Friday, February 27, 2009

The Oiling of America

Last week I saw a pretty interesting talk in New York given by Sally Fallon, the President of the Weston Price Foundation. She was there to speak about our nation's addiction to oil - not the kind the fuels our cars, but rather the vegetable oils in our food supply.

I saw Fallon previously when I was a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and knew she was a proponent of high quality animal products. Still I was surprised by her belief that there is nothing to worry when it comes to high cholesterol. In fact there were several people in the audience with levels over 300, and she didn't seem the slightest bit concerned.

To understand this, we must first combat the myth that cholesterol is a 'bad' thing. Fallon believes the science linking heart disease and cholesterol to be poor. And to her credit she demonstrated several studies in which the science was doctored to the benefit of drug companies and the food industry.

According to Fallon, cholesterol is in fact an antioxidant. Yes, the same antioxidants found in colorful foods like berries and red wine. Our bodies naturally produce cholesterol to reduce the toxic load that comes from both food and the environment. It is also secreted in order to deal with stress.

So what about vegetable oils? She warns specifically against polyunsaturated oils (corn, sunflower) that are unstable, especially when heated. Try cooking with butter and ghee. And if you're up for it lard and duck fat.

And what about those with low cholesterol? Do they deserve to be shining examples of good health? Hardly the case. These individuals have a high tendency towards stroke, suicide, and reproductive problems - leading to the natural selection of the wise, Sallon joked. Yes, even health nuts can have a sense of humor.

Sally Fallon is the author of Nourishing Traditions

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