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“Butter Unlikely to Harm Health, but Margarine Could Be Deadly”

Butter

How’s this for a nice headline?

The Telegraph: “Butter Unlikely to Harm Health, but Margarine Could Be Deadly”

This is just one example from hundreds of headlines around the world in the last two days. They’re all based on a new review in The British Medical Journal, looking at all available observational data on the intake of saturated fat and trans fat and risk of disease.

The review finds no association between saturated fat and any bad health effects. On the other hand, industrial trans fat – as used to be find in large quantities in margarine – is associated with heart disease. No such association can be found to naturally occurring trans fat from real food.

This review basically finds the same thing as dozens of recent articles: There’s no evidence that eating butter is anything but perfectly fine for our health. Decades of scaremongering has more or less been based on pure speculation.

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“Fat is Back”

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Fat is back. Quite a nice CNN headline:

CNN: Fat is back: New guidelines give vilified nutrient a reprieve

Forbes: Fat Makes A Comeback: Experts Say It’s Time To Stop Limiting Dietary Fats

This comes after an article by a couple of top researchers in a the highly respected scientific journal JAMA. They urge the relevant authorities to remove any restriction on how much dietary fat to eat. Any such restriction is said to be not only useless for improving health, but actually harmful to the public health.

“I think it is crucial for all government agencies to formally state that there is no upper limit on fat,” says one of these top researchers to CNN. Very true. He also says that saturated fat is neutral for heart health. It’s simply not something to worry about.

Here’s the final paragraph of the JAMA article:

The limit on total fat presents an obstacle to sensible change, promoting harmful low-fat foods, undermining attempts to limit intakes of refined starch and added sugar, and discouraging the restaurant and food industry from providing products higher in healthful fats. It is time for the US Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services to develop the proper signage, public health messages, and other educational efforts to help people understand that limiting total fat does not produce any meaningful health benefits and that increasing healthful fats, including more than 35% of calories, has documented health benefits. Based on the strengths of accumulated new scientific evidence and consistent with the new DGAC report, a restructuring of national nutritional policy is warranted to move away from total fat reduction and toward healthy food choices, including those higher in healthful fats.

Fat is back. Almost all sensible people are starting to understand this. Quite a few also understand that this includes natural old-fashioned saturated fat. Butter is also back.

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The Big Fat Surprise

Does butter, meat and cheese belong in a healthy diet? And if so, how come we’ve been told the opposite for decades?

Here’s my recent interview with NYT bestselling author Nina Teicholz. Her book “The Big Fat Surprise” was called one of the best books of last year by publications like The Economist and The Wall Street Journal.

It’s a fascinating story. You can watch the first six minutes of our interview above.

Full Interview and More

If you want to watch the full longer interview – and a follow-up interview on the unintended and unfortunate dangers of new vegetable oils – they’re available on the membership site (free trial one month).

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Headlines All Over the World: The Fear of Fat Was a Mistake from the Beginning

Butter, healthy again

Butter, healthy again

The advice from the 1980’s about avoiding butter lacked evidence. The entire Western world received dietary guidelines that had never been shown to do any good.

This may be old news for the regular reader here, but now the knowledge is spreading faster and faster around the world.

A new scientific review shows that the advice completely lacked evidence of any benefit when it was first introduced. This hit the big headlines around the world yesterday:

The old fear of fat is dying out. Those who are still afraid of natural fat today haven’t yet managed to update their knowledge. Unfortunately, this includes quite a few older experts who govern our official dietary guidelines.

Getting over the fear of fat is absolutely necessary to return to honest, real food, which is needed to get away from calorie obsession and starvation dieting. It’s necessary to turn round the epidemics of obesity and diabetes and other related disorders. It is necessary and it can’t wait.

Fortunately, repeated headlines like these show that the Food Revolution continues, all around the world. Continue Reading →

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The Beginning and End of the Fear of Fat

 
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This is the book that contributes to finally dismissing the old fear of fat. When the book The Big Fat Surprise came out in June last year, major American newspapers praised it. It has become a New York Times  best seller and The Wall Street Journal appointed it one of the best books of the year.

This book redefines food for many influential people and the fear of fat is losing its grip on the world.

Finally, I too have read the book. It’s a big book that initially is very similar to the fantastic Good Calories, Bad Calories (2007). But once you’ve read the first chapters you realize that this book is so much more. It’s an updated version with a somewhat different focus – and for most readers probably far more entertaining, clarifying and upsetting.

This is the definitive story on how fear of fat was based on how ambitious researchers and well-meaning politicians took short cuts and ignored the lack of real evidence. And as gigantic economic interests entered the picture things went very wrong.

The Problem with Fear of Fat

We know the result: instead of harmless fat – that we’ve been unnecessarily afraid of – people began to eat more sugar, wheat flour and other refined carbohydrates, which increase the fat-storing hormone insulin. Voilá: an epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

The book also goes in detail through the tragicomic and terrifying hunt for a replacement for natural saturated fat. Continue Reading →

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The Fear of Fat Goes Into Free Fall

BMJ

The food revolution continues and the credibility of the old theory that butter is harmful is in free fall. Here’s a real slaughter of the fear of fat in one of the leading scientific medical journals, The British Medical Journal. It’s written by an expert on evidence-based medicine, one of the leaders of the Cochrane Collaboration.

The conclusion? The advice to eat less fat was a gigantic mistake from the beginning, new science show that it isn’t beneficial. Instead it may have led to an increased intake of bad carbohydrates, which is likely fueling today’s epidemics of obesity and diabetes.

The BMJ: Are some diets ”mass murder”?

It’s time for all authorities still recommending low-fat replacement products to wake up.

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Big Fat Surprise Among the Best Books of the Year

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Wall Street Journal has named the best books of the year. Among them is The Big Fat Surprise, a book that totally rejects the last decades’ unnecessary fear of saturated fat. In the book the shaky background is discussed – and how today the theory completely falls apart in the light of modern science.

The book is well-written and captivating, but long. It has also been criticized for resembling Gary Taube’s classic Good Calories, Bad Calories which partly goes through the same story (but only up until 2007).

Most of those critics can’t stand Taubes, so they can’t stand Teicholz either. I’m a huge fan of Taubes so I should enjoy Teicholz, but a lack of time combined with a slight feeling of déjà vu has, embarrassingly enough, prevented me from reading more than part of the book yet. Finishing it is on my to-do-list. You can still beat me to it:

The Big Fat Surprise

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