Sunday, May 29, 2016

Mainstream Media Still Missing the Boat on Saturated Fat

Despite oodles of evidence that both the low-fat diet craze and sat-fat phobia are associated with the biggest global pandemic of obesity in history, most of the mainstream media still haven't gotten the memo.

Though a few maverick magazine and newspaper writers are hip to the health benefits of following a high-fat low-carb diet that includes saturated fat from meat, butter and cheese, others continue to lumber down the dietary slow lane like a convoy of dusty military Jeeps.

While recently doing researching for a post on my Diet Skeptic blog (Zoodles as a Fat Delivery Vehicle), I was encouraged by writer Louise Hart's praise of subbing zucchini noodles for grain pasta until I came to this line:
"And as healthy as a cup of zucchini noodles are by themselves, tossing them with a sauce that trades high-fat cheese for omega-rich avocado will only increase the benefits."
Hart's presumption that all of her readers agree with the registered dietitian propaganda that high-fat cheese is a dietary devil ignores all of the research from the past decade revealing the saturated fat in meat and full-fat dairy is not only not harmful, it's healthy.

Meanwhile, Jane Brody of the venerated New York Times still clings to her suspension of disbelief concerning the link between high-carb low-fat diets and heart disease. As recently as January of this year, she wrote:
"With saturated fat widely considered the primary culprit in raising blood serum levels of cholesterol, most experts are far less worried about cholesterol intake from low-fat foods like eggs, shrimp and other shellfish."
And yet... Brody's personal experience has shown her carefully couched claim ("widely considered" by whom?) is science fiction.

Tom Naughton of Fat Head movie fame wrote on his blog: "Dr. Mary Dan Eades mentions Ms. Brody as an example of someone who simply can’t bear to admit she’s been wrong all these years, in spite of the evidence."

Naughton goes on to lampoon Brody's stubborn persistence to tout low-fat diets despite her own n=1 data:
"Ms. Brody’s cholesterol panic began when a routine test revealed her total cholesterol to be 222.  (So much for a low-fat diet keeping cholesterol down.)  Since she just knows that a “heart healthy” level should be below 200, Ms. Brody dutifully stopped eating cheese and went on a diet to lose a few pounds.
But – horrors! – when she underwent another test a few months later, her cholesterol had risen to 236, and her LDL had gone up, not down.  Now, you’d think someone with a functioning brain would pause at this point and wonder if perhaps the whole low-fat diet theory is load of bologna.  But not Ms. Brody.  After all, she’s been telling her readers for decades to cut the fat, cut the fat, cut the fat.

So she cut the fat.  She stopped eating red meat, switched to low-fat ice cream, took fish oil, and increased her fiber intake.  In other words, she did just about everything she’s been telling her readers they must do to prevent heart disease.

And boy, what wondrous results!  Her next test revealed that her cholesterol had risen to 248, and her LDL was up yet again."
Even an initially promising article in Elle called 'If the Low-Fat Diet is a Lie, What the Hell Should We Eat?" has writer Jane Black throwing a monkey wrench into the latest evidence. At first Black seems to be crossing over to the dietary fat acceptance movement, going so far as to quote "Big Fat Surprise" author Nina Teicholz:
"The book, as you can probably guess, makes a powerful case for the now fashionable low-carb, high-fat diet that minimizes carbohydrates in favor of what we think of as "good fats" such as those in avocados and the saturated fats in milk, meat, and cheese. (Trans fats, created artificially via an industrial process that turns liquid oils into solids, are still an agreed-upon no-no.) Teicholz, who spent nine years researching her book, has clearly done her homework."
But then she takes it all back:
"Part of me wants to believe she's right. But I can't quite bring myself to buy in. On the bulletin board above my desk is a quote from the twentieth-century critic H. L. Mencken that reads: 'There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.' If the scientists were so wrong about low-fat diets, why should we believe them this time?
Um, maybe because the scientists never had any solid evidence to support low-fat diets in the first place?

Despite so many old school "journalists" sticking their collective heads in the sand, we may finally be inching closer to Malcom Gladwell's tipping point. More and more newspapers are reporting on research that puts low-fat diets in a bad light and reveals there was never a good case against saturated fat to begin with.

Even stodgy Prevention magazine published a "21-Day Plan to Jump-Start Your Weight Loss" this year that kinda sorta did a flip-flop on dietary fat:

Excerpted from Prevention February 26, 2016

Low-carb book recommendations:

Low Carb, High Fat Food Revolution: Advice and Recipes to Improve Your Health and Reduce Your Weight

The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet
What the Fat?: Fat's IN: Sugar's OUT Practical guide and recipes

The Real Meal Revolution: The Radical, Sustainable Approach to Healthy Eating (Age of Legends)

Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers

The Obesity Epidemic: What caused it? How can we stop it?

Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It

The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss

Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet

Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars

Eat Fat, Get Thin: Why the Fat We Eat Is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health

New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great

The Harcombe Diet: Stop Counting Calories & Start Losing Weight

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