LINKS AND ADDITIONAL READING
Recommendations for Children
A recipe for future heart disease?
article on fats in the diet from the Weston A. Price Foundation by
Mary Enig, author of Know Your Fats, The Complete Guide to Understanding
the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol. Excerpt:
What happens when children are put on lower
fat diets? When researchers prominently associated with the American Heart
Association fed children lower fat diets and measured some of the markers
they consider important predictors of heart disease, they learned that
these lower fat diets were causing the very problems they wanted to prevent.
The children whose genes would normally have been producing the desirable
light and fluffy form of LDL started to make the dangerous small and dense
form of LDL (Dreon, MD et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2000
71:1611-1616). Thus the US dietary recommendations are likely to be causing
heart disease, not preventing it.
Which Are Good Fats and Oils for Children?
....Good fats are quality dairy fats from
grass-fed cows, such as butter, cream and whole milk. Good fats are natural
fats from properly fed animals, poultry, and fish. These animal fats supply
true vitamin A, vitamin D and the proper cholesterol needed for brain and
vision development. The animal fats also supply other fat soluble nutrients
that support the immune system such as glycosphingolipids. Fish oils such
as cod liver oil also supply important elongated omega-3 fatty acids as
well as vitamins A and D.
....Foods should be chosen so that they
supply a mixture of these different fats and oils. No one fat or oil can
properly suit all purposes, although many of the good quality animal fats
come close. Children need enough of the stable saturated fats, they need
enough of the monounsaturated fats or oils, and they need an adequate amount
and a proper balance of the essential fatty acids, which come primarily
from the omega-3 and omega-6 oils.
....One of the chief dangers of the US Dietary
Guidelines is that they encourage parents to use substitutes for natural
saturated fats, such as margarine and shortening. These manufactured fats
are composed of partially hydrogenated vegetables oils, high in trans fatty
acids. These are particularly dangerous for growing children as they can
interfere with growth and the development of the nervous system, and affect
sexual maturation and fertility. They can also cause cancer and heart disease.
Cave men diets offer insights
to today's health problems, study shows
(Press release from Purdue University)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Eat meat. That's the
dietary advice given by a team of scientists who examined the dietary role
of fat in a study that combined nutritional analysis with anthropologic
research about the diets of ancient hunter-gatherer societies.
But there's a catch: To be as healthy as a
cave man you have to eat certain kinds of fish, wild game such as venison,
or grass-fed meat such as beef.
The research was conducted by Bruce Watkins,
professor and university faculty scholar at Purdue University and director
of the Center for Enhancing Foods to Protect Health, and anthropologist
Loren Cordain, professor of health and exercise science at Colorado State
University and author of "The Paleo Diet" (John Wiley & Sons, 2002).
Watkins and Cordain conducted detailed chemical analysis of the meats people
ate 10,000 years ago and compared those results to the most common meat
people eat today.
They found that wild game, such as venison
or elk meat, as well as grass-fed beef, contain a mixture of fats that
are actually healthy for you, and, the researchers say, lower cholesterol
and reduce other chronic disease risk.
Recent studies have indicated that a healthy
diet should contain a balance of essential fats. The two types of most
concern are omega-6 and omega-3, and both are essential for proper nutrition.
Omega-3 fat, which is often found in high levels in certain fish, has been
shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but too much omega-3
can increase the risk of stroke. Omega-6 fat also is an essential fat,
but too much omega-6 in the diet can contribute to inflammatory responses
associated with of chronic disease.
According to Watkins, the analysis done at
Purdue found that wild elk, deer and antelope from the Rocky Mountains
region have greater amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and a lower and therefore
healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in muscle meats, compared
to grain-fed beef.
"Both grass-fed steers and the wild ruminants
have a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids slightly above two in meat.
In other words, two parts omega-6 to one part omega-3," Watkins says. "That
ratio is much lower than the ratios of 5-to-1 to 13-to-1 reported in previous
studies for grain-fed steers."
Watkins says the low fat ratio of wild ruminants
and grass-fed beef is good news for people who need to reduce their cholesterol.
"The fatty acid ratio in wild ruminants is
consistent with the recent American Heart Association recommendation to
increase the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids found in certain fish in
order to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease," he says.
