, soy, and corn, and are administered all types of chemicals (steroids, antibiotics, hormones) to "perfectly" engineer their existence from birth to death to maximize profits. When your meat is that much departed from the grass-fed variety that comes from animals allowed to live healthy lives as intended by nature, there's no question that eating it will cause your body to become sick.
  • Everyone who eats this type of meat and dairy products - which represents a majority of people since most of what is available to the public is of the industrial variety - will eventually develop these health issues. For more information about just how harmful factory meat is to human health, visit Sustainable Table and Mother Earth News.
  • Big pharma has profited greatly from selling these drugs. Consistent reports and findings tell us so again and again. If you don't pay for it - let's say you are on welfare or don't make enough money to afford the drugs, the government will pay for it - which ultimately means all of us, the taxpayers that is, will pay for it. If the federal prescription plan forks out the money, annually we will see tens of millions of dollars added to our national debt. To compensate, the government must make more money to put into circulation, and the value of the dollar continues to sink lower and lower.
Who needs saturated fats?

Everyone does. Many parts of your body need saturated fats and cholesterol to be healthy. Your brain, for instance, is an intensively cholesterol-rich environment. Fat and cholesterol are essential for brain development in infants and children, and it is paramount for helping to support memory and learning in people of all ages. Saturated fats also aid the immune system, protect the liver from toxins, and improve cell membrane integrity.

The heart is another organ which requires the proper amount of saturated fat and cholesterol to maintain its integrity, performance, and structure. The Framingham Study, one of the most well-known medical investigations of this phenomena which is still being conducted reveals that up until the early 1920's, heart disease was not common in this country. Industrialization of meat raising and producing processes began in the late 1800s, and as a result took its toll on the health of the citizens consuming those foods. Heart disease has been steadily on the rise since then, and coincidentally so has the consumption of more and more processed foods.

For decades, medical communities have succeeded in making criminals out of these critical nutrients, and the number of people who continue to become obese and develop heart disease steadily climbs like a circus monkey. At the same time, our health experts extol the virtues of polyunsaturated fats - substances which coincidentally are found in an array of foods we are told are healthy for us - vegetable oils (such as cottonseed, soybean, corn oil) - when in fact these foods are the very things that cause degenerative disease and inflammation. Just have a peek at what the Mayo Clinic recommends to maintain a healthy heart. Pretty interesting. So why would a major medical hospital (and many others) put their names and reputation behind such untruths? Well, it is true that medical entities are closely tied to the pharmaceutical companies....are you starting to see a connection?

Although The Mayo Clinic doctors do admit that Omega 3 source of fish oils are beneficial, it is shocking to read that in their list of harmful fats it is recommended to avoid eggs, meat, poultry, lard, and butter - and the fact that these healthful foods are lumped in with trans fats - fats which everyone agrees have a profoundly negative effect on health. It seems unfathomable to have such a blatant contradiction on a medical web site. But believe's there. Even though most medical doctors lack a good understanding of nutrition, this in no way excuses the irresponsibility of these statements in view of available research and evidence on the subject.

For more information about how important saturated fats and cholesterol are for health, visit Whole Health Source and The Health Report featuring Dr. Mary Enig, PhD., and Sally Fallon - world renowned experts on the subject.

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