Counseling Sheet

Free Fats

Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Preventive Medicine

Fats do not go straight from the food one eats to the fat deposits of the body; they circulate through the blood, liver, eyes, blood vessels, kidneys, and other tissues to bring an increased risk of disease in each organ that they spend much time in. Fats are concentrated foods and cannot be handled in the blood very readily. It is a rule of biochemistry that concentrated nutrients are not handled easily in the biochemical systems of the body. Generally speaking, we may eat freely of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, but must eat sparingly of all other foods. All animal products should be taken sparingly. All refined foods, whether they are refined carbohydrates, refined proteins, or refined fats, should be taken sparingly.

Fat is a less compressible liquid than water. As the heart squeezes down on blood that has little fat in it, it is easily compressible and squeezed into the major arteries. As the level of fat increases, the blood becomes less compressible, increasing the likelihood of heart disease.

There are many diseases that are increased by a high level of fat. The blood pressure and coronary heart disease have been mentioned already. Angina pectoris is increased or even induced by fats in the diet. (Journal of the American Medical Association 158:1009) There is an increase in cancer as one increases fat content in the diet. Diabetes increases as the blood fats increase, especially the levels of both triglycerides and cholesterol. It is well known that the weight of the population goes up as the fat content of the food customarily eaten goes up. Even such conditions as eye diseases, ear diseases, and Mediterranean fever are made more common or more severe by the use of a heavy fat diet. Food ferments much more readily in the intestinal tract when it is mixed with free fat from the diet.

Large amounts of saturated fats cause a sharp drop in brain oxygenation. In one study, brain oxygenation dropped by 30% after the subjects had eaten cream. Fats are partly responsible for a decline in work efficiency following a visit to the snack bar or after a meal of rich, fatty foods.

Most diabetologists are drastically changing the diet recommendations for diabetics and those prone to develop diabetes, for it has been discovered that diabetics in the U.S. do not do as well as diabetics in other countries due to the U.S. custom of replacing carbohydrates with a high-fat, high-protein diet. Now it's being advised to increase complex carbohydrates in the diet with whole grains and starchy vegetables and fruits instead.

There are many benefits of a low-fat diet. One of the most important is a reduction in coronary heart disease (Lancet 1:1069). Another is improvement in pulmonary function (Journal of the American Medical Association 223:15-16). Increased fats in the blood, as it circulates through the lungs, interfere with the exchange of gases.

A low-fat diet also decreases the risk of both cancer and coronary heart disease. Liver efficiency increases when dietary fat is low. People with liver disorders of any kind should be put on a low-fat diet. Also those with clotting disorders. Other benefits are reduced gallstone formation and a lessened requirement for Vitamin E.

These statistics give us an appreciation for the fact that a diet low in concentrated or rich foods is the diet for human beings, designed by the Creator.

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