THE ESKIMO EVIDENCE
There is a variety of persuading evidence that the fatty acid content of modern human and domesticated animal diets should be altered. The ability of fish oils to affect cardiovascular disease has recently become widely known. However, this is not new. It originally came to light more than 35 years ago.1,2 Epidemiological studies of Greenland Eskimos demonstrated a low incidence of cardiovascular disease compared to Western nations. A component of fish oil has subsequently been linked to this preventive action by some investigators. Since Eskimos, on their native diets, are known to be afflicted with only one tenth the amount of myocardial infarction as is present in Danes and Americans, incorporating the preventive factors of the Eskimo diet in the Western diet might therefore have dramatic health consequences.3
Experimental evidence from animal studies demonstrates a like effect of improper lipid nutriture. For example, in vessel ligating studies measuring vascular necrosis in rats, cats, dogs, swine, and primates, it has been determined that increasing omega-3 fatty acids produces a protective effect.4-8
A comparison of the tissues of domestic animals to that of wild animals demonstrates the dramatic nutritional shift which has occurred with domestication and modern farming practices. (Fig. 30) If humans eat factory farmed animals, their tissues will mirror the changes which have occurred in the food animal. Humans, like domestic animals, will also therefore have fatty acid profile discordancy with their preindustrialized ancestors
[ Comparison Of Domestic An Wild Animal Meat Image ]
PRE-MODERN POPULATION EVIDENCE
There are likely factors other than just the incorporation of high levels of fish oils in the diet which have protective effects against cardiovascular disease. Anthropological studies demonstrate that preindustrial civilizations and wild populations of animals do not fall victim to this disease as we do, yet they do not by and large consume fish. Consuming a natural, raw, whole food diet likely presents a wide range of health augmenting effects which help protect not only against cardiovascular disease but many other degenerative diseases as well. 9,10
A study of the nature of the modern processed diet as compared to natural diets demonstrates the wide gap that has occurred between the two. Not only have oils been stripped from their natural food context but, through various processing methods, they have been altered in ways that prevent their participation in essential fatty acid functions. These alterations may not only remove nutritional value but may turn them into metabolic toxins as previously discussed. Such changes have occurred within a very short time period, primarily within the last 50-75 years.
However, the genome was adapted over thousands of years to natural food sources containing natural ratios of natural fatty acids. Food changes, like environmental changes which are occurring at a rapid pace, can outstrip the ability of organisms to adapt. We are in a genetic time warp; our genes are adapted to a natural form of food and environment, yet we are now increasingly experiencing an entirely different context. By outlining this idea from the perspective of time our precarious position is dramatically demonstrated. Study and ponder Figure 31 well; it represents the most important concept in the book.
[ Time And Adaptation Image ]
It is now estimated that 75-80% of all deaths occurring in Western cultures are a result of exposing our genes to the wrong environment and food. Chronic degenerative diseases are the symptoms of this genetic discordancy. These include cardiovascular disease, cancers, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, adult onset diabetes, and a wide range of other degenerative conditions.11, 12
The logical solution is to restore the diet to its more archetypal, natural form. This can be accomplished through fresh raw, natural products in the diet and the selection of specific foods which contain high levels of certain beneficial nutrients.
If processed foods are to be consumed, foods should be selected as close to their original form as possible with minimization of manipulation.
THE DYNAMICS OF TISSUE FATTY ACIDS
"We are what we eat" is particularly true in relation to lipid nutrition. Since lipids make up a large percentage of the substance of the body, and lipids undergo a continual turnover, our lipid composition is therefore a direct reflection of what we have been eating.
The composition of serum triglycerides reflects the composition of the last few meals: that of cholesterol esters (in LDL's for example) and erythrocyte membranes reflects the intake of the preceding weeks or months: whereas the composition of adipose tissue is an index of the habitual diet over the past 23 years.13 Changing the dietary composition of fatty acids will therefore first change serum lipids, then LDL's and erythrocytes, then adipose tissue. In other words, if we are eating high saturated fat burgers and french fries boiled in denatured oil, our membranes will reflect this composition and predispose us to degenerative disease over time. On the other hand, if our diet consists of a large proportion of fresh, raw vegetables, fruits and seeds minimally prepared, our membranes will reflect the composition of these ingredients with omega-3, -6, and -9 fatty acids more nearly matching our distant preindustrial ancestors, our genetic expectation. (Fig. 32)
A variety of nutrient cofactors contributes to proper lipid nutrition. As fatty acids are enzymatically converted into energy, eicosanoids, and structural components, enzyme systems are at work. These systems require the presence of micronutrients found in whole natural foods such as the minerals zinc, copper, potassium, iron, and manganese, and vitamins such as B3' B6' B12' C and folic acid. About two thirds of the 50 or more known essential nutrients are believed to be involved. Focusing only on fatty acids would be as erroneous
[ Tissue Fatty Acid Dynamics Image ]
as omitting them. Nutrition is an unimaginably complex entanglement of elements that is best supported by balanced whole fresh foods and intelligent, balanced supplementation when necessary.
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