Eating Fat Is Not Bad For You

This is one of those things that’s seemed vaguely obvious to me for a long time.  It never made any sense when so-called experts -- who generally turn out to be government stooges -- released grand statements claiming that natural foods like meat, eggs, milk, and butter were unhealthy.  The other day I came across a video that kind of pulled it all together.

The video is called Big Fat Fiasco (that link goes to part 1; you’ll see links to the subsequent parts after it’s over) and it was very interesting and informative.  The video’s creator, Tom Naughton, explains how the whole eating-fat-is-bad-for-you concept was created largely by a single scientist named Ancel Keys.  Keys had to throw out most of his data in order to reach the conclusion that he had previously decided was correct -- that eating fat is bad and causes heart disease.  But then, study after study failed to substantiate his theory, so naturally it was discarded the government got involved.

Quoting Big Fat Fiasco:

This [low-fat] diet, this [lipid] hypothesis, was failing over and over in clinical research ... What could have possibly kept such an unscientific, discredited, and possibly even harmful idea alive? ... A government committee.

Dr. Robert Olson: "I have pleaded in my report, and will plead again orally here, for more research on the problem before we make announcements to the American public."

Senator George McGovern: "I would only argue that senators don’t have the luxury that a research scientist has, of waiting until every last shred of evidence is in."

So the "heart-healthy benefits" of a low-fat diet became national policy because senators don’t have time to wait for all the evidence to come in.

The McGovern Committee’s report -- written by a vegetarian, of course -- recommended that Americans eat less fat, and started the government’s decades-long propaganda blitz telling us we should avoid fat and eat lots of carbohydrates, leading to the obesity epidemic that we’re in today.

Naughton goes on to point out the "French Paradox," which is that they eat twice as much saturated fat, four times as much butter, three times as much pork, and 60% more cheese than Americans, yet have only one-third as much heart disease.  There is also the "Swiss Paradox:" they have the second-highest intake of saturated fat, yet the second-lowest rate of heart disease.

You should check out these short videos on Naughton’s site; they’re pretty funny and they shoot down some of the anti-fat hysteria that the government has been pushing for decades.  They also point out how the "Super Size Me" video -- I can’t bring myself to call it a documentary -- was essentially BS, and the creator, Morgan Spurlock, appears to have lied about his caloric intake during the time, and has refused all requests to release his food log.  I’m no fan of McDonald’s, but nor am I a fan of anti-meat/anti-capitalism propaganda.

Gary Taubes also has a good article and a couple books on the subject, and somewhere on one of these guys’ sites, I read a comment that really made sense to me.  It said that eating a low-fat diet actually causes your body to create and store more fat, because your body interprets a lack of dietary fat to mean that it’s in a food-scarce environment, and thus it adjusts your metabolism accordingly, storing more energy in order to survive the period of famine.

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies


01. Feb 16, 2011 at 01:47pm by Maria:

I just read about this in Reader’s Digest. I never thought about it, but it makes so much sense. I’ve since embraced whole milk.

02. Feb 17, 2011 at 08:27am by Anthony:

Mmmm, yes!

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