A Revisit To The Importance Of Dietary Animal Fat

The importance of dietary animal fat, told in a post in Ketopia, is well understood by nutritional biochemists. The refusal of the government-nutrition cabal to renounce its longstanding proscription against animal fat and, by association, red meat, has seriously compromised the health status of its trusting citizens. This untenable situation strengthens the meaning and potential of a remarkable book that has recently appeared on the literary scene.

This new book demands and deserves attention. It is The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz. Nina’s story is told against an environment of decade-long efforts to waken to the American public to the epidemics of chronic inflammatory diseases caused by the official heart-healthy diet designed by their own government that are slowly killing them and their loved ones.

Why has this awakening failed to occur? It held such promise when Gary Taubes opened eyes with revelations of governmental, institutional, and academic fraud in Good Calories, Bad Calories (GCBC) in 2007. It seemed certain that truth would prevail. The publication of occasional stories that dietary fats might not really be as detrimental as painted began to appear in the secondary media. But the medical and nutrition establishments remained firm in their proscription against dietary fat, with escalated advertising of frightening pseudoscience that impugned animal fat and red meat. Within a few years, the hope that the public would insist on change faded and disappeared.

Why does the public seem as distrustful of dietary fat today as ever? Taubes himself may have suggested an answer. In an article written in 2002(1), Taubes alluded to the near impossibility of an untruth cemented in the public mind by decades of repetition being replaced by a truth. Gary wrote:

…I can look down at my eggs and sausage and still imagine the imminent onset of heart disease and obesity, the latter assuredly to be caused by some bizarre rebound phenomena the likes of which science has not yet begun to describe.

This highly skilled and knowledgeable investigative journalist had thoroughly studied the subject of GCBC and had personally benefited from following a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. If Taubes could not free himself of a lingering fear of fat, how could lay-members of the general public do otherwise? The general public is unwittingly brain-washed.

Today we are blessed, in the form of The Big Fat Surprise (TBFS), with another chance to right the egregious wrongs created by the government’s pseudoscience aka The Food Guide Pyramid. TBFS is a truly remarkable and persuasive book in that it is extremely well written, fully accurate in fact, and sincerely heartfelt in approach. Sentiments most often expressed in comments by readers are: I could not put it down; Saturated fats are back in our diet; I am outraged that our government would be so devious. Testimony to the reader appeal of TBFS is the fact that it made the NYT Best Seller list less than two weeks after publication.

Nina’s tale presents two stories. One describes how the transgression came to be. It entails a half century-long flagrant fraud and deception conducted by agencies, institutions, and even a few respected officials charged with setting official nutrition policy. These disclosures offer a great potential for TBFS to have a significant impact on the public’s sense of right and wrong.

The second story tells the truth about dietary fat. Data on the actual benefits of dietary fats, including the much maligned saturated ones, are essential to correct a wrong done to the health of the public by the government-sponsored heart-healthy diet.

Depending on the response of the public to TBFS, there either will be no change in the status quo – or there will be adjustments in public nutrition policy that will ultimately foster major changes in the medical treatment of chronic nutritional diseases, including cancer. It is now known that essentially all chronic diseases once thought to be the accompaniments of old age are based on chronic inflammation; chronic inflammation is known to be primarily the result of improper nutrition.(2) Nutrients will replace drugs.

The public MUST NOT let TBFS slip slowly into oblivion. Nina’s first story should create an outraged public that demands the following:

  1. Government-sponsored nutrition must be totally terminated.
  2. Freedom of information in valid nutritional sciences must be made widely available.
  3. All citizens must have the right to design their own nutrition plans.
  4. A primary prevention program based on eliminating the causes of diseases must be implemented.

Nina’s second story, the truth about dietary fats, will be more difficult to correct. Brain-washed people are hostages of their beliefs and difficult to persuade otherwise. An appeal to the following logic may be helpful in some cases.

It is generally accepted that the nutritional requirements of the first humans were the products of millions of years of evolution that brought them to the human state. It is also generally accepted that today’s humans have the same nutritional requirements as their prehistoric predecessors because of the inestimable length of time required for detectable genetic change to occur.

