According to conventional wisdom, you should eat less fat to reduce your risk of heart disease. But not according to Ron Brown, author of The Body Fat Guide. While America's fat intake declines, health problems associated with the rise of obesity increase. Brown points his finger away from fat and toward a more serious cause of health problems, dietary animal protein.
"The role that animal protein plays in heart disease has been identified," says Brown, "but the public is still not generally aware of the findings of studies like the Oxford-Cornell China Project. This is the world's largest epidemiological study to look at the relationship between diet and mortality. It shows evidence establishing a correlation between Western type diseases, like heart disease, and animal protein intake."
Brown claims, "In the public's view, saturated fat is the culprit behind elevated cholesterol levels and heart disease, but that's because saturated fat is usually associated with animal protein. An exception has been found in the case of foods that are high in saturated fat and low in animal protein like butter and cream. For example, countries like France that consume more fat in the form of butter and cream have less heart disease. That's because they are eating less animal protein. They eat more fruits, grains and vegetables instead. Even drinking wine at meals instead of whole or skim milk reduces animal protein intake."
Brown comments on vegetarian-based programs designed to prevent and reverse heart disease, like the Ornish and Pritikin programs. "They severely restrict animal protein intake which dramatically reduces cholesterol levels. But, at the same time they are undermined by the conventional wisdom that says dietary fat is bad. Animal foods are generally the largest source of hidden fat in Western diets, but throwing out all fat while you eliminate animal foods is like throwing out the baby with the bath water."
The Ornish and Pritikin programs prescribe very low intake levels of fat, which Brown claims makes it difficult for people to comply with these diets. He says, "An adequate amount of dietary fat is necessary to provide energy and nutrients, and to satisfy hunger longer."
Brown lists raw nuts, seeds, avocados and cold-pressed vegetable oils as the most wholesome sources of dietary fat and of other essential nutrients.
So how much fat should you eat? Brown answers, "It's reasonable for an adult to consume no more than 30% of their daily maintenance calorie allowance from fat."
But how many calories and grams of fat is that? Brown
responds, "It's based on your individual energy needs, and that's exactly
what my book
Body Fat Guide helps you determine."
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