Allison Mädl, NTP

Nutritional Therapy & Education

The Foundations of Traditional Nutrition

Cellular Fatty Acid Balance

As excess sugar consumption skyrocketed in this country, healthy fatty acid deficiency became epidemic. In the 1930’s dentist and nutritional anthropologist Weston A. Price coined the term “displacing foods of modern commerce” to refer to, among other things, industrial fats and oils such as margerine, canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, etc. But what did these oils actually displace? What fats were people eating in the United States before modern commerce? It may be hard to believe unless you remember how your great-grandparents likely ate, but people in this country fried potatoes in lard, put golden yellow butter on their sourdough bread, ate high cholesterol meals such as bacon and eggs, and took cod liver oil to strengthen teeth and prevent disease. Traditional diets from other countries included ample amounts of wild fish and shellfish, fish liver oil, coconut oil, and tubers such as sweet potato. In fact, traditional diets were four times as high in calcium and other minerals, and encompassed 10 times the amount of fat-soluble vitamins as the modern diet. These people did not suffer from the conditions we suffer from today. Musculoskeletal issues, endocrine issues, cardiovascular issues, immune issues, allergies, skin problems, and depression are all a result of cellular fatty acid deficiency. The four vitally important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K require fat to be appropriately used by the body. Thus, skim milk with “added vitamin D” is basically useless as a source of that vitamin. And it doesn’t taste as good as whole milk either.

Much has been made about the protective nature of Omega 3 and Omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids contained in oils like flax seed oil and cod liver oil. These fatty acids are called “essential” because our bodies can’t make them and we must eat them in food.

Inflammation of the arterial walls, one of the major causes of cardiovascular disease, can be effectively managed with a balance of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. But we must not deify some types of traditional fats while demonizing others. Our bodies require a balance. Saturated fat, for example, is not evil and does not cause cardiovascular disease. It is a crucial fatty acid for the structural integrity and function of every cell membrane in the body (all 37 trillion of them). And important also are mono-unsaturated fats such as those found in avocados and olive oil. Even though these are more likely than other fats to cause weight gain if used in excess, mono unsaturates are healthful and delicious when used appropriately.

The Freedom of Health™ programs that I have designed will guide you to choose traditional vs. industrial fats to provide balanced cellular function, prolonged energy and satiety, and enjoyment in your food.

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