All readers who fear fat should consider the following:

  1. A chicken egg contains the total number and kind of nutrients required to make a viable chick. The egg contains 76 percent moisture, 13 percent protein, 9 percent saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, and less than 2 percent non-fat lipids and glucose (combined with either protein or lipid), and 0 carbohydrates. If evolution devised a high-fat, no-carbohydrate recipe for making a live chick, could such a recipe be harmful to humans?
  2. Mother’s milk, which is capable of complete nurturing of a newborn for a period of months, contains 87 percent water, 4 percent fats (saturated an unsaturated), and 9 percent non-fat solids. The latter is approximately half protein and half lactose. The fat component contains the whole set of saturated fats from C4 through C18. C4 is known as butyric acid; it is the fatty acid that gives butter its name.

People who fear fat should ponder the following: Butyric acid is an important energy source for the lower section of the small intestine. The ONLY human food source of butyric acid is milk fat. Have you had your butyric acid today?


  1. Taubes, G. What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie? New York Times; July 07, 2002.
  2. Ottoboni A, Ottoboni F. The Modern Nutritional Diseases and How to Prevent Them, Second Edition. Fernley, NV: Vincente Books, 2013.

23 Responses to “A Revisit To The Importance Of Dietary Animal Fat”

    • Alice and Fred Ottoboni

      Many thanks, Mackay, for introducing this subject. We had mentioned it at the end of the first draft of our post, but it seemed to require more explanation. Because that was not pertinent to the theme of the post, we deleted mention of it.

      When we first heard of friendly gut organisms producing butyric acid from restricted starch, we were puzzled because there is no direct biochemical pathway from carbohydrates to fatty acids. So we read more. Certain gut organisms can break down branched chain starches (human amylases cannot) to their component glucose units. The gut organisms use the glucose (via glycolysis) for the energy to manufacture fatty acids (why? what is their need for fatty acids?).

      Butyric acid, as you know, is the simplest fatty acid, consisting of just four carbons. Do the gut organisms synthesize longer chain fatty acids? There is so much more to be learned about branched chain (restricted) starches before we can evaluate the nutritional significance of this metabolic process.

      If you have more information about this subject, we would appreciate very much receiving it.

  1. I wish I was more of an expert on this. Here is an interesting article on aging and the changes in the gut biome. They particularly note the loss of butyrate and other short chain fatty acid producing bacteria.


    As a side (and possibly related) note, are you familar with Dr. Richard Johnson and his work with intracellular uric acid and insulin resistance?

    • Alfred

      Hi, Mackay. Many thanks for the the link to the article It provides good information for the data bank for gut flora. We often wonder if a person in good health on a healthful diet would not have proper working gut flora with no need for any remedial action. Do not know, but the body does heal when given the right diet.

      About Dr Johnson, we have heard about his book The Fat Switch. We have not read it because it apparently deals with known fructose metabolism and its stimulation of uric acid production. We were not aware of uric acid influence on insulin resistance – we will check that. As an aside, because most people are magnesium deficient, it is important to note that magnesium deficiency fosters insulin resistance.

      We do not know which “fat switch” Dr. Johnson is referring to. It sounds as though he is studying the biochemistry of fat deposition in hibernation. Interesting subject.

      Again, Thanks for your interest

  2. David

    The “free the animal ” blog seems to be the repository of info on resistant starch etc

  3. Alice and Fred

    Hi David, The subject of resistant starch only worked its way into these comments because some gut microflora converts it to butyric acid. Butyric, the smallest saturated fatty acid is important for intestinal wall health. So why depend on gut microflora rather going more directly to diet? Up your dietary source of butyric acid by eating butter.

    FTA has lots of reports on beneficial effects of resistant starch, but no information on why. That is the critical information. As mentioned to Mackay, above, we wonder about the need for resistant starch in a person on a healthful diet.

    • Perhaps we are getting into Weston A Price territory where there is more than one way to a healthy traditional diet. He distilled the varied traditional diets down to a few common themes included healthy fats, fermented foods and properly prepared starches.

      Personally I use quite a bit of butter including ½ a stick in my morning coffee, but I’m also experiemneting with resistant starches.

      The gut biome is just being decoded as a participant in health. I subscribe to idea that we must eat not only to nourish our body, but to feed the gut bacteria as well. It’s not a matter of one or the other, we must nourish both for optimal health.

  4. As an interesting side note, vegetarian animals like cows and gorillas have massive digestive systems which employ bacteria to ferment the vegetation into fatty acids. Though they may seem to be vegetarian, they are living off of fat produced in their guts.