The results of the study were published in
the January issue of European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The research
was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Purdue University Office
of Research Programs and the Pope & Young Club, a national conservation
Analyzing the foods that people ate 10,000
years ago is not a flight of scientific esoterica. The researchers say
this finding has important implications for what we eat today.
Although 10,000 years ago predates all modern
civilizations, it is a small blip in the evolutionary timeline of humans.
Some nutritionists believe that by studying what people ate in the Paleolithic
Era, also known as the Old Stone Age, they can determine the proper mix
of foods for modern man.
Cordain says anthropological nutritionists
such as himself have studied the few isolated hunter-gatherer societies
such as the Nanamiut of Alaska, the Aborigines of Australia and the !Kung
of Africa that remained into the 20th century and found that modern maladies,
such as heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes, are rare
in these populations.
"Over the past several decades, numerous studies
have found that indigenous populations have low serum cholesterol and triglyceride
levels," Cordain says.
This is despite the fact that their diets
aren't going to reap praise from many modern nutritionists.
"Previous studies by myself and colleagues
had found that nearly all 97 percent of the world's hunter-gatherer
societies would have exceeded recommended guidelines for fat," Cordain
Watkins says although this may be surprising
to many people, it fits exactly with what research is showing about the
importance of specific types of fat in the diet.
"Current research is showing that, with the
decline of fat in the diet, the amount of fat isn't as important as the
relative amounts, or ratio, of specific fats in your diet. It's a qualitative
issue, not a quantitative issue," he says. "By eating more of the good
fat you can lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of cardiovascular
This balance of fats has changed dramatically
in the past century, he adds.
"Generally, our modern diets, especially in
the past 100 years, have changed to where we're consuming excess amounts
of omega-6 fat. Omega-6 is found in high levels in many of the oil seed
crops that we consume," Watkins says. "It's also found in the meat of the
livestock that eat these grains, as this study shows."
Watkins adds that this research suggests new
ways for potential diversification in agricultural production.
"Our study points out that there are opportunities
for ranchers and producers to develop niche markets for grass-fed beef
that fit consumer interest in beef products that deliver special nutrients,"
Watkins says. "There may also be branding opportunities for products like
the Laura's Lean Beef Products."
Writer: Steve Tally, (765) 494-9809; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Bruce Watkins, (765) 494-5802; email@example.com
Loren Cordain, (970) 491-7436; firstname.lastname@example.org
Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: evolutionary implications
for reducing diet-related chronic disease. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002
L. Cordain, Colorado State University, Bruce Watkins, Purdue University,
M. Kehler, CSU, L. Rogers, Purdue, Y Li, Purdue
Hypotheses: Consumption of wild ruminant fat
represented the primary lipid source for pre-agricultural humans. Hence,
the lipid composition of these animals' tissues may provide insight into
dietary requirements that offer protection from chronic disease in modern
Method: We examined the lipid composition
of muscle, brain and subcutaneous adipose tissue (AT) from 17 elk (Cervus
elaphus), 15 mule deer (Odocoileus hermionus), and 17 antelope (Antilicapra
americana), and contrasted them to wild African ruminants and pasture and
Results: Muscle fatty acid (FA) was similar
among North American species with polyunsaturated fatty acids/saturated
acids (P/S) values from 0.80 to 1.09 and n-6/n-3 FA from 2.32 to 2.60.
Marrow FA was similar among North American species with high levels (59.3
percent to 67.0 percent) of monounsaturated FA; a low P/S (0.240.33),
and an n-6/n-3 of 2.242.88. Brain had the lowest n-6/n-3 (1.201.29),
the highest concentration of 22:6 n-3 (elk, 8.90 percent; deer, 9.62 percent;
antelope, 9.25 percent) and a P/S of 0.69. AT had the lowest P/S (0.050.09)
and n-6/n-3 (2.252.96). Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) isomers were found
in marrow of antelope (1.5 percent), elk (1.0 percent) and deer (1.0 percent),
in AT (deer, 0.3 percent; antelope, 0.3 percent) in muscle (antelope, 0.4
percent; elk, trace) but not in brain.
Conclusions: Literature comparisons showed
tissue lipids of North American and African ruminants were similar to pasture-fed
cattle, but dissimilar to grain-fed cattle. The lipid composition of wild
ruminant tissues may serve as a model for dietary lipid recommendations
in treating and preventing chronic disease.
