“Fats in the Diet: From the Clinic to the Kitchen” and “Vitamin Reduces Tooth Decay,” plus High Points of Chlorophyll Complex
The following is a transcription of the August 1961 issue of Dr. Royal Lee’s Applied Trophology newsletter, originally published by Standard Process Laboratories.
Fats in the Diet: From the Clinic to the Kitchen
An address to the Newspaper Food Editors Conference, New York City, October 3, 1960, by Dr. Hugh M. Sinclair, Magdalen College Oxford, England.
Heart disease has become the most important cause of death in countries such as yours and mine. It has increased almost threefold in the past twenty years alone! One out of every four American males can expect to die from it. Each year, it takes the lives of close to one million of your countrymen! The disease has become almost universal. Atherosclerosis has been found by the late Dr. Russell Holman, one of your leading pathologists, to be present in every single artery he has studied from persons in the United States, beginning at the age of three onward!
Here are some other rather unsettling facts: So far as middle-aged man is concerned, medicine does not seem to have progressed beyond the mid-nineteenth century. In my country his life expectancy has increased just about three years in the last 100 years, and the picture looks far from bright for the future. Our latest figures from Scotland have already shown a drop in the life expectancy, and if present trends continue, the same is certain to happen in the United States. And this in the face of such marvelous medical advances as anesthetic and antiseptic surgery, hormones, modern drugs, and antibiotics! When we pride ourselves on the “Golden Age of Medicine,” we should remember that we must expect such a drop in life expectancy in coming years. We are, as you see, in the midst of what Paul Dudley White calls the “modern American epidemic” of heart disease!
However, this dismal picture does not apply everywhere. In certain countries, such as Japan, where diet patterns differ from ours, many doctors have rarely, if ever, encountered a single case of coronary heart disease.
What are the reasons for this comparatively recent ascendancy of coronary heart disease? Its rapid increase has been my main interest since my days as a medical student. The only really satisfactory explanation lies in the alteration of fats in the diet in the last century. I might just say that, particularly in the last two years, this view has become widely accepted.
Other suggestions as to its cause have also been brought forward. What about obesity, lack of exercise, stress and strain, smoking, heredity, and so forth? Let us take each of these quickly.
What about obesity? I understand that Americans spend millions of dollars and hours on taking pounds off that they have just put on during the previous meal. Since Americans carry about with them around 35 billion pounds of fat—much of it superfluous—it is very likely that this burden has its effect on heart disease. But people today are not three times heavier than they were twenty years ago!
What about lack of exercise, then? We now believe that exercise may play a minor part in heart disease. But only minor—as, for example, in a recent study in Finland, it has been shown that the very active agricultural and lumbering population of East Finland suffers considerably more heart disease than the more sedentary, more industrialized population of West Finland. Why? Because the East Finns eat much more of the wrong types of fats.
What about smoking, you might ask? I think that smoking is also a very minor factor. You will be interested to know that heavy smokers tend to select diets rich in fats.
Stress and strain may also play a minor part. However, we should bear in mind the experience of the occupied countries during the war, when heart disease actually decreased despite the strain of enemy occupation.
Heredity, I am quite certain, plays a part here, because heart disease is more common in certain body types, which of course are inherited.
These are all factors but only minor ones, and in each case, you will note, they act through dietary fats. What we now want to discuss is how the wrong kinds of fats in the diet cause this frightful disease of the heart and arteries.
I may startle some of you when I tell you that I myself do not support the hypothesis that the wrong dietary fats cause raised blood cholesterol, which in turn causes atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Now, I should hate to see a headline reading “British Doc Nixes Cholesterol.” I want to be very clear on this point. It is my belief that the wrong types of fats in our diet do tend to raise blood cholesterol levels. But irrespective of such levels, certain fats are directly involved in producing atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. So, while serum cholesterol levels are not a cause of coronary disease, high levels are often an indicator of high risks. On the other hand, large numbers of persons die of coronary heart disease with perfectly normal cholesterol readings. This does not by any means imply that fats are not directly involved. It does mean, on the other hand, that it is quite wrong to suppose that we can necessarily do much good by lowering blood cholesterol with a drug; we may just be driving the cholesterol from the blood into the arteries.
We have all heard a lot in recent years about the effect of fats on atherosclerosis, which involves the deposition of fats in the walls of the arteries. This is a slow and often lifetime process of clogging up and is a process that begins in most of us soon after birth. While this process normally progresses in severity, we now are beginning to believe that we cannot only arrest this process but even reverse it through a change in diet!
Although this process of clogging up is an important factor, I am also quite certain that it is only second in importance to the rapid and immediate ability of the wrong dietary fats to cause blood to clot more quickly. What this means is simply this: The saturated types of fats you have been eating in this otherwise excellent lunch will cause your blood to clot more easily. What are the effects of increased blood coagulability? It causes clots to block the blood vessels, resulting in coronary thrombosis or heart attacks, strokes, and death from clotting in the lungs—all major causes of death.
