Stand back against fatback
Gerald W. Deas M.D., MPH | 7/28/2016, 10:42 a.m.
As you expand your waist with fatback and other high fatty-calorie foods, the deposits of fat will ultimately collect in your gut and your butt. Wherever it decides to collect, it is bad for your health and will make you a candidate for heart disease, diabetes hypertension and painful knees. By the way, if you are heavy and have discomfort in your knees, please lose weight if you wish to stay off of pain medication.
When I was growing up in my Southern home in Brooklyn, everything was seasoned with fatback. You could find fatback floating in greens, cabbage, soups, black-eyed peas and a host of other tasty, Southern dishes. My South Carolinian dad was thrilled with my Virginian mom’s cooking, as long as it was served with rice. My family couldn’t wait to receive that greasy box containing sausages, ham, head cheese and smoked neck bones sent to us from our relatives in Virginia. This gift was a ritual every year. I am now certain that those tasty vittles containing so much saturated animal fat were the ultimate cause of colon cancer, cardiovascular disease and breast cancer that some family members later developed. So-called soul food put so many souls on ice, even though my South Carolinian grandmother lived to a ripe 98 years. I guess, if you have good genes, diet is only one of the risk factors and will not prevent longevity.
As lard and fatback began to take a backseat in American diets, Southern cooks began to substitute hydrogenated oils, commonly known as trans fats. These fats are found in commercially baked goods, such as crackers, pies, cookies and pastries. These man-made fats are foreign to our bodies and are poorly digested, causing a pile up of bad cholesterol known as low-density lipoprotein. This type of cholesterol causes damage to the arterial wall and results in poor circulation. Margarine is a well known trans fat and is used frequently in cooking and as a spread.
Recently, a study that followed 80,000 nurses who ate high amounts of trans fats showed the highest incidence of coronary artery disease. Without a doubt, fatback and trans fats are unhealthy fats. It is extremely important to remember that any fats that remain liquid at room temperature such as corn, canola, olive or peanut oils are less harmful to the coronary arteries.
The omega 3 fatty acids that are concentrated in fish such as tuna, salmon, bluefish and sardines have been reported to decrease the risk of cardiac death. And diets containing an abundance of fruits and vegetables can make a difference in the health of your circulatory system.