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Is Saturated Fat the Culprit?

From eNewsletter 9/12/2022

DID YOU KNOW that according to a study from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, hops extract, which has been shown to support blood sugar balance and help with PCOS, has now shown to be helpful for moderating appetite? The authors purport that concentrated supplemental hops extract curbs excessive insulin secretion, as well as balances ghrelin and leptin hormones, which need to be balanced to elicit normal appetite.

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Is Saturated Fat the Culprit?

Steve: A fascinating review of American food policy over a 200 year-period should put to bed the idea that saturated fat is to blame for our current disease state. The authors of the Frontiers in Nutrition review state the American diet has changed radically in the past two centuries, with the most marked changes include increased consumption of processed and ultra-processed food (i.e., sugar, white flour, white rice, and industrial seed/vegetable oils) and reduced consumption of unprocessed foods (i.e., fresh fruits and vegetables) and animal fats (i.e., whole milk, butter, and lard). The authors suggest one of the worst decisions made over this 200 year period was the notion that increased consumption of certain animal proteins and saturated fatty acids (SFAs) was the cause of the heart disease epidemic starting in the late 1970's. Amazingly, the authors found that from 1800 to 2000, red meat consumption declined by 44%, and fluid and cream dairy consumption declined by 48%. From 1909 to 2010, lard consumption declined 78% and butter declined 68%, while margarine increased 192%, shortening increased 91%, and salad and cooking oils increase 329%. As Americans consumed 70% fewer SFAs, obesity and diabetes epidemics emerged, alongside an increased incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer and heart disease. The rate of NCDs continued to increase even after CDC guidelines encouraged Americans to reduce SFAs. Some of this had to do with the meteoric rise of synthetic saturated fatty acids from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (contained in shortening and processed/ultra-processed foods). The average American has also consumed 10-fold more salad and cooking oils (inflammatory omega-6 oils such as corn and cottonseed), and added caloric sweeteners tripled across the twentieth century. The authors' findings suggest that SFAs are unlikely to drive obesity, diabetes, or other NCDs, although this belief is still held by many leading public health organizations. The worsening health of our population over 200 years is complex, multifactorial, and controversially unresolved. The aforementioned dietary policies were accompanied by other lifestyle and demographic changes, including (1) increased urbanization and population density, (2) reduced physical activity commuting to and at work, (3) longer commutes, (4) higher stress, (5) less sleep, (6) more machine and less human time, (7) higher rates of mental health disorders, (8) increased prescription and over-the-counter drug use, many of which increase appetite, among others. In conclusion, those vilifying the continued production and consumption of unprocessed, whole food animal products should read this review in detail.