THE IMPORTANCE OF DIETARY ANIMAL FAT1
In contrast, the modern human uses two classes of food to provide energy for life functions; carbohydrates yield glucose, and fats supply fatty acids. Despite the fact that glucose serves as the usual and ready source of energy for the body, long-term sustained energy depends on fatty acids. Fatty acids are a much more efficient fuel than glucose. They contain twice the energy per unit weight and they are stored more compactly. Under normal conditions, the body uses both fuels alternately depending on time from last meal.
As a rule, glucose is plentiful after a meal, but it becomes in short supply several hours later before the next mealtime. Glucose is used preferentially as long as the supply of glucose is adequate. When the supply becomes low, the body switches over to using fatty acids because glucose reserves must be preserved to maintain normal blood glucose levels.
When carbohydrate foods are reduced or eliminated from the diet, the body must turn to fatty acids for energy. This presents a major difficulty for people who have been schooled in the official government recommendations to eliminate dietary fat; particularly animal fat because they say animal fats will make you ill. There is no scientific evidence that animal fats cause heart disease or any other chronic illness. On the contrary, there are considerable scientific data that vegetable fats contain omega-6 fatty acids that are harmful when consumed in excess2. Therefore, animal fats are the preferred dietary fat.
A person consuming a low-carbohydrate diet who also restricts dietary fat is begging for trouble. Dietary fat will be used first. Then, if fat is available in body fat stores, it will be mobilized for energy. This is the reason for the weight loss that occurs with low-carbohydrate diets. If no excess body fat is available, the body will search for glucose. It is at this point that a paucity of dietary fat becomes a potential health problem. The body makes new glucose from amino acids that are classed as nonessential, i.e. amino acids that the body can make for itself.
The process whereby the body makes new glucose is called gluconeogenesis. If the body is called upon to engage in gluconeogenesis to any great extent or duration, it can seriously disrupt protein metabolism. In order to obtain sufficient glucose, the body depletes circulating proteins and cannibalizes muscle tissue. Pictures of holocaust victims show the tragic result. Small deficiencies of dietary fat would probably not cause detectable gluconeogenesis, except for people who follow their blood glucose levels with a monitor. Anyone on a diabetes recovery program should be aware of this and take steps to increase fat intake. Too little dietary fat can be dangerous; too much dietary fat is not a problem providing it does not exceed the bounds of satiety(3, p. 91). When it does, it may interfere with the benefit of weight loss promoted by a low-carbohydrate intake.
How much fat should a person on a low-carbohydrate diet consume?(4) This is a highly individual matter. The idea is to provide enough energy from fat to replace the energy no longer available from dietary carbohydrates. Dietary fat should be increased when one is hungry. Dietary fat should also be increased if there is a continuous feeling of lack of energy or fatigue. Finally, dietary fat should be increased if the blood glucose monitor shows an increase in blood glucose greater than a usual reading or if fasting blood glucose readings remain above normal.
The easiest way is to add fat is with patties of butter or portions of a high milk fat product like cream cheese. The amount included in the diet should be sufficient to relieve the symptoms. It can do no harm to eat more fat than needed.
- Ottoboni A&F with Bob. Recovery from Type II Diabetes: A True Story. Fernley, NV: Vincente Books, Kindle edition, 2013, in press.
- Ottoboni A, Ottoboni F. The Modern Nutritional Diseases and How to Prevent Them. Fernley, NV: Vincente Books, 2013.
- Eades MR, Eades MD. Protein Power, Paperback Edition. New York, NY: Bantam Books, 1999.