Finally Understand Healthy and Unhealthy Fat!

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Interviewer: Doctor, let's go back to diet a little bit. How important is fat in our diet? We've been bombarded by low-fat this and low-fat that, and all of a sudden we have an obesity problem in this country.

Patrick Quillin, PhD, RD, CNS: Right.

Interviewer: But is there a connection there, and how important is fat?

Dr. Quillin: Well, fat is very important as an essential agent in our bodies. So what happened is, Americans started eating too much fat, and the wrong kind of fat. And, so the officials held up their hands and said, 'Time out. Let's get rid of all the fat,' and then they realized, no. What they replaced the fat with in the food was sugar, which was much worse than the fat in the beginning.

We played tricks on mother nature. During World War II, we drafted the farmers and we sent them over to fight. We didn't have enough butter. So the Army says, 'I'll tell you what we're going to do. We're going to take soy, corn, and safflower oil, hydrogenate it, perform a chemical magic, changing it's structure into a trans fat, and then we're going to add some food coloring to it. It looks, smells, and tastes, like butter. It should be OK.' Now we find those prefabricated chemicals are much worse than the fats that we replaced them with.

Butter from grass-fed animals, is a good food, in small amounts. So what we find is, fats. For instance, the senate diet goals says, 'We need to eat less fat. We need to eat a whole lot less fat,' and somebody in the back of the room said, 'What about the Eskimos? They get 60% of their calories from fat, and they have no heart disease and no cancer.' 'Oh, you're right.' So there are valuable fats. Fish oil, eicosapentaenoic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, conjugated-linolenic acid, gamma-linolenic acid. There are valuable fish oils that are in the animals, or plants, from a whole food diet.

So here's another important sound byte. A whole food diet, that's based upon one's ancestral diet. So did our ancestors eat boneless, skinless chicken breasts? No, they ate the whole animal. I was born on a farm in Illinois. The only thing they waste on an animal was the squeal. Everything was consumed. And that includes the skin, the cartilage, the fat. What you find is, if you look at prostaglandin metabolism, saturated fat does not enter into the equation, but polyunsaturated fats like soy, corn, safflower, become, usually, inflammatory or they cause swelling of tissue.  They can shut down the immune system. They're carcinogenic.

So we took what were good fats, which is the neutral fats, like animal fats, and replaced them with polyunsaturated fats, which have all sorts of negative things. We took butter and replaced it with margarine. We took out all the fat and replaced it with sugar. No. Our ancestral diet, with basic, native fats, and the animals that our ancestors ate were lean. Now we take a cow and lock it's head in a vice and feed it nothing but corn, which is not the cow's native diet. It's grass, not corn and it creates all these unusual fats in it's body, which makes steak less healthy. If you get grass- fed beef or goats or buffalo, or whatever, that meat is very good for you because it's that native fat that was in our ancestors diet.


Recommendations for fat in your diet seem to go back and forth, from fat being ok, to eliminating fat, and now learning which kinds of fats are healthy. It can be confusing to say the least! Dr. Patrick Quillin discusses dietary fat and how the thoughts have changed over the years to what we know now. Finally understand healthy and unhealthy fat!

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