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In Praise of Fat and Cholesterol

by Marissa on September 19, 2011

What if I told you that the amount of cholesterol you eat has little bearing on cholesterol levels in your blood?
If you’re accustomed to eating egg whites and avoiding butter, you may not believe it. But the truth is, cholesterol-rich foods like organic eggs and real butter, wild caught seafood and full fat raw, organic dairy products have numerous health benefits and supply important vitamins and nutrients for brain development.

At theInstitute for Integrative Nutrition‘s Fall Conference this weekend, Sally Fallon Morrell, co-founder and President of the Weston A. Price Foundation and the author of Nourishing Traditions who champions for “real food,” or a traditional diet, may not have been popular among the vegans in the audience but her approach to nutrition is eye-opening.

In a world where low fat, high fiber and low sodium have become the buzzwords associated with a healthy diet, Morrell’s high fat approach may be difficult to swallow, but digging into the details I began to see beyond each individual animal product and into the natural beauty of these foods at their purest and most unadulterated. The modern diet minimizes nutrients and is difficult to maintain, leading to cravings for sugary foods high in unhealthy fats whereas the traditional diet Morrell believes in is based in maximum nutrients for ultimate nourishment.

In Morrell’s world, there are four food groups:

1. Animal: meats, organ meats, eggs and poultry from grass-fed animals, raw cheese and milk from grass-fed animals, fish and shellfish, broth made from animal bones

2. Grain: Whole grains, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds 

3. Fruits and Vegetables: Fresh or frozen, cooked or raw, locally and/or organically grown, fermented condiments

4. Fats and Oils: Butter cream and lard, olive oil, coconut and palm oil, cod liver oil

Many of the above foods may seem as if they would guarantee a heart attack or cause obesity but Morrell says the opposite. The nutrients in these foods like Vitamins A, K, D, Choline, DHA, Zinc and Cholesterol are responsible for brain function and development (especially important in children) and the saturated fat helps with calcium absorption, heart, liver, lung and kidney function, detoxification and a healthy immune system. Of course, they key is to avoid refined sweeteners, white flours, processed foods, soy foods, hydrogenated oils and trans fats.

When placed within the context of federal school lunch programs, which restrict fats but not sugar, it’s easy to see where it has all gone wrong. Fat free strawberry and chocolate-flavored milk. Need I say more?

What do you think about this diet? 

Thinking about a career in health coaching? Enroll at IIN between now and September 29 and a $500 scholarship can be yours. Just mention my name! 

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