Is It Time To Bring Back Fat?
The Lure of ‘Low-Fat’ ‘Low-Fat’ became a cultural meme that was upheld and buttressed by the thousands of low-fat (yet added sugar) products available on supermarket shelves. Due to a variety of well-meaning and yet wrong policies and initiatives, these products became widespread. Meanwhile, the media scared people with the simplistic view that fats clog arteries, thus comparing the complex human body with that of a storm drain.
Even late last year it seemed to pass by without much notice when the 2015 USDA nutrition guidelines were updated to read, “Reducing total fat does not lower cardiovascular disease risk.” The Report added that people should be “optimizing types of dietary fat and not reducing total fat.” Similarly, the Journal of the American Medical Association, commented on the new recommendations saying it: “Tacitly acknowledges the lack of convincing evidence to recommend low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets for the general public in the prevention or treatment of any major health outcome, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, or obesity.”
U-Turn On Eggs?
After decades of linking eggs with cholesterol because “conclusive studies” showed eating them to be harmful, the U.S. government changed its tune. It rather quietly said in 2015 that there is no evidence that eating any amount of cholesterol is unhealthy. So, once and for all, let’s be clear that eating cholesterol does not give you cholesterol, just as eating fat doesn’t make you fat. Although it’s also fair to say that when prescribed by a doctor for a specific therapy, low fat diets function very well.
Is Fat Now Our Friend?
Whilst fat is back, is fat now our friend? All the evidence points to this for the majority of the population. However, because ‘diets’ themselves are still popular, don’t expect things to change too radically in the short term. Books, magazine articles, Internet buzz and social media about the latest fad diet won’t die, simply because there is so much money to be made from it. And let’s remember the time it takes time to educate on a mass scale.
A Carb-Free Future?
One lingering problem regarding fat involves sugar. We can, in fact, put more stored fat on our body from eating even relatively small amounts of refined carbohydrates. This also prevents body fat from being burned for energy, helping to maintain too much stored fat. Eating fat on the other hand, reduces appetite and is a good source of energy. However, lets keep our balance and not demonise carbohydrates.
Roots like beetroot, sweet potatoes, and carrots and fruits such as papaya, cherries and pears, illustrate the wonderfully nutritious world of vegetables and fruits. What the food industry needs to help consumers access is a diet that has a sound and balanced style of eating that includes nourishing and metabolism-boosting dietary fats, unrefined natural carbohydrates, and healthy protein choices. Let a new era of balanced healthy eating begin.