Dietary Myths

What’s Wrong With “Politically Correct” Nutrition?

Dietary Myths:

“Avoid saturated fats.”
Saturated fats play many important roles in the body. They provide integrity to the cell wall, promote the body’s use of essential fatty acids, enhance the immune system, protect the liver and contribute to strong bones. The lungs and the kidneys cannot work without saturated fat. Saturated fats do not cause heart disease. In fact, saturated fats are the preferred food for the heart. Because your body needs saturated fats, it makes them out of carbohydrates and excess protein when there are not enough in the diet.

“Limit cholesterol.”
Dietary cholesterol contributes to the strength of the intestinal wall and helps babies and children develop a healthy brain and nervous system. Foods that contain cholesterol also provide many other important nutrients. Only oxidized cholesterol, found in most powdered milk and powdered eggs, contributes to heart disease. Powdered milk is added to 1% and 2% milk.

“Use more polyunsaturated oils.”
Polyunsaturates in more than small amounts contribute to cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, learning disabilities, intestinal problems and premature aging. Large amounts of polyunsaturated fats are new to the human diet, due to the modern use of commercial liquid vegetable oils. Even olive oil, a monounsaturated fat considered to be healthy, can cause imbalances at the cellular level if consumed in large amounts.

“Avoid red meat.”
Red meat is a rich source of nutrients that protect the heart and nervous system; these include vitamins B12 and B6, zinc, phosphorus, carnitine and coenzyme-Q10.

“Cut back on eggs.”
Eggs are nature’s perfect food, providing excellent protein, the gamut of vitamins and important fatty acids that contribute to the health of the brain and nervous system. Americans had less heart disease when they ate more eggs. Egg substitutes cause rapid death in test animals.

“Restrict salt.”
Salt is crucial to digestion and assimilation. Salt is also necessary for the development and function of the nervous system.

“Eat lean meat and drink lowfat milk.”
Lean meat and lowfat milk lack fat-soluble vitamins needed to assimilate the protein and minerals in meat and milk. Consumption of lowfat foods can lead to depletion of vitamin A and D reserves.

“Limit fat consumption to 30 percent of calories.”
Thirty percent calories as fat is too low for most people, leading to low blood sugar and fatigue. Traditional diets contained 30 percent to 80 percent of calories as healthy fats, mostly of animal origin.

“Eat 6-11 servings of grains per day.”
Most grain products are made from white flour, which is devoid of nutrients. Additives in white flour can cause vitamin deficiencies. Whole grain products can cause mineral deficiencies and intestinal problems unless properly prepared.

“Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.”
Fruits and vegetables receive an average of 10 applications of pesticides, from seed to storage. Consumers should seek out organic produce. Quality counts!

“Eat more soy foods.”
Modern soy foods block mineral absorption, inhibit protein digestion, depress thyroid function and contain potent carcinogens.

Traditional Versus Modern Diets

Traditional Diets Maximized Nutrients Modern Diets Minimize Nutrients
Foods from fertile soil Foods from depleted soil
Organ meats preferred over muscle meats Muscle meats preferred, few organ meats
Natural animal fats Processed vegetable oils
Animals on pasture Animals in confinement
Dairy products raw and/or fermented Dairy products pasteurized or ultrapasteurized
Grains and legumes soaked and/or fermented Grains refined, and/or extruded
Soy foods given long fermentation, consumed in small amounts Soy foods industrially processed, consumed in large amounts
Bone broths MSG, artificial flavorings
Unrefined sweeteners Refined sweeteners
Lacto-fermented vegetables Processed, pasteurized pickles
Lacto-fermented beverages Modern soft drinks
Unrefined salt Refined salt
Natural vitamins occurring in foods Synthetic vitamins taken alone or added to foods
Traditional cooking Microwave, Irradiation
Tradition seeds, open pollination Hybrid seeds, GMO seeds

Myths and Truths About Nutrition

Myth: Heart disease in America is caused by consumption of cholesterol and saturated fat from animal products.
Truth: During the period of rapid increase in heart disease (1920-1960), American consumption of animal fats declined but consumption of hydrogenated and industrially processed vegetable fats increased dramatically (USDA-HNIS).

Myth: Saturated fat clogs arteries.
Truth: The fatty acids found in artery clogs are mostly unsaturated (74%) of which 41% are polyunsaturated (Lancet1994 344:1195).

Myth: Vegetarians live longer.
Truth: The annual all-cause death rate of vegetarian men is slightly more than that of non-vegetarian men (.93% vs .89%); the annual all-cause death rate of vegetarian women is significantly more than that of non-vegetarian women (.86% vs .54%) (Wise Traditions 2000 1:4:16-17).

