After finishing the book The Big Fat Surprise as well as a variety of articles, accounts from friends, etc., it's become increasingly clear that our entire idea about nutrition is fatally flawed. Animal fat, eggs and dairy aren't only good for us, but essential for us as study after study have shown.
It amazes me (though probably shouldn't), how we ultimately got here too. A classic story of a few nutrition researchers pushing their idea forward, ignoring all evidence to the contrary, and ultimately railroading all opposing voices.
Before the idea that fat was bad for you, there were a variety of competing theories, including the idea that the main culprit behind health problems might be sugars. But the influence of just a few people managed to get major health associations, and ultimately the US government, on board with the idea that saturated fat was the ultimate evil despite a terrible lack of evidence.
I grew up in the midst of the anti-fat movement. As long as something was fat free, it was okay. It didn't matter about the other things in it, such as sugar. I'm sure most of us can relate. It has been the consensus for so long that it's practically nutrition gospel. It was what were told by all experts and everyone in the media.
And yet look at where we are now. Obesity has skyrocketed along with diseases like diabetes and cancer. All this despite all of us actually following USDA food guidelines. And you can replace the word "despite" with the word "because" in that sentence.
Contrary to their assertions, we really have given up a lot of the saturated fats and replaced them with carbs and sugars. And therein lies one of the biggest problems. When we all cut out saturated fats, they had to be replaced with other things. And that brought us foods like trans fats and vegetable oils. All of which are far worse for us than the butters and creams and lards people used before.
Ultimately, it feels like a terribly sad story that has likely cost millions of lives. We replaced food that has been used for thousands of years of human history for foods that had never been used, and this is where we are now.
And the problem was ultimately compounded by the government prescribing a certain diet to everyone. A diet that has been the source of our nutrition problems, rather than the cure. These guidelines have started to be walked back slightly, but the ideas are so ingrained that it will probably take a long time to change.
It should also give us pause as we look at other scientific ideas that have gained consensus with a lack of evidence and keep us from silencing opposing voices prematurely (I'm looking at you, climate change).
So for now, I'll take my eggs with extra cheese and as many servings as bacon as I can get.
My personal musings on a variety of topics.