It’s time to face the fats.
Nope, that’s not a typo. If you haven’t heard, FAT is back! And it’s high time you learn the facts and embrace the beauty of what healthy, delicious fat can do for you.
But first – a quick pop quiz.
If you’re looking to be healthier or just drop a few pounds, which of the options below would you choose?
A latte made with skim or whole milk?
A low-calorie breakfast bar or scrambled eggs?
A salad dressed in a light vinaigrette or buttermilk ranch?
These might seem like trick questions, and maybe you’re not sure how to answer because you’re like most Americans who are overwhelmed and confused by all the conflicting health advice out there. The good news is, it’s not your fault. The bad news is, flawed and misleading nutrition recommendations have been doled out for decades – and were never based on solid science.
Recently, research has come out strongly in support of dietary fat and cholesterol as a favorable addition to a person’s diet. Neuroendocrinologist Robert Lustig and his colleagues at University of California released a revolutionary report in November 2016 revealing that
in the 1960s, sugar industry lobbyists funded research wrongly linking heart disease to fat & cholesterol, while downplaying evidence that sugar was the real killer.
The USDA first released a set of national dietary guidelines back in 1980 that vilified fat; and much of the early anti-fat movement came from the American Heart Association (AHA), which based its stance on the fact that fat is roughly twice as calorie-dense as protein and carbohydrates – not exactly hard evidence – and we now know a calorie is NOT just a calorie.
The subsequent advice from the government allowed the food industry to promote low-fat, carb-heavy foods as “light” or “healthy” – and the resulting shift in dietary trends has been a major contributor to the downfall of public health.
Since the US government first published a set of national nutrition guidelines in 1980, rates of obesity and related diseases like diabetes have more than doubled.
By the 1990s, epidemiological data began to accumulate, proving that low-fat, high-carb diets did not help with weight loss or heart disease, but the undeniable damage was done.
The public was deeply devoted to low-fat and low-calorie processed snack foods, sometimes referred to by nutrition experts as the “snackwell effect” – a phenomenon that states dieters will often eat more low-calorie cookies, such as SnackWell’s, than they otherwise would normal cookies. And it’s worth noting that childhood diabetes was practically unheard of, and now it’s an all-out epidemic.
When you consider that there are only 3 categories of macronutrients – protein, fat, and carbohydrates – and that everything you eat or drink contains some combination of these, it only makes sense that if you followed the government’s advice to eat less fat, your carb consumption would inevitably increase… hence the dramatic increase in obesity rates during the 1980s & 90s.
The latest iteration of the US government’s dietary guidelines no longer makes a point of limiting recommendations for total fat and cholesterol intakes; but the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans still push low-fat dairy over full fat, regardless of the missing science. While whole milk and full-fat cheese aren’t necessarily health foods, your waistline would likely benefit by opting for these over any skim or low-fat varieties.
Regardless of macronutrient content, the general public would do better to focus on eating fewer refined and processed foods, and instead, eat more real, whole foods.
Cutting out or reducing the fat in your diet in favor of processed carbs can trigger unhealthy metabolic changes that fuel diseases.
All dogmas aside, one thing is clear: Healthy dietary fat was never the villain authorities made it out to be.
So, face the facts – and embrace the fats!
Just remember, not all fats are created equal. From lowering bad cholesterol & managing your weight, to giving you shiny hair & healthy skin, your body will thank you for feeding it the right types of fats – like avocado, grass fed butter and ghee, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and concentrated forms of omega 3s from wild-caught fish, nuts & seeds.