What is Fat?
There’s been so much controversy about fats that I think we should expand on it a bit. I have found no nutritionist, no doctor who ever recommended that anyone omit fats from his diet. Fats are absolutely essential to health. “Cells,” says Dr. Carlton Fredericks, “are built from protein and fats.” And he adds that about seventeen percent of those fats are unsaturated.
Now you’ve no doubt heard, and read, much about saturated as opposed to unsaturated, or polyunsaturated, fats. Unsaturated fats are generally those fats that remain liquid at room temperature, and these include most vegetable oils with the single exception of coconut oil, which a recent New York Times article cited as one of the most saturated fats extant.
Saturated fats include the animal fats lard, fat in meat, milk, eggs, and butter. These are the ones that frighten most people. For they are the fats that have been accused of raising the cholesterol level in the blood and thus, purportedly, setting up their victims for a heart attack via arteriosclerosis.
According to Linda Clark, so many warnings have been issued against the eating of fat that many people have panicked, and are literally afraid to eat so much as an egg. (And you will see, in our chapter on hair, how important those eggs are to that part of you.) Says Mrs. Clark, “Many people are unaware that the body manufactures cholesterol whether you eat it or not. Cholesterol is needed to help your glands.” She states flatly that “a fat-free diet is not only out of date, it is actually dangerous.” Adelle Davis maintains that cholesterol is concentrated in such vital tissues as the brain and nerves, indicating that it serves valuable unknown functions in maintaining health.
If cholesterol worries you, however, you may bear in mind studies that have been made as to the effect of polyunsaturated fats on the cholesterol in the blood. An article in the September 17, 1966, issue of Lancet, a British medical journal, states quite clearly that “The ability of diets high in polyunsaturated fats to produce sustained reduction of plasma-total-cholesterol in man has been amply confirmed.” So there you have it. Not only are fats essential to your health, certainly to your beauty without them, you’re going to have dried-up everything from skin to hair, and may even go so far as to develop skin diseases such as un-lovely eczema they are, in the polyunsaturated versions, going to act as cholesterol lowerers, even when the diet remains high in animal-fat intake. So say the medical researchers and we are trusting their work.
Some doctors suggest that the unsaturated fats in your diet represent at least 30 percent of your fat intake. I suggest that you remember that the unsaturated fats are the ones that are liquid at room temperature. It shouldn’t be difficult to guess that they’d be the ones least likely to clog up your arteries.
And starting in Australia, and working their way to this country, experiments are going on to lower the saturated fat in meats by feeding the animals a diet high in polyunsaturates. Who knows? Perhaps soon beef can come off of my Bad B list. For, as you will see, the two Bad B’s are beef and booze. And booze stays.