Book: Know Your Fats

The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol

Provides the reader with a very broad but also in-depth discussion of the many aspects of dietary fats and oils in our foods and in our bodies. The reader will gain an understanding of the relationship between dietary fat intake and health and between dietary fat intake and disease. The reader will also be able to determine why some information in other books or articles may not be correct.

The book is written broad enough to appeal to the general public and with sufficient detail to serve as excellent reference to the nutritionist, dietitian and physician. The food/health journalist, who often serves as the intermediary between the researcher and the consumer, should find this book particularly useful. They all should find this book a useful and valuable source of factual information written by an internationally acknowledged expert in the subject. During the writing and editing of this book, individuals in all of the above categories were consulted for ideas, questions, and criticism.

An effort has been made to keep the terminology understandable and in accordance with that terminology used in the numerous reports written for consumers by government agencies. Occasionally, it has been necessary to use technical terms in order to avoid simplistic wording that would sacrifice accuracy. A General Glossary of those terms, common to fats and oils in foods and lipids in biological systems, is included at the end of this book for the reader.

Other popular books about fats

Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill: Udo Erasmus: Alive Books \’93: 0-920470-38-6. This book about an important technical topic is creatively written by a non-scientist; has numerous errors and embellishments in basic nutrition and fats and oils information.

The Complete Fats and Oils Book: How to Buy, Use, and Control Fats & Oils: Lewis Harrison: Avery Publishing Group 1996: Written by a non-scientist; gives an overview that combines some useful information and at times the author’s erroneous understanding of fats and oils.

About the Author

Dr. Mary G. Enig, a nutritionist/biochemist of international renown for her research on the nutritional aspects of fats and oils, is a consultant, clinician, and the Director of the Nutritional Sciences Division of Enig Associates, Inc., Silver Spring, Maryland. Dr. Enig, a consultant on nutrition to individuals, industry, and state and federal governments, is a licensed practitioner in Maryland and the District of Columbia. She has served as a Contributing Editor of the scientific journal Clinical Nutrition and a Consulting Editor of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

Dr. Enig has authored numerous journal publications, mainly on fats and oils research and nutrient/drug interactions, and is a well-known invited lecturer at scientific meetings and a popular interviewee on TV and radio shows about nutrition. She was an early and articulate critic of the use of trans fatty acids and advocated their inclusion in nutritional labeling; the scientific mainstream is now challenging the food product industry’s use of trans-containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. She received her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is a Fellow of The American College of Nutrition, a member of The American Society for Nutritional Sciences, and President of the Maryland Nutritionists Association.


Sally W Fallon “President, The Weston A. Price Foundation” (Washington, DC USA)

For years Americans have been fed a diet of misinformation on the important subject of dietary fats and oils. This misinformation encourages the consumption of imitation foods based on highly processed vegetable oils and mitigates against the consumption of healthy traditional fats like butter, tallow and coconut oil. Although this misinformation often originates with the very food companies that profit from such misguidance, it also permeates the vast majority of scholarly and popular books on the subject, books that may seem objective and factual but which in fact bolster the trend towards processed foods.

Mary Enig’s book is the exception. Both scholarly and readable, Know Your Fats sorts out fact from fiction in this controversial field. Enig is a highly qualified specialist in the subject of lipids, trained at the University of Maryland under pioneering researchers. She is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition and President of the Maryland Nutritionists’ Association. Most importantly, Enig was the first to speak out about the dangers of trans fatty acids in the food supply. She held her ground in spite of industry blackballing and the professional cold-shoulder that ensued. Today she enjoys the satisfaction of having been right.

Readers of Know Your Fats should be prepared for some surprises. They’ll learn about the health benefits of saturated fats, the importance of cholesterol, dangers of polyunsaturates, flaws in the lipid theory of heart disease, what’s left out of nutrition labeling, errors in the official data bases (used in many research projects) and the dangerous substitute ingredients that have quietly permeated the American food supply. Anyone interested in the subject of diet and health needs to obtain this book, read it thoroughly and refer to it often.

Jon Norris (Oregon, USA)

This is quite simply the best book available on lipid chemistry in nutrition that is accessible to non-scientists. It lists and describes the actions of fats in our diet, and the role fats play in our body chemistry and health. Dr. Enig takes us all the way from chemical formulas and molecular diagrams to descriptions of various kinds of oils and fats used in cooking, as well as the sources and makeup of different types of oils and fats.

Dr. Enig pulls no punches in discussing misunderstood or misused research, and this honesty is welcome and refreshing, not to mention possibly life saving. It is so tiresome trying to wade through the hype and PR noise around nutrition. Like medical research, the food business is about Big Money, and truth seems to be a stranger to that part of our society. More and more, one must become an informed advocate for one’s own health and welfare. This book is an important tool for the enlightened consumer.

The book is well written in a very clear style with no extraneous scientific jargon. It is well referenced and cited, which I like in a book that discusses scientific research. These days people have much more access to original research papers than ever before. If you get only one book on fats in your diet, this should be it. The research and information is solid, free of fads and commercial influence.

Author: Mary Enig