January 19, 2010

Saturated Fat

I've realized that I've been using facebook to replace my blog, and that's the reason I haven't been writing as much. The problem with facebook is you don't really get enough space to say anything, only to be misunderstood.

So, I've been meaning to write an article about what I have discovered doing food and diet research over the last year or so, both online and on myself. But until I get around to that I found some recent studies pretty interesting:

Fats and Fatty Acids in Human Nutrition
Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease

Basically, these far-reaching studies completely exonerate saturated fat and fat in general (excluding manufactured trans fat) from either cancer or heart disease. There is no reason for anyone to eat low-fat products or stay away from fat. I suppose you could make an argument that it could help you reduce your caloric intake, but I could probably make a better argument that the opposite would be achieved.

What's not surprising though, is that these huge studies are not getting the headlines they deserve. The news has been telling us about "artery clogging saturated fat" for almost three decades, with not much evidence to support these scary headlines. I'm not surprised they aren't going to stop so suddenly. I've seen Men's Health do quite a bit of publishing about how Saturated Fat is harmless, but not any major news outlets. Even worse, as I write this it seems the United Kingdom is waging its own war on Saturated fat:

Not all fats are equal - saturated fat is the real baddie
Reduce your intake of saturated fats or suffer a heart condition
Ban butter to save lives, says heart surgeon

I love the ridiculous language in these articles. Especially numbers just thrown around "we eat 20% more saturated fat than is good for us." Huh? How can you possibly know? The diet tips are horrible, and are only going to lead to people trading benign saturated fat calories for processed food calories and eating more. Just like this whole low-fat craze has done in the United States.

I say, eat the skin on the chicken. It's delicious. Eat the fat on the steak, it's the best part. The fatty food tastes better, it's more satisfying, and I believe it let's people automatically consume less calories without having to think about it.

We've been eating saturated fats for millions of years. In the last few decades so many new, processed foods have come along and sugar has been added to almost everything. Our food has changed dramatically. In what kind of insane universe did we still blame saturated fat (something that has been fairly constant) after seeing Obesity rates do this:

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