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Animal Health Notebook

Lean May Be Queen But Fat Is Where It’s At

Real science has been showing us for 40 years that we need more fat and much less carbohydrates.


For almost 40 years most of the US citizenry has been involved in the largest health experiment of the past several hundred years.

Shortly after the heart attack suffered by Sen. George McGovern in 1978 he became the spokesperson for the American Heart Association and his Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs more or less forced the food industry in the US to reduce the fat content of American food by 50%. The present-day American health crisis soon skyrocketed.

The food industry was well prepared for the governments’ dictates and quickly cut the fat content of most food by 50% and added large quantities of a new sweetener, high fructose corn syrup, to thousands of prepared foods. The high fructose corn syrup was cheap due to government support to corn growers and due to the high sugar-tariff. Millions of persons soon became hopelessly addicted to corn syrup and low- to zero-fat food products that were touted to control weight gain while resulting in the blow-up of more than 30% of Americans. Today the government itself says more than 30% of Americans are "obese."

In the South where I live, all you need to do is sit down out front of Wal-Mart and note that at least 1/3 of the folks of all ages are not just fat, they are huge by 1960’s standards.

Now, every senior animal science student knows that sugar or molasses are the most addictive of all feed stuffs. The food industry knew this as well.

Within three to five years of this major food ingredient change 70+ million of our population was fat. This explosion was happening right in front of our eyes.

Close on the heels of the obesity epidemic came explosion number two -- Adult Onset Diabetes. A few years later it was forced into a name change to Type II Diabetes because of the dynamic increase in this disease among children and young people.

Attention Deficit Disorder was soon being diagnosed in numbers never before seen and at least a double handful of other huge medical maladies, all caused by a high-sugar and processed-carbohydrate diet with a lack of dietary fat and near extinction of non-inflammatory fat (Omega 3) and greatly reduced amount of highly beneficial conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) fat.

Interestingly, just a few years earlier an old heart surgeon by the name of Robert Atkins had proven that fat did not make you fat. He showed that fat and red meat would help keep you slim. He did miss the part relating to the different types of fat and the industrial processing of fats and their negative effects, however.

We now can simplify most of the equation rather easily.
• Fat derived from seeds or animals eating a high seed diet is high in inflammatory fat.
• Fat derived from green leaves and ruminants eating large amounts of green leaves is high in non-inflammatory fat.
• Heat and filtration denatures naturally occurring fat into unnatural fats that the body does not know how to properly process.
• We need both seed and leaf and they need to be consumed in a ratio of about 3:1 (seed/inflammatory to leaf/non-inflammatory) in their unprocessed form. Presently the average American diet is close to 15:1.
• Carbohydrates need to be consumed in small amounts and the less they are processed and the higher in fiber the better. Our gastrointestinal tract needs the scratch effect.

It is a scientific fact that the higher the fat content of the diet or ration the more stable the blood sugar levels and the fewer the hunger pains the person or animal will have. This principle is exemplified by the fact that the addition of one pound (a pint) of cotton seed oil or five pounds of 20% fat whole cotton seed, 800-pound Jersey cows will significantly lower their total feed or grass intake.

Cats in the wild select for a 40% fat diet and pick the highest quality fat available. Remember that the brain is more than 80% high-quality fat and notice that even domestic cats love mouse heads. Cats consuming a 40% quality fat diet are slick haired and healthy and near impossible to fatten.

I remember quite well when the beef industry began the radical fat trimming in the early 1980’s and the trimmed fat having a value of less than twice the price of the extremely cheap corn we had at that time. With four times the energy level at 50% the price the fat was quickly added to chicken, hog, cattle, dog and cat feed with positive results.

We beef producers paid the price with decreased profits and the American health care industry exploded as American health moved sharply down hill at a rapid rate. In 1977 when I finished vet school the average family in the U.S. spent 6% of their income on health care and 16% on food. Today the expenditure on food is about 10% and health care cost is approaching 25%.

The answer to the dilemma is fairly simple if you are interested in being sharp, having energy, being healthy and losing your spare-tire waist line. On a daily basis eat at least six to 10 ounces of fatty beef from an animal that spent months and months on well mineralized fresh grass that was mostly tall and green. This animal needs to have received only a trace of seeds (grain).

The highest quality will normally come from a somewhat early maturing, easy fattening 24- to 40-month-old steer or heifer that has never failed to gain weight daily and had only a little wrinkle of hide over its brisket when it is harvested in the late summer or early fall.

Use this beef fat in most everything you cook.

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