It seems clear that a surefire way to be ill is to listen to the media for health advice.
Mmmmm? High fat increasing odds of conception but also increasing birth defects? Reading these two reports seems to indicate that Nature can’t make up Her mind, doesn’t it?
Something else is obviously at work here as Mother Nature is not confused!
I was on an organic, high fat diet with fermented foods when my youngest son was conceived and I am so grateful that I was. He is growing so healthy and happy. I know all too well how beneficial raw milk is for our kids pre-conception right through childhood and beyond. However I am kind of stuck because unfortunately where I live, raw milk is NOT available anywhere closer than 200 miles away. And this is New York so it is unavailable in stores and farmers markets around me or farm stands, don’t carry it at all. I am able to purchase organic organ meats though at my local store and some raw cheese and ghee.
My question is, are there any other sources where I may be able to obtain the raw milk?
Mmmm, raw milk is legal in New York. Here is where you can get it http://www.realmilk.com/real-milk-finder/new-york/#ny
Got the link, thanks!
I’ve been trying to change my diet to include more protein
And fats now that I’m pregnant. The one thing I’m still iffy about is vitamin A… Is there an upper limit? I love lamb liver, I don’t get to eat it often (every couple months maybe) but every time I eat some I wonder if it’s too much because of all the “studies” out there saying it can cause birth defects.. What’s your opinion?
I tracked down the original study ) to see what it actually said. The problem is not with the study; it's with the way the study was reported in the link on emaxhealth.com.
First, the study was looking at the interaction between maternal high-fat diet and a specific genetic mutation. The researchers were looking into lack of the gene Cited2, which is involved in setting out the pattern of an embryo, including left-right patterning and heart structure. The results showed that a high-fat diet alone did not cause much in the way of problems, and the problems it did cause tended to be minor (cleft palate), not major heart defects. Lack of Cited2 alone was associated with birth defects (which was to be expected), and the combination of lack of Cited2 with maternal high-fat diet was worst of all. So for a mouse with this severe genetic defect, it's better if the mother does not eat a high-fat diet. This doesn't exactly apply to most individuals, of course.
Secdond, an even bigger problem with the emaxhealth.com article is that it fails to make note of a very, very obvious fact: this was a study of mice, not humans! Mouse nutritional requirements are different from those of humans in important ways.
This difference is not really remarked on in the journal article either, but there's an important reason why, which is completely missed by the emaxhealth.com article: this is not meant to be a conclusive study about what mothers should eat. It is meant to be one tiny piece of the puzzle of why obese mothers are correlated with birth defects in the baby in humans. The researchers thought it may have something to do with the Cited2 gene, so they designed this study to find out more information, which can be used in even more future studies, and may eventually tease out some of the complex reasons maternal obesity increases the risk of birth defects. It is not intended to say that a particular diet in humans can increase birth defects. It only says that a particular diet in Cited2-knockout mice can increase birth defects. If you're not a Cited2-knockout mouse (I'm pretty sure this applies to 100% of pregnant women), it's inappropriate to make the conclusion that eating a lot of fat will cause birth defects.
You asked what kind of fat made up the "high-fat" diet. The journal article answered this question: they replaced starch with lard. So it's mainly saturated fat. I can only assume that the lard came from conventionally farmed pigs, with all the problems that go along with that (i.e. antibiotics, growth hormone, etc. may be concentrated in the fat and could be a confounding variable).
Dont forget that most commercially made lard is also hydrogenated to increase its shelf life. So there is the trans fat she spoke of.
Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist
Awesome Robyn! Thank you for tracking down this important information. I am shocked that this study was not even on humans but MICE! Media reports truly went of the deep end on this one.
Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist
Hi Jerica, I understand your point and agree with you. My point in citing the Harvard study was not to hold it up as some model for science done right but rather toshow how contradictory these media reports are from one year to the next and how misleading they are. We simply can't rely on them for anything valid with regard to health.
I appreciate your blog, but I think the study done by Harvard that you cite is probably not the greatest source of info for convincing people to eat a high fat diet. Not only does it have conflicting information (dairy fats seeming to increase fertility, while animal proteins seem to decrease it… see excerpt below) which suggests that it probably was not a very reliable study, but it also points out that animal meat sources of protein may decrease fertility. As for the mice study, I think it's a bit of a stretch to claim that the "high fat diet" fed to the mice was surely trans-fat based. There's nothing in the article to suggest that.
Here's the animal protein excerpt from the Harvard study:
"In addition, women who consume animal protein, protein from beef and chicken, have a 41% greater chance of experiencing ovulatory infertility than women who only consume vegetable protein, that derived from foods such as beans, tofu and nuts."
I'm a fellow WAPF-er, and ate a very high fat diet during pregancy, especially after spending a couple months eating more carbs, per recommendation from my midwife, which caused baby to grow a bit too fast (he was 9.5 lbs!). He is the healthiest baby we have ever heard of (had a perfect 10 Apgar) and is growing like a champ–didn't have a single shot or doc visit, either, and is now 3 1/2 months and 16.5 lbs, 24" long! He already grabs toys (and hair and glasses!) and follows voices–he'll even listen to the whole sermon during church! Next pregnancy, I will do high fat/low carb all the way through to ensure that baby is a good size for me to deliver without issue. I'm 5'3" and 133 lbs pre-pregnancy, so I'm not really built to have 10+ lb babies! 🙂
I don't comment to be critical, but I do like the facts to be where we draw our conclusions from–that's what's wrong with "science" today, anyway. People make up their minds and THEN find the facts to match. I'm going to try to get in touch with the author of the mice article to see what exactly they fed the mice. I wouldn't be surprised if it is veggie fat, but we need to make sure.
Oddity Acres Clan
Sadly "Common Sense" isnt all that common in the first place.
Thank you so so very much for writing a blog post about something this important.
Between the media and supposedly well educated Medical Professionals, it is no wonder some pregnant women end up confused and making bad decisions at such an important time.
The problems is, most women, and their doctors, who read this report, will not do any further research. So, we do what we can to spread the word. And pray to God that common sense will prevail.
Reports like this also fail to take into consideration the work of OBs like Dr. Brewer who discovered that diets rich in whole milk, eggs, and lots of protein rich meat decreased things like low birth weight, pre-eclampsia, delivery complications and failure to thrive in newborns. While not as focused on quality as the WAPF recommendations, the two diets are almost identical. It is important to note that he all but eliminated those issues from his practice. Still, low quality studies like this lead doctors to focus on how to keep weight gain within guidelines rather than quality of nutrition during pregnancy. Even websites like BabyFit, who claim to be all about healthy pregnancies and babies, use these half done studies to justify including packaged junk food in their menu plans as long as you keep in your fat grams range. Sad how many mothers are duped into thinking they are doing the right thing for their babies and are never given the whole truth.