Anyone who reads my books or this blog will soon realize that I am a passionate advocate for the benefits of eating animal fat.
Anyone who has seen me in the kitchen knows that I practice what I preach, NEVER trimming off any fat from the meat, using large amounts of natural lard, pastured butter, grassfed beef tallow, lamb tallow, bison suet, uncured fatty bacon, and duck fat in my cooking.
Anyone who has seen me at the dinner table will know that I put my fork where my advocacy is, eating huge amounts of pastured butter, grassfed animal fat, well-marbled grassfed meat, chicken skin, turkey skin, duck skin, goose skin, pastured pork fat, and the crisp wonderful fat from all kinds of roasts.
When people learn about my fondness for animal fat, they almost always ask this question, in one form or another—“But what about the cholesterol? Doesn’t that fat contain plenty of cholesterol?”
Yes, it does. And that is one of the reason I eat it—for the cholesterol.
The Blessings of Cholesterol
I recently had the pleasure of watching a DVD entitled “The Oiling of America.” This DVD was made during a lecture given by Sally Fallon Morell, the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation. The lecture was based on research done by Dr. Mary Enig, the renowned scientist who discovered the danger in artificial trans fats. I highly recommend this DVD to everyone, and it is my source for this column.
Some of the most important facts I learned from this superb DVD are as follows:
- Cholesterol is vital for life and the natural functions of the body.
- If you had no cholesterol, you would be dead. It is that simple.
- Cholesterol is used by the body to keep water out of our cells, so they can function properly.
- Cholesterol is used by the body to make Vitamin D, in combination with sunlight.
- Cholesterol is used by the body to make many vital hormones, including all the sex hormones.
- Cholesterol is what the body uses to repair damage. Cholesterol actually repairs tears in arteries, rather than clogging them. The body uses cholesterol to repair other wounds and damage as well.
- Cholesterol is used by the immune system to fight off infections and disease.
- Cholesterol is crucial for the proper functioning of our brains—much of the brain is made up of cholesterol.
- Cholesterol is used by the body to make serotonin, the chemical used by the body to prevent depression.
- Cholesterol is a powerful antioxidant, used by the natural functions of the body to protect itself from free radicals. Free radicals have been implicated in many diseases, such as cancer.
These are just some of the blessings of cholesterol, there are many others.
Some of the other facts I learned from The Oiling of America:
- Cholesterol does not cause heart disease.
- Cholesterol does not clog arteries. In fact, when arteries or damaged or clogged, the body sends cholesterol to fix the problem. That is why some cholesterol is found in clogged arteries, along with much larger amounts of other substances that actually clog the arteries. Blaming cholesterol for clogging arteries is like blaming firemen for the damage caused by a fire they fight.
- Women and all elderly people with higher cholesterol live longer and are healthier than women and elderly with low cholesterol.
- Eating cholesterol does not increase the cholesterol level, as the body will make the cholesterol it needs and does not get from food. Trouble comes when a weakened body cannot make enough cholesterol, and there is not enough cholesterol in the diet.
- All the cholesterol made by the body and included in natural foods is good, and is used by the body. The only bad cholesterol is an oxidized form found in some processed and refined foods.
But What about the Studies?
Yes, there are a number of studies that are interpreted to support the common belief that cholesterol is bad for health and causes heart disease. Most of these studies are funded by drug companies, or other organizations that have a direct financial interest in perpetuating the error that cholesterol is bad. Because of this conflict of interest, they do not persuade me.
Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Mary Enig do a great job of exposing the statistical manipulation, cherry picking, tricks, and other misleading mechanisms used to misinterpret the results of these studies, going through this in great detail. After seeing the calm and convincing debunking of these studies, it is clear that they have been manipulated for a reason. And that reason is profit.
Finally, all of the healthy peoples studied by Dr. Weston A. Price ate foods rich in cholesterol, in amounts much greater than any modern people. None of them had heart disease.
My thanks to Sally Fallon Morell for giving me permission to use the information in The Oiling of America. You can purchase the DVD Oiling of America here.
I will continue to enjoy my delicious diet rich in natural animal fats, knowing it is great for the natural functions of my body.
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