Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Fat Facts - Oh How We Eat!

The USDA is rich with information for anyone with some time to dig, click and follow the PDF's, excel spreadsheets and other data put out for all to see. All I can say is this - it's amazing how our diet has changed over the years - especially our use of added fats in our diet, either by our own use or the fats/oils used in food manufacturing.

Did you know, back in 1909 the average person in the United States consumed an eye-popping 83.68-pounds of animal fats a year? That's more than a pound-and-a-half a week! Back then lard was the largest single source of fat/oils in the American diet, followed by butter. We consumed just 16.89-pounds of vegetable oils each year way back when.

That all changed in 1953, when soybean oil and products containing soybean oil displaced lard as the leader in the United States. We were on a roll replacing animal fats long before it was en vogue!

In 1960, the per capita consumption of animal fats fell to just 13.6-pounds per person, fell again by 1970 to just 8.9-pounds per person, and again in 1980 to 7.2-pounds per person. By 1990, we'd virtually eliminated animal fats from our diet, when per capita consumption hit an all time low of just 5.9-pounds per person!

During the same period our consumption of vegetable oils has skyrocketed - in 1960 we'd already increased our consumption to 31.6-pounds per capita, in 1970 another increase, this time to 43.8-pounds, and again in 1980 up to 49.9-pounds! Who-hoo we really hit the jackpot in 1990 when we hit 56.9-pounds per person annually!

In 1998 a report issued by the USDA, Have we Turned the Corner on Fat Consumption? stated that in 1997 consumption overall fell from 65.8-pounds annually to 65.6-pounds annually per person in the US. Also noted was that this decline in consumption was an unprecedented fourth consecutive year of decline.

By 1997, we really had altered our diet dramatically - dramatically less animal fat and even with vegetable oil replacing some of our animal fat, still an overall reduction of our intake - from more than 100-pounds of fats and oils in 1909 to just 65.6-pounds in 1997!

Just how different are we eating?

1909
Animal Fats = 83.68-pounds
Vegetable Oils = 16.89-pounds

1997
Animal Fats = 8-pounds
Vegetable Oils = 57.6-pounds

Even by 2000 we were still reducing animal fats and increasing vegetable oils:

2000
Animal Fats = 6.4-pounds
Vegetable Oils = 66.6-pounds

Why then are we not in the middle of virtual uptopia for health and well-being with the undeniable 93% reduction in our intake of animal fats since 1909?

We've been dutifully replacing those nasty, nasty saturated fats (so we're told) with vegetable oils - an almost 4-fold increase in consumption since 1909. Heck, the Soybean Growers Association even boasts that soybean oil and soybean oil products now accounts for 80% of all vegetable oil consumed in the United States!

Why is no one asking why our obvious shunning of animal fats and increase in vegetable oils IS NOT working to provide a health benefit or reduce our risk of disease?

Could it be even remotely possible that we got it wrong in our thinking that saturated fats are deadly?

Could it be even remotely possible that we're on the wrong track encouraging the population to eat even more vegetable oil and reduce even more their intake of animal fats?

Are you willing to bet your health that the "experts" are absolutely correct and that vegetable oils are better for you?

4 comments:

  1. How is life expectancy and other lifestyle-related disease related to these different levels of fat intakes?

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  2. There are 3 dietary items unique to 20th century which appear to correlate to the rapid increase in the rate of heart disease, diabetes, cancer most lately obesity. These the introduction of vegetable oils (corn, soy, sunflower, etc.), the replacement of animal based saturated fats with partially hydrogenated fats, and the dramatic increase in the use of nutritive sweeteners. These items with the exception of sugar which had a much lower consumption at the beginning of the century are unique to this century. Common sense would suggest avoiding these items as much as possible. By the way love your blog. Yours and Dr. Mike Eades of Protein Power fame are the most intelectually stimulating nutrional blogs I've seen.

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. Beth said:
    "How is life expectancy and other lifestyle-related disease related to these different levels of fat intakes?"


    Look here, I tried to post an example but really needed to format it using HTML and I'm not that patient ;-)

    http://optimalhealth.cia.com.au/Peroxidatiion.htm

    ReplyDelete