    Humans have far less equipment designed for fermentation, some evelutionary biologists suggest we “traded” gut mass for brain mass. Humans do much better eating some/most of our fat that another animal has made for us. In addition, if the gut biome is dimished by antibiotic use or disease, proper dietary fat intake is critical.

    I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here, but I wanted to acknowledge the work you are doing here to get information out about the importance of fat in the diet. You will save lives.

    • Alice and Fred

      You are so right, Mackay, the digestive system with its microflora is a very interesting and important subject. Ruminants (eg cows) are remarkable animals. First they must convert the vegetation they eat to glucose. The ruminants use the glucose for energy; the microorganisms use the glucose to make many other nutrients for themselves and their hosts.

      We do not know about gorillas. They must have enlarged appendices to hold and ferment vegetation. The human must also have had such a fermentation bypass at some time in its evolution. The human appendix, which is that little pouch just at the end of the small intestine as it enters the large intestine (and gives people so much trouble), is the vestigial remnant of such a bypass.

      We do not know much about the biochemistry of gut microorganisms, but we are very concerned about how to remedy the damage done to them by antibiotics. Any information you have on that subject would be greatly appreciated. We believe that most people do not realize that GI problems they have after medical treatment is most often due to antibiotics damaging gut organisms.

      Finally, thank you for your kind words, Mackay, but, like you, we are all just partners in helping people discover nutritional truths.

  5. Fermentation of animal components in strict carnivores: a comparative study with cheetah fecal inoculum.

    “This study provides the first insight into the potential of animal tissues to influence large intestinal fermentation in a strict carnivore, and indicates that animal tissues have potentially similar functions as soluble or insoluble plant fibers in vitro. Further research is warranted to assess the impact of fermentation of each type of animal tissue on gastro-intestinal function and health in the cheetah and other felid species.”


  6. Dominik

    The butyric acid you eat never makes it all the way to the lower intestine. The only way you get there it is if you let the gut bacteria make it from various fibers and resistant starch.

    • Alice and Fred Ottoboni

      This is very interesting, Dominik. It is contrary to what we have read. We would really appreciate knowing your source for these findings. Many thanks.

    • Paul the rat

      Not the only way, certain bacteria can (and do) utilize glycans (which form part of mucus layer) produced by our colon cells, as energy and carbon source and in the process produce butyric acid. One does not need to consume dietary fiber or resistant starch to support growth of these bacteria, our colon produces its own “fiber” so to speak.

      • Alice and Fred Ottoboni

        Many thanks, Paul for the information. We appreciate your input very much.

        We often wonder if, like so many symptoms of inflammatory diets that are labeled as causes rather than co-symptoms, problems with our remarkable gut bacteria would be resolved simply by remedying the inflammatory diet.

  7. A few days ago I was in the Boston Aquarium and was saddened by the changes I saw–not in the place, but the visitors. Decades ago when I was a regular visitor one rarely saw a morbidly obese person, but I was now seeing many. Far more people there were in some stage of obesity, especially the children. I am no scientist, but the truth is staring us in the face everywhere we go.

  8. Lorraine

    Thank you so much for the interesting post. ” Brain-washed people are hostages of their beliefs and difficult to persuade otherwise.” describes my parents exactly. As I continue to learn more about nutrition and biochemistry after adopting a ketogenic lifestyle, my parents Ornish-based diet increasingly horrifies me. Despite the information I share with them, they will not let go of their beliefs. Beliefs adopted when my Dad had a heart attack at age 55 (I believe stress played a large role as well). I am a living, breathing example of how healthy keto is, but they won’t believe their own eyes, believing instead that I will quickly gain back the weight, as my sisters did on their diets. I emphasize that this is a lifestyle change, not a diet, state that my husband has gone off of his statins, share with them my blood lab results, and still they won’t even agree to consider the possibility that the way they eat isn’t healthy. The government and the media have truly done an epic job of brain-washing. I have to admit that it took me a while, despite my growing knowledge, to not be a bit horrified at the amount of fat I was eating.