Experts offer the skinny on search for healthy fat
Purdue News; February 2002
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Although current research
suggests that we replace some of the omega-6 fats in our diets with omega-3s
in order to have a healthier balance of essential fats, that's easier said
Diets that are too high in omega-6 fats have
been associated with chronic diseases, such as heart disease, arteriosclerosis,
diabetes and inflammatory tissue disorders, such as certain types of arthritis.
Balancing omega-6 fats with omega-3 fats in the diet, however, have been
found to lessen these problems.
As a result of these findings, the American
Heart Association now recommends eating omega-3 rich fatty fish, such as
sardines, salmon and albacore tuna packed in water, two times per week
to increase the amount of omega-3 fat in the diet.
But Bruce Watkins, professor and university
faculty scholar at Purdue University, says you can find foods other than
fish that also have healthy amounts of omega-3s.
Lean meat, plus fruits and vegetables can
also contain omega-3s. "Now there are also omega-3 enriched eggs that you
can buy in the supermarket," he says.
In the future, more foods will be available
with omega-3s added. Watkins is conducting an experiment of feeding algae
that is high in omega-3s to dairy cattle to increase the amount of this
good fat in their milk.
"We collected the milk fat and made cheese,
butter and yogurt that has high levels of omega-3," he says. "This research
is one of the ongoing projects at the Center for Enhancing Foods to Protect
Health." Watkins is director of the Purdue-based center.
To reduce the amount of omega-6 fat in the
diet, Watkins says to limit fatty meats and vegetable cooking oils, except
canola, olive or flaxseed oil.
"Most of the margarine and vegetable spreads
that we use have high levels of omega-6s. The cooking oils generally have
high levels of omega-6, except canola and flaxseed oil," Watkins says.
"So if you are concerned about the amount of fat in your diet, you shouldn't
buy tuna fish packed in soybean oil, because the soybean oil would dilute
the omega-3s in the tuna."
For those who don't care to eat fish and consider
red meat an essential part of every meal, reducing the amounts of omega-6s
in the diet takes a bit more effort. Research by Watkins and Loren Cordain,
professor of health and exercise science at Colorado State University,
and author of "The Paleo Diet" (John Wiley & Sons, 2002), has shown
that corn-fed cattle produce meat that is high in omega-6 fat.
But the same study, published in the January
issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reported that wild
ruminants and grass-fed beef have an omega-6/omega-3 fat ratio equivalent
to that of wild meat, which also is a good source of omega-3 fat.
"This particular paper shows that wild ruminants
such as deer, elk or bison have a better omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. We also
found that these same healthy fat ratios could be achieved in beef with
grass feeding," Cordain says.
Watkins says this type of beef could become
an important niche product for some people. "Those who have heart disease
or high cholesterol would get benefits from eating this type of beef,"
Grass-fed beef, also known as pasture-fed
beef, should not be confused with organic beef or free-range beef, says
Jo Robinson, author of "Why Grassfed is Best" (Vashon Island Press, 2000)
and co-author of the best-selling diet book, "Omega Diet" (HarperCollins,
"Most all cattle producers, organic farmers
included, send their cattle to feedlots to be fattened on grain for market,"
Robinson says. "The organic farmers just fatten them on organic grain."
Lewis Hunt, a purebred Angus producer in Pleasant
View, Tenn., says grass-fed beef has a reputation for being tougher and
less flavorful than regular beef. "What I've had before didn't have much
fat in it, and so the taste wasn't there," he says. "I didn't think much
But Robinson says modern farming practices
are eliminating these problems.
"My guess is that most people who say they've
eaten grass-fed beef and didn't care for it probably were served beef from
a free-range cow or an old cull cow. This is going to be quite different
from modern pasture-fed cattle," she says. "Modern grass-fed beef are raised
on very intensely managed pasture. The cattle are moved from pasture to
pasture regularly so that they have a steady diet of green grass. This
gives them the nutrients they need, and it also allows them to fatten up.
This is a very specialized type of farming."
Here is a fascinating discussion
thread about the "caveman diet" and the role of fatty acids in human
diets, maintained on the website of Dr.
U. Ravnskov (The Cholesterol Myth)