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The Demonization of Dietary Fat

According to an article published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine (Sept 12), the sugar industry back in the 1950's formulated a game plan to capitalize on an idea gaining traction "among leading nutritionists" that dietary fat and cholesterol caused heart disease.  Sugar industry executives realized that if they persuaded Americans to adopt a low-fat diet, they would invariably eat more carbohydrates.  (If you take out the fat in the diet you are left with carbs and protein, but since most protein contains lots of fat, carbs win!)

In fact, for decades the sugar industry paid off researchers to downplay the health effects of sweets and pin the blame for increased heart disease risk on saturated fat and cholesterol. (Yes!  Harvard researchers were paid the equivalent of $50,000 to criticize studies linking sugar and heart disease and to emphasize the (unproven) harmful effects of dietary fat. This conflict of interest was never disclosed publicly.)

The result?  For the next 50 years, millions of Americans opted for the low-fat, sugary foods now associated with diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. (think cereals replacing eggs for breakfast and cookies replacing cheese for a snack)

This conflict of interest (food industry vs. science) was able to derail the discussion about the harmful effects of a high-sugar, high carb diet for decades.  Even though this information has been known in scientific circles for a very long time (many scientists doubted the association between fats and heart disease from the very beginning), the carb industry with its enormous profits are still heralding the benefits of low-fat and non-fat foods.  We actually need the fat in whole milk and yogurt in order to absorb the fat-soluble nutrients and we need the fat from an egg (the much maligned yolk) to reap the nutritional benefits of the egg!  
(condensed from an article in the LA Times by Nina Teicholz, science journalist and author of "The Big Fat Surprise" and THE WEEK magazine science page, Sept. 30th, 2016)

So, enjoy the nutritional value of a high vegetable diet along with the fats from foods that come to us from nature that contain fats (eggs, avocados, nuts, and yes, meats, if you can find them grass-fed and/or organic.  Also, skip the persuasive words on the front of a package or box and, instead, examine the back of the product where the actual "facts" are revealed.