    The comments about gut flora are interesting as well. I do eat a low-carb yoghurt every day (and butter!) and also have to eat one with each dose of antibiotic I take (rarely, only for dental work), or suffer agonizing stomach pain. I also have to be careful taking NSAIDs like ibuprofen, for the same reason. I either have to take them on a full stomach or with yoghurt. Fortunately, I find that I haven’t had any kind of illness in the 10 months of my new lifestyle. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Along those lines, all three of my sisters suffer from various illnesses – migraines, severe allergies to many substances, frequent viruses, menstrual issues, infertility, Epstein-Barre, blood clot issues, one also takes a statin. I and my brother are both healthy with no illnesses. He and his wife also eat a low-carb diet. Not a coincidence either. You could do a good study just with the 5 of us and our diverse eating habits 😉

    Now that butter was on the cover of Time magazine, perhaps things are changing.

  9. I follow a HFLC diet with MTC to control migraines that were previously so severe that I had considered shutting down my technology law practice and applying for disability. Though I started the diet to control the migraines, weight fell off my body without any “work” on my part. I merely ate to satiation and continued to swim 3 times per week. What is difficult are the rude reactions I get as I eat butter, olive oil, coconut oil and other fats in the proportions necessary to maintain my health. This diet has given me my health back and I am subject to eye rolling, rude comments and the like raising concerns about my heart. I read and enjoyed Big Fat Lie but I am not convinced that any amount of science will convince a large segment of our population that what they’ve been taught since childhood about saturated fat isn’t the truth.

    • What is difficult are the rude reactions I get as I eat butter, olive oil, coconut oil and other fats in the proportions necessary to maintain my health.

      Stay strong, Amy. We’re changing ~50 years of established wisdom and an overly-simplistic model of nutrition. I know exactly how you feel and how frustrating it is.

  10. Amen, Michael, and to Amy,

    We are very happy that you found the truth and are experiencing its health benefits. The only answer to the epidemics of chronic disease that are bankrupting our country is for people like you who are living proof of nutritional truth to come forth and tell their stories. We know there are people who will read your words and be encouraged to help themselves by following your example.

    You seem well versed in healthful nutrition, so we are curious if you are taking any fish oil. We have not read any popular nutrition book that explains or even mentions the importance of the omega-3 fatty acids in initiating the remarkable ability of the human body to self-heal. If you would like to learn more, please read our response to Mark’s comment at the end of “The Perfect Teeth of Prehistoric Humans.” Omega-3, especially DHA, will aid the healing process you are now undergoing. It could also improve control of your migraine problem. You will find that as the months and years go by, you will continue to feel improvement in your health.

    Thank you for writing.

    • Yes, I do take fish oil–fermented cod liver oil from a reputable provider. I have a desk job that puts me inside 10 hours a day, so I get very little sun exposure. And, my chosen exercise is swimming, which I do primarily indoors. As I understand it, the cod liver oil gets me Omega 3s + Vit. D. I also supplement with Mg (for the headaches) and K (b/c my keto plan is 25g carb 60-80g prot. and 100g fat I get limited K unless I drink broth). I have found that these supplements are all I need to feel great. I was actually using my firm’s treadmill desk for the hour before writing this, walking through a thunderstorm, headache free. I used to have almost 100% accuracy on predicting thunderstorms because I would get a migraine. Not anymore! In fact, I haven’t had one so long as I strictly limit my carbs. It’s not hard to avoid cheating when the alternative, for me at least, is a migraine that, once triggered, is unlikely to stop for days on end, accompanied by vomitting, word finding difficulty and alodynia. Horrible.

  11. All looks good, Amy, except we think your vitamin D intake may not be protective enough because you normally get so little sunshine. The vitamin D content of cod liver oil is only about 400 IU of D3 (cholecalciferol) in a teaspoon of cod liver oil. The newer recommendation for normal sun exposure is from 1,000 to 2,000 IU of cholecalciferol daily. The recommendation is based on data from studies of influenza epidemics that found vitamin D protected against the fatal pneumonia that often accompanies influenza.

    Bless you, Amy, for sharing your story. You will find as the years go by your diet will protect you against the so-called diseases of old age.

  12. Butter is one of the few foods I can eat that produces no negative reactions in my body. My cells seem to absorb it like a thirsty sponge. I add 2 oz of grassfed butter to 2 cups of homemade bone broth, and this will sustain me for hours. I do this several times a day as needed. Butter provides the majority of my calories. I consume and average of 8 oz per day. This produces a steady, stable energy that I never before experienced on a carbohydrate-based diet. I am thankful that writers like Taubes and Teicholz have persevered in there decades-long research to bring us the truth in an engaging and accessible way.


Leave a Reply