A recent commentary from the NY Times (A Healthy Diet’s Main Ingredients? Best Guesses) explores some of the failed efforts to improve health by reducing fat or eliminating eggs and explains why these are no longer recommended. The article has a 12 minute video which reviews some of the confusion regarding dietary recommendations.
Here’s an excerpt:
Conventional wisdom held that fat was bad, period, with relatively few Americans distinguishing between saturated fats (meat, eggs, dairy products) and healthier unsaturated fats (fish, vegetable oils, nuts). Typically, people turned to breads, cereals and potatoes — and to sugary soft drinks — for the calories they no longer got from protein-rich foods…The result? Carbo-loading Americans grew fatter. “We put the whole country on a low-fat diet,” Mr. Taubes said, “and, lo and behold, we have an obesity epidemic.”…
New guidelines are expected to be issued this month by the Departments of Agriculture and of Health and Human Services, which tend to follow the recommendations of an advisory committee. One likely eye-catcher is a new assessment of cholesterol, long an archvillain. It seems destined for rehabilitation to some degree. Months ago, the advisory committee concluded that the dietary intake of cholesterol (the body produces this waxy, artery-obstructing matter on its own) had no real effect on blood levels of LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol. “Cholesterol,” the committee said, “is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”
There is a conspicuous American tendency to cling to a favored diet as the gateway to good health, keeping weight down, staving off cancers and banishing heart attacks. A consequence is an abundance of regimens — vegan, gluten-free, Paleolithic, fruitarian and many more — each promoted by its adherents as the one true path.
But nutrition experts, including those in this Retro Report, caution that life is complex, and that we are more than what we eat.
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