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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Low Cholesterol = Youngsters Craving Food

The epidemic of obesity is looming larger in our collective lives.  So large, in fact, that "experts" are calling for "an intense push by schools, employers, doctors and others" to reverse it (see this WSJ article).

Obesity today I think is caused by some factors that are not so obvious.

One, I think, is the fascination our culture has with nutritional "fakes."  Margarine, for example.  Touted for years as a "better than butter" alternative.  This "better than the real thing" concept has really taken off over the last decades and now our lives are filled with "better alternatives."

Most of them eliminating fat entirely and replacing it with faux fat containing no cholesterol.

The question I am asking today is does eliminating fat from a diet really have the intended effect?

First off, what's the "intended effect?"

Today cholesterol is the "jack the ripper" of nutrition.  No one wants it.  Its evil, its bad and its coming for your children.  So food companies have taken this idea to the extreme and eliminated all cholesterol from many food products.

The "intended effect" being, of course, to save you from consuming cholesterol.

But there are unintended effects: memory loss among them (see this in Scientific American).

I believe that there are other, unintended consequences of the "no cholesterol" policies you find in food these days.

One is that children's bodies know they need cholesterol.  Yet young mothers, their heads filled with "cholesterol is jack the ripper" thinking don't believe it so they deprive their children of it.   No whole milk, no fat cookies and deserts and snacks, and on and on.

Unfortunately the children's bodies are not put off by this and instead their bodies believe that they are merely living in a "cholesterol poor" area and need to compensate by eating more food - particularly food their brains tell them will have more cholesterol: chips, snacks, etc. that trigger responses in their brains.

So the idea is that as you take necessary nutrients out of the available sources of food for children (and adults for that matter) their bodies compensate by overeating in areas where they percieve the missing nutrition will be replaced.

Now I argue that, particularly in children, cholesterol is a necessary nutrient - your brain being the largest collection of cholesterol in your body.

In my own life I have been experimenting with this notion.

Over the last many years I have always been very hungry - hungrier than I thought I should be - but I never really new why.

About a year ago Mrs. Wolf and I began a food journey that tries to eliminate most "man made" things from our shopping cart: if it comes in a box don't buy it basically.  This means that we make things like bread, for example, rather than buy it when we can.  We also make butter, jam, and all sorts of other things.  We grow food in the garden as well.  We cook without salt for the most part.

This also includes consumption of a lot more natural cholesterol in various foods.

Now I have noticed that over the last year my "hunger" has diminished significantly. 

I find that a meal is more satisfying and that I need to eat less.

I also find that I have lost weight - slowly over time - not all at once.

So my theory here is that all these wonderful low calorie, low fat, low this, low that foods are actually having the opposite effect.

They are triggering the body to respond as if its eating something like celery - something that takes more energy to digest than the food contains.

So the bodies craves more food.

I think this is a particular problem with children.

In fact, one of my own children thought that allow their child ice cream was tantamount to poisoning them.

The second problem which I think goes hand-in-hand with the "cholesterol" problem is that most of us in the USA are malnourished.  In particular short of iodine, cholesterol sources like "cod liver oil" and vitamins like C and D.

Without enough of the right vitamins (and the right amounts) we cannot process the food we do eat correctly - so we have build ups of bad things in our bodies: cholesterol, fat and so on.

So even eating the right foods you can still be malnourished if you don't have the necessary vitamins to process the digested result.

Over all I have found that my consumption of food is diminishing to a more reasonable level and the food I eat seems to be far more satisfying.  Now that I eat a diet much higher in cholesterol and take what my research has told me are the right vitamins in the right amounts I am no longer "hungry."  And I think this is my body telling me its getting better nutrition than it was.

I can do more - I can work longer - easily up to 12 hours a day now at 55 - more than I could at 45.  I am less tired.  I have more energy over all.  More focus and mental clarity.

(Exercise is important too, or rather "activity" in general.  I do spend a part of the day sitting on my ass but the rest of the time I am busy.  Of course this is all anecdotal evidence based on me by research conducted by me - your mileage will vary...)

So my guess is that, if I am right, no amount of government, school or employer activity is going to fix this because the problem does not have a single source.

Schools will cut even more fat from children's diets trigger them to hunt further and more actively for replacements.

And without the proper level of vitamins even if they had the right food they could not digest it effectively.

So I think this "intervention" by big everything is doomed to complete failure.

And again I blame the educational system - especially here in the US - because its beholden to the agricultural industries and lobbies. 

No one studies anything but what they can get funding for and no one is going to get funding to study this because it goes against big agriculture and the FDA.

Of course, I might fall over dead tomorrow from all this.

But in the mean time I have my brain back - my energy and all the rest.

I am not sure I'd want to live like I did ten years ago for another forty years - in a mental fog, low energy, etc.

As a nation our "big pharma/big government/big science" infrastructure has failed us.

Its failing our children.

Not until we wake up and get a handle on the real problem will things change.

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