Let me illustrate the importance of dietary fats to blood coagulation from our own experience in Britain. As I told you a few moments ago, deaths from heart disease have risen nearly threefold since 1940. In that time we have detected some highly interesting interruptions in this rising curve, which we can only directly attribute to alteration in our national diet. For example, when we introduced wartime rationing in 1939, the rise in disease was temporarily halted. But then it started up again in 1943, immediately after the introduction of American lend-lease! We have been able to observe such phenomena on several occasions.
What precisely do we mean by the wrong dietary fats? Let us start with the useful ones. These include liquid—and not hydrogenated—vegetable seed oils, such as corn oil, sunflower, cottonseed, soybean, and peanut oil. Olive oil we must exclude from this class. Fish liver and kidneys are also rich in these desirable fats. The harmful fats, on the other hand, are in general those derived from beef, lamb, pigs, dairy products, hydrogenated margarine and vegetable shortenings, and most ice creams.
[Figure showing effect of hydrogenation on ratio of unsaturated to fatty acid in corn oil.]
We call useful fats, quite logically, “essential fatty acids.” These are the unsaturated fats in the diet. Indeed, all fats, including vegetable oils, contain varying amounts of saturated fat. What we must watch out for is the ratio of the unsaturated to saturated fats in our food.
Among the commonly available oils, corn oil has by far the highest ratio of unsaturated to saturated fats, running a ratio of 5.3 to 1. Cottonseed runs second, with a ratio of 2 to 1, or less than half the value of corn oil, while peanut oil runs third, with a ratio of 1.5 to 1. The fats we need are destroyed when they are hydrogenated. This is true of margarine as well, and in this respect, saturated fats. They are the only types of fats needed by the body. Hydrogenated corn oil margarine, for example, is no better than any of the other ordinary margarine.
[Figure showing ratio of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids in various food fats, including hydrogenated oils.]
What does all this imply in terms of the American kitchen and to our man in the street? The time has come, I believe, when the average citizen should modify his food by selecting foods rich in the useful fats. This throws a twofold responsibility on to you, who educate him, and on the food industry, which must develop such foods.
Let us quickly review some of these exciting possibilities:
Margarine, indistinguishable from butter in taste but containing a high amount of liquid, nonhydrogenated vegetable oils. You have no such grocery product in this country as of the moment. But with such a liquid oil margarine and the existing vegetable oils, it is entirely possible for the housewife to modify her meals without any noticeable alterations.
Modified milk, made from corn oil and skim milk, indistinguishable in taste from cow’s milk and nutritionally as good as human milk, is already a reality. This also goes for ice cream, cheese spreads, and other dairy products.
Animal production, through altered feeding methods, could also quite easily reflect our revised nutritional thinking.
All this is possible and quite feasible. But is it too drastic and premature? To the first question the answer, of course, is no. It is not drastic. We are talking about modifying and not revolutionizing our diets. Is it premature? Definitely not. Throughout the history of medicine, we have had to make use of the very best available information without awaiting always for all the details to fit into place. Let me just say this. We know a great deal today about how fats work and nothing at all about how aspirin works! But more research is urgently needed, particularly a large-scale trial of the effects of fats on coronary disease.
Modification of food habits are a matter of education not medicine. The principal responsibility therefore lies with you, the individual.
—From “A Bird’s-Eye View of Current Knowledge and Its Application to Today’s Living,” Health Horizons, March 1961.
Vitamin Reduces Tooth Decay
Atlantic City, New Jersey – The apparent increased need for vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) in pregnant women, coupled with the fact that they showed an increase in dental caries during this period, has led to recent experiments proving that vitamin B6 is a preventive for dental decay in expectant mothers. Previous research had shown that vitamin B6 could prevent dental caries in children and laboratory animals.
Dr. Robert W. Hillman, prominent New York doctor, conducted an experiment with a group of 468 pregnant women. One-third of the women received a daily vitamin mineral capsule with no B6; the second group received 20 mg of B6 daily in the capsule; group three received three lozenges daily, each containing 6.6 mg of B6. Both groups receiving vitamin B6 showed fewer cavities than the group receiving none.
—In part from Let’s Live, August 1961
High Points of Standard Process Nutritional Adjuncts
Chlorophyll Fat Soluble Ointment [Chlorophyll Complex Ointment]: Chlorophyll has an enviable reputation in the regeneration and healing of tissue. In AMA sponsored tests, only chlorophyll showed any consistent statistically significant effect in accelerating the healing of wounds and burns (Am. J. Surg., 62:358–369, 1943).
Chlorophyll Ointment seems to prevent and control pain in vaginitis, skin abrasions, friction burns, and burns in general. In dentistry it has been found invaluable as a pack after tooth extraction or for relief of pain and prompt healing in dry socket. It may be purchased in 2 oz. jars or in a convenient 1.5 oz. tube (with rectal applicator) for $6.00 list.