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Healthy Vitamins

Low Fat Diets and Vitamin A

In this day and age of low fat diets, we wanted to touch on the way vitamin A is needed in order for our bodies to use protein properly.  If we eat a low fat diet, it will also by its very nature be low in vitamin A, and we will eventually have a difficult time properly breaking down and using protein in the body, and this can create problems.  In fact, a low fat diet combined with a high level of proteins can be especially dangerous because the high protein levels will quickly deplete our vitamin A stores.

It is actually more important to emphasize animal fats in the diet for growing children rather than proteins.  When children consume a high-fat diet that is rich in vitamin A, they end up with a sturdy physique, steady, normal growth and a good resistance to all sorts of illnesses. 

An example of the problem with excess low fat protein in the diet involves a relief program in Guatemala.  Huge amounts of an instant nonfat dry milk were given to poor people for the relief of hunger.  Unfortunately, the people who consumed large amounts of it went blind!  According to Weston Price, traditional peoples seemed to understand this instinctively, and they did not consume lean meat without sources of animal fat in their diet.  They searched out fatty meat and they always consumed the organs along with the meat – they didn't throw away organs like the liver and the kidneys like we often do today.

One easy way to get more vitamin A into the diet, in addition to emphasizing animal fats like butter and cream from grass fed cows and liver, is to add some high vitamin cod liver oil in the form of a nutritional supplement that is rich in vitamin A.

Conflicting Information on Vitamin A

There has been conflicting information about this in articles printed in the popular press regarding vitamin A.  On the one hand, a recent New York Times article explained how egg yolks, cream, liver and shellfish, all rich in vitamin A, seem to help prevent cancer in adults and infectious diseases in children.  A Washington Post article noted how vitamin A nutritional supplements are reducing infant mortality in the developing world, and said that vitamin A was "cheap and effective".  They went on to list egg yolks, butter and liver as good food sources of vitamin A, and but then parroted an often believed idea, that carotenes from vegetables are "equally important."  As explained in the Beta Carotene section, this is simply not true.  In spite of these articles about egg yolks, cream and butter being rich in vitamin A, the popular press, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, has been promoting low fat diets for years, even for children, and as we have seen, you cannot have a low fat diet and get enough vitamin A from your foods at the same time.

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