Butter, red meat not so bad for you after all?

Based on dietary recommendations that were introduced in the US (1977) and in the UK (1983) to (1) reduce overall fat consumption to 30% of total energy intake and (2) reduce saturated fat consumption to 10% of total energy intake, we all jumped on the bandwagon and nixed butter, meat, dairy and cheese, replacing them in our diet with an overabundance of carbohydrates, a practice Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise, says contributed to our current problems with obesity and related health problems.

To support this view, a new report published in the online journal BMJ Open Heart calls that long-standing advice into question. Researchers reviewed and analyzed the clinical trials that were originally used back in the 1970s and 80s as the basis for warnings about dietary fat, and they found that the evidence just didn’t add up.

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Why fat can make you skinny

The Big Fat Surprise Book Cover

Another must-read for your healthy living library:

Investigative journalist Nina Teicholz reveals the unthinkable: that everything we thought we knew about dietary fats is wrong in her book The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet

“For decades, we have been told that the best possible diet involves cutting back on fat, especially saturated fat, and that if we are not getting healthier or thinner it must be because we are not trying hard enough. But what if the low-fat diet is itself the problem? What if those exact foods we’ve been denying ourselves — the creamy cheeses, the sizzling steaks — are themselves the key to reversing the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease?”

More on Mercury in High-Fructose Corn Syrup

From the July/August 2009 issue of MotherJones:

“In 2004, Renee Dufault, an environmental health researcher at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), stumbled upon an obscure Environmental Protection Agency report on chemical plants’ mercury emissions. Some chemical companies, she learned, make lye by pumping salt through large vats of mercury. Since lye is a key ingredient in making HFCS (it’s used to separate corn starch from the kernel), Dufault wondered if mercury might be getting into the ubiquitous sweetener that makes up 1 out of every 10 calories Americans eat.

Dufault sent HFCS samples from three manufacturers that used lye to labs at the University of California-Davis and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The labs found mercury in most of the samples. In September 2005, Dufault presented her findings to the FDA’s center for food safety. She was surprised by what happened next. “I was instructed not to do any more investigation,” she recalls. FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Kwisnek says that the agency decided against further investigation because it wasn’t convinced “that there was any evidence of a risk.”

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