For decades, we were taught that eating fats made you fat. Most of us know that fat contains more calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein, but fat’s calorie density does not make fats the sole cause of the increasing incidence of obesity. A recent New York Times investigation1 found that, unfortunately, part of this anti-fat education campaign was financed behind the scenes by the sugar industry starting in the 1960s, to counteract growing evidence of sugar’s deleterious effects on our health. Blaming all fats for the rising incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity steered consumers towards factory-made “low-fat foods”—most of which were loaded with sugar. Sugar’s addictive qualities led to a boom in sugar sales and in sugar consumption, from around 60 lbs per year after WWII to around 130 lbs per year in recent years. The truth behind the healthiness of fats is far more complicated. Current nutrition research, like the dietary advice given in the Edgar Cayce readings, has demonstrated that a moderate consumption of healthy natural fats is an important part of a balanced diet.

Though too much of any food will lead to weight gain, small portions of nuts, seeds, and fat-containing fruits like coconut and avocado have been shown to contribute to overall good health. Our bodies use fats in many different important processes like transporting fat-soluble vitamins, manufacturing hormones, creating cell membranes, and insulating nerve cells. Without fat, we are malnourished and risk vitamin deficiencies, skin problems, decreased mental functioning, and inflammatory conditions. For those with life-threatening illness, like a 28-year-old osteopath who recovered at the Cayce Hospital from a ruptured appendix and peritonitis in (pre-antibiotic era) 1930, consuming fats and vitamin-rich vegetables was an important part of recommendations for regaining his strength:

…we would build that that will produce the nerve energy and BLOOD building. Those of the tripe, hog liver, the olive oil - take all that can be assimilated, see? and those that are not just FAT building, but NERVE building, and those that carry same - as may be termed - JUST fodder in the system; as will be seen in those of lots of lettuce, lots of celery, lots of asparagus, and such - that are taken as GREEN vegetables…

-- Edgar Cayce reading 102-2

For healthier individuals, the Edgar Cayce readings also recommended small amounts of natural vegetable oils, like olive oil, for their tasty and healing characteristics. Very small amounts of animal fats like butter and bacon grease were not prohibited in the readings, though many of the readings counseled against cooking with too much butter or oil. The Cayce readings did, however, vehemently warn in 745 readings against eating fried foods. All these warnings against fried food coincide with the immense popularity of newly introduced Crisco® during Cayce’s lifetime.

Crisco®, which is hydrogenated vegetable shortening, was introduced in 1911 with ubiquitous marketing that continued long past Edgar Cayce’s 1945 death. Some of you may even remember country star Loretta Lynn’s commercials for Crisco® in the late 1970s. We now know that the industrial oil hydrogenation process creates trans fats, substances that have a long shelf-life, are conveniently spreadable at cool temperatures, BUT that are also especially prone to cause plaque inside arteries. Plaque build-up and coronary artery clogs are the main cause of heart attacks in the United States. Trans fats increase LDL and triglyceride levels and reduce "good" HDL cholesterol levels. Partially hydrogenated oil, used in many fast foods and in processed baked goods and snacks, is a major source of trans fat. After decades of research, trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils (PHO) were finally banned from food in June 2018. Packaged foods created before June may still contain trans fats, so please read food ingredient labels. The Cayce readings were 75 years ahead of modern nutrition research in recognizing that fried foods and packaged foods are linked to poor health.

Unfortunately, corporate food companies have substituted palm oil. Palm oil cultivation has a devastating effect on the planet; large areas of tropical forests and rainforests have been cleared and replaced with giant oil palm plantations. Millions of acres of crucial habitat for many endangered species like rhinos, elephants, tigers, and orangutans have already been lost. Global production has doubled in the past ten years and is growing exponentially. Our addiction to convenience foods has a direct effect on the world in which we live.

So what can we do? The bottom line is to stick with a plant-based diet of fresh foods or frozen foods without added preservatives or chemicals. Enjoy small portions of nuts, nut-butters, seeds, and other high-fat plants. Avoid fried foods and packaged foods containing hydrogenated fats or the environment-destroying palm oil. A healthy body is the foundation for a healthy body, mind, and spirit.

Do not worry as to whether you are fat or thin. Worry rather as to whether you use your body, mentally and physically, as an expression of thy ideal.

-- Edgar Cayce reading 308-8