Word Count: 995
A Fraudulent Phobia of Saturated Fats
Over the past century, Americans have suffered notable increase in coronary heart
disease. Before 1910, deaths in the US from this illness were almost nonexistent. By
1930, the toll rose to 3,000 a year. By 1960, over 500,000 Americans died annually from
this ailment (“The Oiling of America,” par. 2). Fearful of escalating heart disease,
Americans readily accepted theories that saturated fats, found in animal products such as
meat, eggs, and fish, were the culprits; they strove to replace these ‘villains’ with ‘heart-
healthy’ alternatives like vegetable oils, or imitation fats like margarine. But this did not
help. Coronary Heart disease remains today’s leading cause of American mortalities
(“What is Coronary Heart Disease?”, par. 7). In light of this, Americans should
reconsider their phobia of saturated fat as the cause of heart disease and reverse their
efforts to replace it, since saturated fat is not the primary cause of heart disease, using
substitute fats incurs consequences, and saturated fat is essential to good health.
First of all, consuming saturated fat is not a major cause of heart disease.
Americans have bought into the concept that saturated fat is the cause, b. But just how
reliable is evidence supporting this presumption? Mary Enig, Ph.D., an expert in the field
of lipid fats, points out that a majority of substantial evidence contradicts the assertion
that saturated fat is a primary cause of heart disease. She observes that the media – likely
motivated by vegetable oil processing companies who thrive by selling their products as
alternatives to saturated fat – has often taken studies out of context in efforts to generate
ample evidence. For example, the media publicized Nathan Pritikin’s diet as conclusive
evidence for a fat-free diet. His patients reported weight loss, less cholesterol, and lower
blood pressure. However, Enig notes, the media failed to acknowledge other aspects of
Pritikin’s program which more likely yielded results – eliminate sugar, white flour and all
processed food as well as use more fresh raw foods, whole grains, and strenuous exercise
(4). Consequently, the study was far from producing conclusive evidence. On the
contrary, tests abound which show minimal correlation between heart disease and
consumption of saturated fats. For example, a trial sponsored by the National Heart,
Lung, and Blood Institute, comparing mortality rates and eating habits of over 12,000
men, revealed “marginal reduction in total coronary heart disease” for those who reduced
fat and cholesterol intake (qtd. in Enig 5-6).
When considered without bias, research indicates that saturated fat is not the
leading cause of heart disease. Jordan S. Rubin N.M.D. Ph.D. agrees, stating that more
significant culprits include “excess consumption of vegetable oils, hydrogenated fats, and
refined carbohydrates; vitamin and mineral deficiencies; and the reduction and
disappearance of antimicrobial fats from the food supply.” (134). Thus, in efforts to
combat heart disease, Americans obsess over an insignificant factor. Endeavoring to
eliminate saturated fat from their diets, Americans tediously extricate dirt from under
their metaphorical fingernails, without heeding large mud smears across their faces.
Formatted: Indent: First line: 0.5"
BBut, by seeking out saturated fat substitutes Americans don’t merely waste their
time. Use of alternative fats, specifically polyunsaturated fat, is detrimental to health.
For example, many Americans replaced butter, a saturated fat, with ‘healthier’ margarine,
a hydrogenated polyunsaturated fat. But, as recent research has shown, it actually
increases the likelihood of heart disease: The Medical Research Council found that “men
eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those eating margarine” (qtd.
in Rubin 133).
In addition to actually increasing risk of heart disease, polyunsaturated fats incur a
myriad of additional problems. According to an article dubbed “The Oiling of America”,
excess consumption of polyunsaturated fats, including soybean oil, corn oil, and canola
oil, can harm the reproductive organs and the lungs, can impair learning ability, is toxic
to the liver, compromises the immune system, and can hinder infants’ mental and
physical growth. Excess consumption of polyunsaturated is even linked with cancer.
The article goes further, “Disruption of prostaglandin production [a result of excess
consumption of polyunsaturates] leads to an increased tendency to form blood clots, and
hence myocardial infarction [damage to heart tissue], which has reached epidemic levels
in America.” (par. 79) As research such as this reveals, Americans’ excessive use of
polyunsaturates is detrimental to their health.
Ironically, by attempting to remedy increasing heart disease by eliminating and
replacing saturated fats, Americans actually exacerbate the problem. Americans need to
reassess their errant conceptions of saturated fats. Instead of eliminating saturated fats,
they should reincorporate them into their diet.
