24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Comprehensive work on fats, oils and healthy living,
This review is from: Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill (Paperback)
Unfortunately, I had to read this voluminous book in translation, which somewhat slowed down the process of reading it. It could be said to be almost the definitve work on fats and oils - the only thing is the book's a bit old (from 1993), so it presumably won't contain the newest information in this field.
It is not only a comprehensive work but an extremely ambitious one, in that Erasmus doesn't restrict himself to discussing fats and oils but includes healthy eating as a whole. I found it to contain valuable information. The author is a wise and knowledgeable man.
He goes into absolute detail about the structure of the various oils, and these sections don't make for easy reading for those like myself who are scientifically illiterate.
Some basic details I retrieved from the book are as follows:
1) The essential fatty acids are lineolic acid (LA - omega 6 - and alpha linolenic acid (LNA) - omega 3.
2) Flax oil is the one containing most LNA (omega 3), and supplements of this oil can thus quickly resolve a lack of omega 3, but if one solely consumes flax oil then in the long run symptoms of lack of omega 6 will occur, since flax oil contains 4 times as much omega 3 than omega 6. The ideal ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 is 1:3, and hemp oil has this ratio between the two omega types. However, hemp oil is quite expensive.
3) It is of the utmost importance that we use only the very best oils that have been pressed and packed in darkness in an oxygen-free environment. They should be packed in dark containers and marked with sell-by date.
4) He points out the dangers of reducing one's cholesterol level too much (suicide, cancer), and in fact devotes a whole chapter to questioning the accepted cholesterol theory. (See also "Fat and cholesterol are good for you" by Uffe Ravnskov and "The great cholesterol con" by Malcolm Kendrick.)
5) All margarine and fried food should be avoided. If you absolutely must fry something, use, for example, a little butter. Oils containing essential fatty acids must never be used for frying. When frying in oil, water added to the pan keeps the temperature down to 100 degrees, which temperature is not destructive. Trans fatty acids are dangerous and should be avoided.
6) Erasmus subscribes to Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling's views that coronary disease is first and foremost due to a lack of C-vitamin.
He devotes a few final chapters to discussing the nature of health, and suggests that doctors should be focusing on this and not on disease.
This book contains an absolute wealth of essential health information, and I have only given a very few pointers.
I would highly recommend this book to those at all interested in their health.There could however be more recently written books available that are equally good or even better. Also my attention has recently been drawn to the fact that Erasmus fails to mention the excellent qualities of coconut oil.