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Saturated Fat and Sauerkraut

Two of the most respected medical journals in America produced some jaw-dropping revelations this past month -  for those who haven't  kept up with current nutrition research. 

Saturated fat, vindicated!
The June, 2020 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reports what amounts to a retraction/reassessment of earlier advice on low-fat diets, saturated fats, etc.
Summary The recommendation to limit dietary saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake has persisted despite mounting evidence to the contrary.  (Remember Dr Atkins?) To quote the paper:  Research analysis found "no beneficial effects of reducing SFA intake on cardiovascular disease and total mortality and instead found protective effects against stroke".  !!! (exclamation points mine!) 

They go on to report:  Although SFAs increase LDL cholesterol, in most individuals this is not due to increasing levels of small, dense LDL particles (the "Bad guys") but rather the larger LDL which are much less strongly related to Cardiovascular risk; they can be, in fact, protective. Whole fat dairy, unprocessed meats,* eggs, and dark chocolate are SFA rich foods... but... the totality of available evidence does not support further limiting the intake of such foods
(Incidentally, a cholesterol panel is useless unless it includes the VAP or NMR profile which tells you the composition of your LDL particles. Size matters!)

For many years we have seen this evidence mounting, in the popular press and newspaper articles, (Remember TIME magazine cover a few years ago with a big cube of butter with the caption:  "DON'T BLAME BUTTER"?) but this is the first time I've seen the most prestigious Cardiovascular Disease journal in America come out with what we, in the world of nutrition, have been promoting for about 20 years:  There is no relationship between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular disease. The huge (industry-profit driven) push toward adopting a low-fat diet has fuelled our obesity and diabetic and cardiovascular disease epidemic. (which we now know is the "underlying epidemic" fuelling the Covid-19 pandemic rate of deaths)

*My personal caveat here is that the meats we eat should be from animals who eat their natural diet. And get to run around in pastureland, not cages and pens, thereby making them leaner as well.  This makes their saturated fat healthy fat, promoting a better omega 3 to omega 6 ratio.
Omega 6 fats (Polyunsaturated) are highly inflammatory and these fats are prevalent in feed-lot, caged up animals.
The use of polyunsaturated fats (soy, sunflower, safflower, canola)  that were so heavily promoted in the 70s and 80s were based on incorrect information (with no studies to prove it). Now it's known that these fats are the real culprit in promoting heart disease  because they oxidize rapidly leading to inflammation of the entire body.  (Your HS-CRP score in a blood test)
Safe fats are olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, animal fat, butter, lard, even crisco - imagine!
NB: All restaurant food and all packaged food use these polyunsaturated fats in cooking and in salad dressings because they are cheap and don't go rancid when on the shelf for a year or two.  Read labels on the back of packages, not the advertisements on the front about "heart healthy" etc.
Quality of meat matters too: The words: grass fed, pasture raised, cage free, wild caught actually mean something.

Fermented food
Now for the sauerkraut, kimchi news:
Just google: fermented foods - covid 19 - American Journal of Gastroenterology and you will have several articles to choose from, should you wish more than my summary.

Again, one of the top medical journals in the country is the American Journal of Gastroenterology and this month this journal published summaries of a study under peer review (to be published in August) regarding the lack of Covid 19 severity as well as death in countries with the common practice of eating fermented vegetables,  (They studied fermented milk and yogurt as well, but fermented veggies took the blue ribbon)
The Report:
Countries with the highest intake of fermented vegetables have the lowest rates of Covid 19 as well as lowest severity. To test the hypothesis, the team of researchers used info from the European Food Safety Authority Comprehensive Euro Food Consumption database (whew) to assess the consumption of various fermented foods by country, including vegetables, milk, yogurt, and sour milk.
What did the study find?  Only fermented vegetables had a significant impact on mortality rate from Covid19 by country. For each gram (that's the size of a raisin!) per day increase in national average consumption of fermented vegetables, the risk for Covid19 mortality fell by 35.4 %.  (that's not a typo)
To quote from this preliminary study:
"Although this study is only indicative of the role of diet in Covid19, it is however another piece of the hypothesis proposing that traditional fermented foods may be involved in the prevention of severe Covid19 at a country level."  They go on to say:  "If the hypothesis is proved, Covid19 will be the first infectious disease epidemic whose biological mechanisms are proved to be associated with a loss of nature."  And further down, "when modern life led to eating reduced amounts of fermented foods the microbiome of the gut drastically changed and this may have facilitated SARS-Cov-2 to spread or be more severe."

In several separate but related articles, this same journal (and many others) reported that folks using antacid medication for Acid-Reflux (like proton pump inhibitors) over a period of time reduce  the diversity of microflora in the gut and which more than doubles the incidence of Covid19 in these people. Even TUMS can have this effect over time b/c reduced acid in the stomach lowers our ability to kill incoming bacteria and viruses. (which, BTW, lower hydrochloric acid in the stomach also induces osteoporosis eventually b/c we need acid to absorb calcium from our food.)

So.....Kimchi and Dr. Ohhira anyone?
(Dr Ohhira being a lactic acid pre-pro-and post probiotic supplement that imbeds in the gut lining and promotes a diversified gut bacteria population.)
PS: Anyone living in Orange County has easy access to a a wide variety of fermented vegetables as well as a supply of grass-fed, pasture raised animal products in their freezer section. One stop shopping at "The Fermentation Farm" on Victoria Ave in Costa Mesa. They sell fermented cabbage, beets (my personal favorite) mixed vegetables and kombucha as well.

Mary Anne Robinson, MS Bio-Nutrition