By Paul von Bergen

There is a lot of confusion out there at the moment about what exactly is causing the high rates of cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes that we are seeing particularly in the Western world.

Certainly the trend over the past fifty years of high consumption of polyunsaturated ‘vegetable’ fats and sugar in everything does not seem to be working well for our health.

You cannot really trust most corporate food and drink companies to care about your health. If it’s a choice between you getting heart disease in forty years or a profit for them now the profit will win every day.

In my previous life I worked at a large UK soft drinks manufacturer that produced Pepsi, Tango and other fizzy drinks. We had a $80m annual budget to promote these sugary fizzy drinks to young kids about 8-14 years old. Not once did anyone in the marketing department ever say – hang on guys – is this really a good thing we are doing to get these kids hooked on sugar?

It is not that the people that work for these companies are bad people, they are not. Instead they are caught up in a strong corporate culture that convinces itself that it’s up to the consumers to make healthy choices and they have no responsibility in delivering or encouraging these healthy choices. Sugar particularly is highly addictive and when it is thrust in your face everywhere your will power can easily collapse.

David has already tackled the problems of sugar in his famous book Sweet Poison and now tackles the issues around which fats we consume.

There is a growing body to evidence to show that different types of fats oxidise differently within the body and that natural animal fats and fats that are not highly processed don’t oxidise in the way that polyunsaturated fats do. Fats oxidising in the body can cause cancer.

There is evidence to show that these so called ‘vegetable oils’ that we consume in such high quantities (which should really be called seed oils such as canola, sunflower, soy or rice oils) can be quite harmful to our cells and cause cancer and heart disease.

David approaches this subject as a lawyer, examining, dissecting and presenting the evidence. The task ahead in changing food culture is huge though with massively entrenched opinions and a huge lobbying power of the food industry which is keen to keep using its much cheaper ‘vegetable oils’. It is very hard for the key players such as government, medical experts and health charities to admit ‘we got it wrong’.

My philosophy on subjects such as this where there is many competing opinions is to trust in nature and millions of years of evolution. Our digestive systems have evolved eating unprocessed animal fats, not highly refined polyunsaturated fats. I trust millions of years of evolution over a big food company any day.

Paul von Bergen

At Billabong Retreat you can enjoy delicious organic meals made of locally sourced wholefoods – free from refinement, additives and polyunsaturated fats!