Myth: Vitamin B12 can be obtained from certain plant sources such as blue-green algae and fermented soy products.
Truth: Vitamin B12 is not absorbed from plant sources. Modern soy products actually increase the body’s need for B12 (Soybeans: Chemistry & Technology
Vol 1 1972).

Myth: For good health, serum cholesterol should be less than 180 mg/dl.
Truth: The all-cause death rate is higher in individuals with cholesterol levels lower than 180 mg/dl (Circulation 1992 86:3).

Myth: Animal fats cause cancer and heart disease.
Truth: Animal fats contain many nutrients that protect against cancer and heart disease; elevated rates of cancer and heart disease are associated with consumption of large amounts of vegetable oil (Federation Proceedings July 1978 37:2215).

Myth: Children benefit from a lowfat diet.
Truth: Children on lowfat diets suffer from growth problems, failure to thrive and learning disabilities (Food Chemistry News10/3/94).

Myth: A lowfat diet will make you “feel better…and increase your joy of living.”
Truth: Lowfat diets are associated with increased rates of depression, psychological problems, fatigue, violence and suicide (Lancet 3/21/92 Vol 339).

Myth: To avoid heart disease, we should use margarine instead of butter.
Truth: Margarine eaters have twice the rate of heart disease as butter eaters (Nutrition Week 3/22/91 21:12).

Myth: Americans do not consume enough essential fatty acids (EFAs).
Truth: Americans consume far too much of one kind of EFA (omega-6 EFAs found in most polyunsaturated vegetable oils) but not enough of another kind of EFA (omega-3 EFAs found in fish, fish oils, eggs from pasture-fed chickens, dark green vegetables and herbs, and oils from certain seeds such as flax and chia, nuts such as walnuts and in small amounts in all whole grains) (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1991 54:438-63).

Myth: The “cave man diet” was low in fat.
Truth: Throughout the world, primitive peoples sought out and consumed fat from fish and shellfish, water fowl, sea mammals, land birds, insects, reptiles, rodents, bears, dogs, pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, game, eggs, nuts and milk products (Abrams, Food & Evolution 1987).

Myth: A vegetarian diet will protect you against atherosclerosis.
Truth: The International Atherosclerosis Project found that vegetarians had just as much atherosclerosis as meat eaters (Laboratory Investigations 1968 18:498).

Myth: Lowfat diets prevent breast cancer.
Truth: A recent study found that women on very lowfat diets (less than 20%) had the same rate of breast cancer as women who consumed large amounts of fat (New England Journal of Medicine 2/8/96).

MythCoconut oil causes heart disease.
Truth: When coconut oil was fed as 7% of energy to patients recovering from heart attacks, the patients had greater improvement compared to untreated controls, and no difference compared to patients treated with corn or safflower oils. Populations that consume coconut oil have low rates of heart disease. Coconut oil may also be one of the most useful oils to prevent heart disease because of its antiviral and antimicrobial characteristics (Journal of the American Medical Association 1967 202:1119-1123; American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1981 34:1552).

Myth: Saturated fats inhibit production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.
Truth: Saturated fats actually improve the production of all prostaglandins by facilitating the conversion of essential fatty acids (“Tripping Lightly Down the Prostaglindin Pathways,” westonaprice.org).

Myth: Arachidonic acid in foods like liver, butter and egg yolks causes production of “bad” inflammatory prostaglandins.
Truth: Series 2 prostaglandins that the body makes from arachidonic acid both encourage and inhibit inflammation under appropriate circumstances. Arachidonic acid is vital for the function of the brain and nervous system (Ibid).

Myth: Beef causes colon cancer
Truth: Argentina, with higher beef consumption, has lower rates of colon cancer than the US. Mormons have lower rates of colon cancer than vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists (Cancer Research 1975 35:3513).

Myths and Truths About Soy

Myth: Use of soy as a food dates back many thousands of years.
Truth: Soy was first used as a food during the late Chou dynasty (1134-246 BC) only after the Chinese learned to ferment soy beans to make foods like tempeh, natto and tamari.

Myth: Asians consume large amounts of soy foods.
Truth: Average consumption of soy foods in China is 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) per day and up to 60 grams in parts of Japan. Asians consume soy foods in small amounts as a condiment, and not as a replacement for animal foods.

Myth: Modern soy foods confer the same health benefits as traditionally fermented soy foods.
Truth: Most modern soy foods are not fermented to neutralize toxins in soybeans, and are processed in a way that denatures proteins and increases levels of carcinogens.

Myth: Soy foods provide complete protein.
Truth: Like all legumes, soybeans are deficient in sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cystine. In addition, modern processing denatures fragile lysine.

