Sunday, March 30, 2008

The F-Word

"All you ever wanted to know about fats
by John M Berardi"

Despite years of anti-fat sentiment, it's becoming clear that the right kinds of fats can make you healthier, smarter, more muscular, and leaner.

Back in the 80's, the US Surgeon General's office, the American Heart Association, and the US Department of Agriculture joined forces and took up arms against what they considered to be the great nutritional scourge — dietary fat. That's right, they attempted to eradicate dietary fat from our nutritional lexicon with extreme prejudice.

If you're too young to remember this phenomenon, it might seem downright foolhardy to attack an entire macronutrient category. In fact, waging war against one-third of the macronutrient triumvirate may even seem unthinkable. But to those nutrition conscious individuals living through the war on fat, it's hard to forget the sensationalistic demonization of dietary fat and the faddish low fat diets that followed.

So how did this all come about? Well, back in the 80s, doctors and researchers, alarmed by the rising incidence of heart disease and obesity, needed a strategic target. As lipid researcher Lonnie Lowery has put it, they needed a perfect enemy. So after finding out that the plaques building up in our arteries (arteriosclerotic plaques) were made up of fats and then discovering that certain countries with diets high in animal fat also had a higher incidence of heart disease, 20 subsequent years of scientific investigation were spent attempting to prove that dietary fat (specifically saturated fat and cholesterol) was leading the heart disease brigade. read more