Saturday, 1 August 2009

Fat, nutrients and hibernation

I've covered this topic before but got a little inspiration so thought i'd write it down. Haven't read the original post so not sure if I'm repeating myself.

The essence of my thoughts is around the human need for fat's, particularly saturated fats. The media and health professionals like to bemoan fat intake but I'm not entirely convinced it's all been thought through completely.

I agree totally that having too much fat must cause problems because everything in life has its balance.
I wonder though that it may be possible to live healthily on a high fat, particularly saturated fat, diet as long as you accepted and dealt with the risks this imposes.

I can't prove anything, it's just theory, but I'm interested by those who claim that saturated fats would not be affected by natural oxidation because they are more stable compounds. I'd expect they'd let to a lower number of free radicals and lower need for anti oxidants.

I also understand most animals including humans store a lot of spare nutrients in fat cells ready for times of hunger. This helps through times such as hibernation when nutrients are scarce. Point being though that this requires an advanced ability to maintain nutrient frshness over time within the body. Plenty of animals that hibernate must have this ability.

I wonder whether we too have this abikity in our genes? It seems only fair to assume that evolution would have provided us with this ability given the hardships we have faced over millenia like all animals. It also seems fair to assume we repeatedly had a need to store vital nutrients and keep the fresh inside our bodies for long periods.

I don't expect any research has been done into this because it's not the way most people think and would be laughed at if suggested given the current focus. Essentially I'm saying I feel that humans must be more resilient than we're told and that i'd atleast like to know if there is research on how animals survive extremes such as hibernation on a nutritional level, I can guess how fat soluble vitamins are stored, so I want know about water soluble ones. How do bears and squirrels survive and keep these nutrients fresh?

Vitamin a for example has both water soluble (beta carotene) and fat soluble (retinol) forms. The former is the vegetable version, the latter the animal version. So it's possible this nutrient could be supplied in animal fat. The key being the animals fat. The muscle part, which we're most used to eating, contains certain nutrients but others are more common in other parts of an animal. Those who eat these parts will gain more balance and benefit in their diet.

That vitamin a has fat and water soluble equivalents with that fat soluble, animal based version being more accessible to humans makes me wonder if other nutrients have similar attributes. Vitamins are simply labelled as such because they were discovered before they could be properly chemically namedand their function truly determined.

The studies on vitamin b complex I have read  focus on asian cultures where high carb, rice diets, are common. So is it an surprise that the vitamin b deficiency was linked to rice and its refinement rather than to other factors.

Thinking a little further I've realised many problem with where this is going. You'd need to eat fat high in nutrients. This woukd probably mean animals that hibernate or have extended times with little or no food. Kind of like a paleo diet for animals. Doesn't seem like something farmers would adopt anytikme soon.

It also ignores veg with high fat content. Do they contain any vitamins infat soluble forms needed by humans. Anyway I'm just thinking too far ahead.

I've probably raised more questions than I've answered but that was the point. I'm just thinking around this because I wonder how we survived outside civilsation and whether this could help us today.

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