Myth: Fermented soy foods can provide vitamin B12 in vegetarian diets.
Truth: The compound that resembles vitamin B12 in soy cannot be used by the human body; in fact, soy foods cause the body to require more B12.

Myth: Soy formula is safe for infants.
Truth: Soy foods contain trypsin inhibitors that inhibit protein digestion and affect pancreatic function. In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors led to stunted growth and pancreatic disorders. Soy foods increase the body’s requirement for vitamin D, needed for strong bones and normal growth. Phytic acid in soy foods results in reduced bioavailabilty of iron and zinc which are required for the health and development of the brain and nervous system. Soy also lacks cholesterol, likewise essential for the development of the brain and nervous system. Megadoses of phytoestrogens in soy formula have been implicated in the current trend toward increasingly premature sexual development in girls and delayed or retarded sexual development in boys.

Myth: Soy foods can prevent osteoporosis.
Truth: Soy foods can cause deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D, both needed for healthy bones. Calcium from bone broths and vitamin D from seafood, lard and organ meats prevent osteoporosis in Asian countries–not soy foods.

Myth: Modern soy foods protect against many types of cancer.
Truth: A British government report concluded that there is little evidence that soy foods protect against breast cancer or any other forms of cancer. In fact, soy foods may result in an increased risk of cancer.

Myth: Soy foods protect against heart disease.
Truth: In some people, consumption of soy foods will lower cholesterol, but there is no evidence that lowering cholesterol lowers one’s risk of developing heart disease.

Myth: Soy estrogens (isoflavones) are good for you.
Truth: Soy isoflavones are phyto-endocrine disrupters. At dietary levels, they can prevent ovulation and stimulate the growth of cancer cells. Eating as little as 30 mg isoflavones (from about 30 g soy protein) per day can result in hypothyroidism with symptoms of lethargy, constipation, weight gain and fatigue.

Myth: Soy foods are safe and beneficial for women to use in their postmenopausal years.
Truth: Soy foods can stimulate the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors and cause thyroid problems. Low thyroid function is associated with difficulties in menopause.

Myth: Phytoestrogens in soy foods can enhance mental ability.
Truth: A recent study found that women with the highest levels of estrogen in their blood had the lowest levels of cognitive function; in Japanese Americans, tofu consumption in mid-life is associated with the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease in later life.

Myth: Soy isoflavones and soy protein isolate have GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status.
Truth: Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) recently withdrew its application to the FDA for GRAS status for soy isoflavones following an outpouring of protest from the scientific community. The FDA never approved GRAS status for soy protein isolate because of concern regarding the presence of toxins and carcinogens in processed soy.

Myth: Soy foods are good for your sex life.
Truth: Numerous animal studies show that soy foods cause infertility in animals. Soy consumption lowers testosterone levels in men. Tofu was consumed by Buddhist monks to reduce libido.

Myth: Soybeans are good for the environment.
Truth: Most soybeans grown throughout the world are genetically engineered to allow farmers to use large amounts of herbicides, creating toxic runoff.

Myth: Soybeans are good for developing nations.
Truth: In third world countries, soybeans replace traditional crops and transfer the value-added of processing from the local population to multinational corporations.

Soy Infant Formula: Birth Control Pills for Babies

Babies fed soy-based formula have 13,000 to 22,000 times more estrogen compounds in their blood than babies fed milk-based formula. Infants exclusively fed soy formula receive the estrogenic equivalent (based on body weight) of at least five birth control pills per day.

Male infants undergo a “testosterone surge” during the first few months of life, when testosterone levels may be as high as those of an adult male. During this period, baby boys are programmed to express male characteristics after puberty, not only in the development of their sexual organs and other masculine physical traits, but also in setting patterns in the brain characteristic of male behavior.

In animals, soy feeding indicates that phytoestrogens in soy are powerful endocrine disrupters. Soy infant feeding reduces testosterone levels in male marmoset monkeys as much as 70% and cannot be ignored as a possible cause of disrupted development patterns in boys, including learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder. Male children exposed to DES, a synthetic estrogen, had testes smaller than normal on maturation.

Almost 15 percent of white girls and 50 percent of African-American girls show signs of puberty, such as breast development and pubic hair, before the age of eight. Some girls are showing sexual development before the age of three. Premature development of girls has been linked to the use of soy formula and exposure to environmental estrogen-mimickers such as PCBs and DDE.

Animal studies indicate that consumption of more than minimal amounts of phytoestrogens during pregnancy may have adverse affects on the developing fetus, the timing of puberty later in life, and thinking and behavior patterns, especially in male offspring.

For a full list of references and further information on the dangers of modern soy products visit our Soy Alert! section.

