How much fat in a red herring? Fat mythbustin'

2 Sep

I’ve been thinking.

I saw a brilliant t-shirt on my twitter travels saying “Butter was framed” and I laughed. Mmmm – butter.

Butter - the only thing that makes me miss bread!

And then I was having a chat with sweatlikeapig about sugar content in ‘healthy’ snack bars and how often fat is the deciding factor in eating these bars, not the massive sugar and carb loads. And I got to thinking that fat is often a red herring when considering what foods are good and ‘not good’ for you.

More and more lately I have been reading about how saturated fat is NOT bad for you, and only superficially linked to heart disease.

Take this article, for example: Fed up with the BIG FAT myths :

“Nature has evolved to produce numerous sources of fats across a range of foods that have been eaten for generations in many countries around the world. Huge variation in saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat intake exists across these cultures, but all exhibited excellent health when they ate the foods that existed within their natural habitats. Total fat intakes varied from 30-80% of calories, yet there was no increase in heart disease when the foods were eaten at their best and found locally to the people. The same is true of mono and polyunsaturates. Fats are a necessary part of health and will deliver that health when eaten as Mother Nature intended as part of nutritious, naturally occuring, locally sourced food…we need to overcome our fear of fats knowing that they have represented a significant part of man’s diet for as long as man has been around.”

Or this slightly less diplomatic article: Butter has indeed been framed! :

“Surprise, surprise! Today a Reuters article appears citing a “new” study that shows no link between saturated fat and heart disease! Of course there is no clear link between saturated fat and heart disease. There never was any link in the first place .. the research has either been mistakenly or intentionally misinterpreted since the 1950′s (my bet is on intentional misrepresentation given the amount of money the edible oil industry has made in the past few decades by demonizing butter, eggs, and other saturated fat sources).”

For a more in-depth look at the demonization of butter, try The Untold story of Butter:

“About the same time the war against eggs heated up, a young scientist named Mary Enig discovered during her research that a serious mistake had occurred with regard to the studies linking saturated fat to heart disease. She discovered that the analysis had incorrectly grouped saturated fat along with trans fat (partially hydrogenated fats). How had this happened? The mistake evidently occurred because factory synthesized trans fats are very similar in chemical structure to saturated fats. So similar in fact, that researchers had grouped them together for analytical purposes.”

As long as there are no latent minor discrepancies in chemical structure, we're home and hosed!

It’s certainly not a perspective we get from governmental nutrition sources like the food pyramid and “plate’ and so on.

I’m by no means advocating you go out and stuff yourself full of lard-fried butterballs simply because it turns out saturated fat is not so bad after all – your daily caloric intake still ultimately determines whether you put on bodyfat (energy in-energy out) – i’m just saying, don’t be afraid to include these fats in your diet, because the foods they are in (ie – protein-rich foods) are often more nutritious and satisfying than all the ‘low-fat’ alternatives like pasta, bread and rice, which leave you hankering for more and screw up your blood sugar, and therefore fatty foods make it easier not to overeat.

Yum - check out all that protein-y, fatty, nutritious goodness!

One Response to “How much fat in a red herring? Fat mythbustin'”

  1. Tara September 2, 2011 at 2:57 am #

    I completely agree. I want to show this article to every person who criticises me for eating peanut butter and coconut oil!

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