What I love about my job as a Cataloger is the opportunity to stumble across new information that makes me rethink the accepted truths about a topic.
The Big Fat Surprise: why butter, meat & cheese belong in a healthy diet, by investigative journalist Nina Teicholz, is the result of nine years spent reading thousands of scientific research papers and interviewing pretty much every living nutrition expert in the United States. In this 337 page book, with 60 pages of extensive notes and 46 pages of bibliographic evidence, Teicholz concludes:
“Eat butter: drink milk whole, and feed it to the whole family. Stock up on creamy cheeses, offal, and sausage and yes, bacon. None of these foods have been demonstrated to cause obesity, diabetes or heart disease… What I found, incredibly, was not only that it was a mistake to restrict fat but also that our fear of the saturated fats in animal foods – butter, eggs, and meat – has never been based in solid science.”
Her book doesn’t expose some dark plot to kill off Americans, but the exact opposite – it describes well-meaning individuals at our most trusted institutions working toward what they believed to be the public good, but getting it terribly wrong thru faulty science. She explains how these experts, using highly fallible nutrition science studies, produced sketchy data that was nevertheless used as proof of a theory that became accepted as truth.
At the time she began her investigation Teicholz was (in her own words) “a faithful follower of the low-fat, near-vegetarian diet” and she admits that “…these conclusions seem counterintuitive. They were counterintuitive to me when I started the research for this book. And the implications seem almost impossible to believe, even though they are supported by the best available science: that a beet salad with fruit smoothie for lunch is ultimately less healthy for your waistline and your heart than a plate of eggs fried in butter.”
“Our fear of saturated fats is therefore unsubstantiated. This fear may have seemed reasonable once but persists now only because it fits the preconceptions of researchers, clinicians and public health authorities; it conforms to their prejudices… Recent scientific research and the historical record all lead to the conclusion that the consumption of refined carbohydrates lead to high risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Sugar, white flour, and other refined carbohydrates are almost certainly the main drivers of these diseases.
Now in 2014, a growing number of experts has begun to acknowledge the reality that making a low-fat diet the centerpiece of nutritional advice for six decades has very likely been a bad idea. Even so, the official solution continues to be more of the same.”
Others who also support an animal fat-centric diet stress the importance of consuming grass-fed animals over grain-fed animals because of the better Omega 3 / Omega 6 fatty acid ratios. That aside, this book despite being dense with data, is very readable and a great place to start your own inquiry on this topic. — Erin
(Quotes taken from the Conclusion of the book)