Fat! Friend or Foe? Part 1
By Ally Foreman
If you’re confused about all the apparently conflicting advice about fat in your diet, read this fab series of articles by our very own Ally Forman that will help get it all into perspective.
Part one – A change of heart
Growing up, most of us were told to cut out animal fats such as bacon rind, avoid full fat milk, butter and cheese, limit red meat and opt for low fat alternatives. Saturated fat was a dirty word and apparently responsible for heart disease, increasing obesity and cholesterol problems.
Cue all of us restricting fat, eating low fat and diet alternatives by the bucket load and even limiting plant fats such as avocados and coconut because they are high fat so make you fat surely?!
So, why have the rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other chronic diseases, increased in epidemic proportions since 1980 when the low fat phenomenon and USDA Food Pyramid, now the Healthy Eating Plate was first introduced?
Fast forward to the last couple of years and emerging evidence suggests that we may have been misled on a grand, global scale for the benefit of agricultural profit and political gain. How? I hear you cry
Well let’s go back in history to 2 key dates, which we will call Nutrition Armageddon.
Key date 1 – 1953 …
… when Ancel Keys published a study called the “Seven Countries Study”. This was the first major report linking saturated animal fat consumption to heart disease and served as the primary scientific data for Cholesterol Theory.
Keys proclaimed that his study showed a correlation between intake of saturated animal fat and increased cholesterol, which in the 7 countries in question, it did.
Although as any true scientist will tell you, correlation does not necessarily equal causation! However, Keys had cherry picked his 7 countries from an actual 22, which had made data available.
He picked the 7, which aligned to the outcome he was aiming to present. Other research citing sugar as the culprit of heart disease et al was available, however Keys was a politically powerful figure and publically discredited anyone who contradicted him.
So strong was his influence that instead of researching multiple hypotheses, public health history simply bowed to the bully who shouted the loudest! When you looked at the data from all 22 countries, there was no correlation between saturated animal fat and increased cholesterol levels.