Reincorporating saturated fats into the diet will not only prevent harm, but
provide vital benefits. Saturated fats are essential to vibrant health. As Dr. Mercola
points out, “It is impossible to achieve a nutritionally adequate diet that has no saturated
fat.” For, he continues, saturated fats are crucial components of cell membranes; are
valuable as antiviral, antiplaque, and antifungal agents; are the “preferred fuel for the
heart”; and can actually decrease heart disease risk factors (par. 13-17). Growing
evidence such as this is revealing that saturated fat is integral to a healthy, balanced diet.
Similar to an assembly line, where work must be distributed to all different roles in order
to produce a working product, good health necessitates balance and moderation of
different nutrition sources. And, to maintain this balance, saturated fats must not be
eliminated. In light of the essential benefits, Americans should cease balking at the
mention of saturated fat, but should strive to reestablish them in their diets.
In conclusion, Americans need to dispel their fraudulent phobia of saturated fat
and reincorporate it into their diets for a number of reasons. First of all, saturated fat is
unsoundly accused as the primary cause of heart disease. Secondly, replacing saturated
fats with substitutes instigates even poorer health. And finally, saturated fats are essential
to vibrant health, playing a crucial role in a well-balanced diet. If Americans can
successfully improve their diets in this way, they will take strides in effectively battling
coronary heart disease.
Enig, Mary, and Sally Fallon. Nourishing Traditions. Washington DC: NewTrends Formatted: Indent: First line: 0"
Publishing, Inc., 2001.
Mercola, Joseph. “Surprise -- Saturated Fat Really Is Good For You.” Mercola.com. Formatted: Indent: First line: 0"
September 8, 2004. May 8, 2006. <http://www.mercola.com/2004/sep/
8/saturated_fat.htm> Comment [CRC1]: Hanging indents
Rubin, Jordan S. N.M.D. Ph.D. The Maker’s Diet. FL: Siloam, 2004.
“The Oiling of America.” The Weston A. Price Foundation. April 16, 2006.
“What is Coronary Artery disease?” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
March 2006. May 7, 2006. <http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Cad/
English 1121: College Writing and Critical Reading
Student Name _____________________________________________________ Term
4 3 2 1 0
Thesis & Clear, well- Clear Less clear Inappropriate, Formatted: Font: Bold
Focus phrased, appropriate thesis unclear, or
appropriate thesis minimal missing thesis
thesis appropriate focus Lacks focus
Effective focus Addresses Demonstrates
focus Addresses all the confusion
Addresses all points of the assignment, about the
points of the assignment but slights assignment
assignment. some tasks
Organization & Order and Order and All parts of Incoherent or Formatted: Font: Bold
Structure pattern of pattern of the essay illogical
ideas is ideas is are organization
logical, logical and presented,
coherent, coherent but may not
and perhaps be in the
even best order
dramatic or may lack
Critical Insightful Sound critical Predictable Little evidence Formatted: Font: Bold
Thinking & critical thinking thinking of
Support thinking and and and critical
reasoning. reasoning. reasoning. thinking.
Strategic use Effective use Adequate Irrelevant and
of of support. inadequate
relevant and relevant and Research support.
concrete concrete lacks Lack of
support. support. depth. relevant
Appropriate Less depth of sources.
of research: sources are
sources are relevant
Audience Strong Awareness of Limited No audience Formatted: Font: Bold
Awareness & audience needs and audience awareness
Purpose awareness expectations awareness Lacks or fails
Rigorous; of readers Shifting to achieve
consistently Achieves point-of- purpose
engages purpose view
reader Weak or
Style Appropriate Tone or voice Inconsistent Inappropriate Formatted: Font: Bold
and wavers at voice tone or voice
consistent times Unnecessary Lack of
tone and Less repetition sentence
voice sophisticate Less variety
Sophisticated d language sentence Basic
language and variety vocabulary
and sentence Limited
sentence structure vocabulary
Grammar, Generally free There may be Patterns of Frequent Formatted: Font: Bold
Punctuation & from errors a few minor errors errors
Spelling errors interfere with
Documentation Writer Writer Writer Documentation Plagiarism Formatted: Font: Bold
documents documents attempts to is missing or
in-text and list sources document incorrect
of works cited correctly, sources, but
correctly but there formatting is
may be sometimes
some minor incorrect
errors Formatting is
Grade: 27/28 = 94%
Course Grade: A (94%)