Coronary Heart Disease: What the Experts Say

“In Framingham, Massachusetts, the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower people’s serum cholesterol. . . we found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories weighed the least and were the most physically active.”
–William Castelli, MD, Director, The Framingham Study

“The diet-heart hypothesis has been repeatedly shown to be wrong, and yet, for complicated reasons of pride, profit and prejudice, the hypothesis continues to be exploited by scientists, fund-raising enterprises, food companies and even governmental agencies. The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century.”
–George Mann, ScD, MD, Former Co-Director, The Framingham Study

“An analysis of cholesterol values . . . in 1,700 patients with atherosclerotic disease revealed no definite correlation between serum cholesterol levels and the nature and extent of atherosclerotic disease.”
–Michael DeBakey, MD, Famous Heart Surgeon

“The relevant literature [on CHD] is permeated with fraudulent material that is designed to convert negative evidence into positive evidence with respect to the lipid hypothesis. That fraud is relatively easy to detect.”
–Russell L. Smith, PhD

“Whatever causes coronary heart disease, it is not primarily a high intake of saturated fat.”
–Michael Gurr, PhD, Renowned Lipid Chemist, Author of authoritative study on CHD

The Weston A. Price Foundation is supported solely by membership contributions and private donations and does not accept funding from the meat or dairy industries.

Principles of Holistic Dentistry

In addition to his work on nutrition, Dr. Price conducted extensive research into the destructive effects of root canals, detailed in his two-volume work Dental Infections Oral & Systemic and Dental Infections & the Degenerative Diseases. His conclusions, ignored by the orthodox dental establishment for over 50 years, are gaining renewed acceptance as holistic practitioners are discovering that the first step to recovery from degenerative disease often involves removal of all root canals in the patient’s mouth. The principles of holistic dentistry, based on the research of Weston Price, are as follows:

  • Eat nutrient-dense whole foods, properly grow and prepared.
  • Avoid root canals. If you have root canals and suspect that they are causing disease, have them removed by a knowledgeable dentist.
  • Avoid mercury (amalgam) fillings. If you have amalgam fillings and suspect they are contributing to health problems, have them removed by a holistic dentist who specializes in mercury filling replacement.
  • Orthodontics should include measures to widen the palate.
  • When it is necessary to extract teeth, do so in such a way as to avoid leaving the jaw bone with cavitations, which can become focal points of infection.

The Weston A. Price Foundation

The Weston A. Price Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charity founded in 1999 to disseminate the research of nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price, whose studies of isolated nonindustrialized peoples established the parameters of human health and determined the optimum characteristics of human diets.

The Foundation is dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the American diet through education, research and activism and supports a number of movements that contribute to this objective including accurate nutrition instruction, organic and biodynamic farming, pasture-feeding of livestock, community-supported farms, honest and informative labeling, prepared parenting and nurturing therapies. Specific goals include establishment of universal access to clean, certified raw milk through A Campaign for RealMilk (http://www.realmilk.com) and a ban on the use of soy formula for infants through its Soy Alert! project.

The Foundation seeks to establish a laboratory to test nutrient content of foods, particularly butter produced under various conditions; to conduct research into the “X” Factor, discovered by Dr. Price; and to determine the effects of traditional preparation methods on nutrient content and availability in whole foods.

The board and membership of the Weston A. Price Foundation stand united in the belief that modern technology should be harnessed as a servant to the wise and nurturing traditions of our ancestors rather than used as a force that is destructive to the environment and human health; and that science and knowledge can validate those traditions.

The Foundation’s quarterly magazine, Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, is dedicated to exploring the scientific validation of dietary, agricultural and medical traditions throughout the world. It features illuminating and thought-provoking articles on current scientific research; human diets; nontoxic agriculture; and holistic therapies. In addition, it serves as a source for foods that have been conscientiously grown and processed.

An extensive system of local chapters also helps consumers find healthy foods available in their communities..

Become a Member of the Weston A. Price Foundation

Membership in The Weston A. Price Foundation® is your opportunity to receive our informative quarterly magazineWiseTraditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts and support our projects and objectives, including:

  • Nutrient-Dense Foods
  • Traditional Fats
  • Lacto-Fermentation
  • Broth Is Beautiful
  • A Campaign for Real Milk
  • Truth in Labeling
  • Prepared Parenting
  • Soy Alert!
  • Life-Giving Water
  • Non-Toxic Farming
  • Pasture-Fed Livestock
  • Nurturing Therapies
  • Community-Supported Agriculture

Click here to become a member of the Foundation and receive our quarterly journal, full of informative articles as well as sources of healthy food.

 

 

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