We came across an article (written by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD) that expertly summarized the history of how we got to this state of chronic disease; wethought it deserved a blog and a link.
To understand how we got here, you need some context. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (Crisco) was introduced in 1911, and by 1920, almost everybody had it on their shelf. Thirty years later, middle-aged men were dropping dead of what was—at the time—a rare incident called a myocardial infarction (otherwise known as a heart attack). This caused a big concern in the medical community at the time, and a pathologist named Ancel Keys suggested what was later called the “Lipid Theory of Heart Disease”.
Now, as a pathologist, Dr. Keys would have seen autopsies of these men and seen the fatty deposits in their arteries. He didn’t have a biochemistry background; he thought that because these deposits looked like saturated fat, that saturated fat must be the cause. Dr. Keys was a very loud and proud man and yielded a great deal of influence—especially within the government of the day. Despite contradictory data, he pushed his saturated fat agenda and even worse, had scientists and physicians who opposed his theory fired. His narrow view of a low fat, high carbohydrate diet (the so-called heart healthy diet, or Puritan diet) became government policy.
This dangerous and unnatural diet of cold cereals, margarine, and processed vegetable oils replaced a traditional diet of meat and fats (e.g. good old bacon and eggs). Heart disease went on to become the #1 killer when in 1900, dying of a heart attack was almost unheard of.
When reverting to our traditional diet, remember that saturated fat makes up 40% of our cell membranes; in fact, saturated fat is the preferred fuel of the heart, so don’t be afraid of well-sourced, high quality saturated fat.
If you want a more complete history, please read The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz. This book is an excellent and complete history of one of the biggest and, as it turns out, dangerous food experiments in history.
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