Fat consumption figures are based on the fatty acid content of oil sources in their natural state. They cannot give accurate correlations between LA nutrition and disease trends, for instance, because these figures fail to show how much LA was altered into trans- fatty acids, other breakdown products, or saturated fatty acids (SaFAs), or how much LA was denatured by processing and frying. They also neglect decreases in vitamin and mineral co-factors required for LA metabolism.
Between 1900 and 1980, many processed products, deficient in essential fatty acids (EFAs), vitamins, and minerals, were introduced into the marketplace. At the same time, our consumption of fiber decreased. White flour consumption was rare until about 1800, but refining methods improved after 1880, and especially after 1900.
Nutrient- and natural co-factor-rich (unrefined) oils became rare in this time period. The only unrefined oil that remained on the market was the group of ‘virgin’ olive oils. But even olive oil is available refined now, and the undiscerning customer might lose out on the last unrefined oil in mass markets.
Cholesterol cannot be the primary cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD), because our cholesterol consumption has remained about the same in the last 100 years, while CVD has skyrocketed. Trans-fatty acids and altered vegetable fats deserve suspicion. Sugars deserve suspicion. Processed foods lacking minerals and vitamins deserve suspicion.
Butter is not to blame for increased fatty degeneration, because our consumption of butter has decreased, while fatty degeneration has increased. Total fat intake may be exceeding our body’s capacity for fat metabolism.
In 1900, cancer killed 1 person in 30. In 1980, it killed 1 person in 5. Today, it kills 1 person in 4.
At the turn of the century, cardiovascular disease accounted for 1 death in 7. In 1980, it accounted for 1 death in 2. Today, it still kills more than 1 person in 3.
The recent decrease in cardiovascular deaths may be partly due to better post-heart attack management with high-tech medical methods but, as Pauling points out, it is more likely that the main factor reversing CVD deaths is the fact that about 100 million Americans take nutritional supplements (especially Vitamin C).
Diabetes rose at a similar rate, and other diseases of fatty degeneration, like multiple sclerosis and liver and kidney degeneration, also increased rapidly.