What the research really shows is that both refined carbohydrates and vegetable oils cause imbalances in the blood and at the cellular level that lead to an increased tendency to form blood clots, leading to myocardial infarction. This kind of heart disease was virtually unknown in America in 1900. Today it has reached epidemic levels. Atherosclerosis, or the buildup of hardened plague in the artery walls, cannot be blamed on saturated fats or cholesterol.
Very little of the material in this plaque is cholesterol, and a 1994 study appearing in the Lancet showed that almost three quarters of the fat in artery clogs is unsaturated. The “artery clogging” fats are not animal fats but vegetable oils.
Built into the whole cloth of the lipid hypothesis is the postulate that the traditional foods of our ancestors–the butter, cream, eggs, liver, meat and fish eggs that Price recognized were necessary to produce “splendid physical development”–are bad for us. A number of stratagems have served to imbed this notion in the consciousness of the people, not the least of which was the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), during which your tax dollars paid for a packet of “information” on cholesterol and heart disease to be sent to every physician in America.
As the American Pharmaceutical Association served on the coordinating committee of this massive program, it is not surprising that the packet instructed physicians on ways to test serum cholesterol levels, and what drugs to prescribe for patients whose cholesterol levels put them in the “at risk” category–defined arbitrarily as anyone over 200 mg/dl, the vast majority of the adult population.
Physicians received instruction on the “prudent diet,” low in saturated fat and cholesterol, for “at risk” Americans, even though studies indicated that such diets did not offer any significant protection against heart disease. They did, however, increase the risk of death from cancer, intestinal diseases, accidents, suicide and stroke. A specific recommendation contained in the NCEP information packet was the replacement of butter with margarine.
In 1990, two generations after Weston Price conceived of studying isolated nonindustrialized people as a way of learning how to confer good health on our children, the National Cholesterol Education Program recommended the “prudent diet” for all Americans above the age of two.
The advantage of such a diet is supposed to be reduced risk of heart disease in later life–even though not a single study has shown such an hypothesis to be tenable. What the scientific literature does tell us is that low fat diets for children, or diets in which vegetable oils have been substituted for animal fats, result in failure to thrive–failure to grow tall and strong–as well as learning disabilities, susceptibility to infection and behavioral problems.
Teenage girls who adhere to such a diet risk reproductive problems. If they do manage to conceive, their chances of giving birth to a low birth weight baby, or a baby with birth defects, are high.
Compared to this folly, the wisdom of the so-called primitive in regards to ensuring the health of his children has inspired the awe of Weston Price and all who have read his book. Again and again he found that tribal groups–especially those in Africa and the South Pacific– fed special foods to young men and women before conception, to women during pregnancy and lactation, and to children during their growing years.
When he tested these foods–things like liver, shellfish, organ meats and bright yellow butter–he found them to be extremely rich in the “fat-soluble activators”–vitamins A, D and the X Factor. Special soaked grain preparations of high mineral content–particularly millet and quinoa–were fed to lactating women to increase milk supply.