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A Reprieve For Saturated Fat? The New Healthy Diet

Saturated fats. For decades, they’ve been taboo. Now new research is raising questions with them. A big look, with Mark Bittman and more.

This photo taken Sunday May 17, 2009 shows a Blue Cheeseburger with Fried Pickled Onions. A new study suggests that saturated fats are not as harmful as they were once considered to be. (AP)

This photo taken Sunday May 17, 2009 shows a Blue Cheeseburger with Fried Pickled Onions. A new study suggests that saturated fats are not as harmful as they were once considered to be. (AP)

For years we were told “cut the fat, cut the fat.”  Especially the saturated fat.  “Fat free” was the label that sold.  Now comes a big new study with a more nuanced message.  A little butter won’t kill you.  Saturated fat is not the dietary third rail for heart disease.  Don’t roll in it.  Don’t go crazy.  Pay attention to your whole diet, with lots of plants in there.  Stay clear of trans-fats.  Watch out for sugar and processed food.  But the new meta-study found no evidence that eating saturated fat increased heart disease.  This hour On Point:  we’re taking on board the latest findings on fat.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Co-director of the program in Cardiovascular Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. Co-author of the new study in Annals of Internal Medicine that calls into question many concerns about saturated fats.

Dr. Stephanie Coulter, cardiologist and director of the Texas Heart Institute’s Center for Women’s Heart and Vascular Health.

Mark Bittman, food columnist for the New York Times. (@bittman)

Dr. David Katz, founding director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. (DrDavidKatz)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Butter is Back – “Butter is back, and when you’re looking for a few chunks of pork for a stew, you can resume searching for the best pieces — the ones with the most fat. Eventually, your friends will stop glaring at you as if you’re trying to kill them.”

The Economist: Fat chance –”Other common beliefs, however, were not supported. They found no evidence that eating saturated fats or having high levels of circulating saturated fatty acids (the digested products of such fats) had any effect on cardiac disease. Nor did they find that omega-3 fatty acids, the current poster-boys of healthy eating, protect against heart disease.”

NPR: Why We Got Fatter During The Fat-Free Food Boom – “By the early ’90s, foods with little or no fat were flying off the shelves. Pretzels were good (no fat); nuts were bad (loaded with fat). Baked potatoes were OK, but hold the sour cream. And salads? Sure, greens are great, but no oily salad dressing.”

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  • OnPointComments

    Hmmm. So saturated fats won’t be the death of us. And for years, decades really, they said saturated fats were bad. I guess you could say up until recently the consensus on saturated fats was considered “settled science,” and the majority agreed. I wonder if those who disagreed with the majority were called “health deniers.” Whatta ya know, the deniers were right.

    • LeiYi86

      OnPointComments,

      There’s a hole in your logic that rivals the one that still exists in our ozone layer, and it is this:

      The science was never settled.

      From the very beginning, there were major disagreements within the scientific community. But the government ignored them, promoting a flawed policy that food companies were happy to play up while marketing “low-fat” products.

      Had we listened to the scientists, we would not have been fed these mistruths (pun very much intended).

      So, the “they” you reference is actually *some* scientists, a country too eager to accept a simplistic solution, and a food industry much too eager to profit from it.

      Bottom line: when you wrote, “Whatta ya know, the deniers were right”, you were correct. But only if you remember that the deniers were scientists, past and present.

      • OnPointComments

        Your comment seems to stand the premise of this program on its ear.

        Perhaps you’ll provide us with links to the scientific studies that disputed the warnings about saturated fats. I don’t recall reading or hearing any dissenting opinions on saturated fats, but maybe the newspapers I read banned opposing opinions.

        • MITBeta

          “But the debate humiliation was small potatoes compared to what came next. In 1957, Jacob Yerushalmy and Herman Hilleboe—Berkeley statistician and New York State Commissioner of Health, respectively, who’d both attended the WHO meeting with Keys—wrote a scathing critique of Keys’ beloved graph. Their paper was titled “Fat in the diet and mortality from heart disease: A methodological note.” This, my friends, is the rebuttal that gets cited near and far as proof of Keys’ fraudulence, and is the source of that “original 22 countries” graph we saw a bit ago.”

          http://rawfoodsos.com/2011/12/22/the-truth-about-ancel-keys-weve-all-got-it-wrong/

          • Don_B1

            The story of how the United States Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, met in 1969 and 1970. It tried to set guidelines for a balanced diet, and based on highly incomplete science as hindsight has shown, recommended reducing saturated fats in the diet, as indicated here:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Senate_Select_Committee_on_Nutrition_and_Human_Needs

            and here:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

            where Dr. Robert Lustig tells the long story of how the recommendation to lower saturated fat got exaggerated and then, when the food companies tried to follow the recommendation, the food flavors, mostly derived from fat, were flat and then they made up for it by adding sugar and, in creamers, fake fat.

            There are other, shorter and updated versions of Dr. Lustig’s message, but starting with this one gives you probably more than you want to know.

        • MITBeta

          Also, perhaps you’ll provide us with links to scientific studies that PROVE the link between saturated fat and poor health. All the ones I’ve seen are simple correlations and/or studies on animals that have very different physiologies than humans.

    • John Cedar

      They never said saturated fat won’t kill you, it just wont’ kill you with heart disease. Most of those fats come from factory farming, which will kill you with climate change. And I hear there is a link between saturated fats and cancer too.

      But there is no time to worry about that because sugar is the biggest mass murderer since Hitler.

    • Jasoturner

      The flaw in your analogy is that nutritional “science” adheres only approximately to the scientific method, whereas climate science depends on solid fields such as physics and chemistry to develop predictions. And nutritional “science” was never settled. I suggest you read “Good Calories, Bad Calories” for a bit of background on the rather robust debate that has engaged the world of nutrition for generations.

      • HonestDebate1

        The climate predictions depend on models. The models were wrong. The nutrition science is based on data.

        • Don_B1

          The climate models, while not perfect as they have not included all the successive less important physical forcing functions, but as these are included the models will get better and they have been performing supremely well. See:

          http://www.skepticalscience.com/Climate-Models-Show-Remarkable-Agreement-with-Recent-Surface-Warming.html

          The climate models are not just something created to create fear; they are created from knowledge of atmospheric physics and then checked over recent decades to see that based on data from, say 1950 to 1970, they predict what did happen from 1970 to 1990. And it works to a good degree of accuracy.

          The models also help to show climate scientists which forcing functions are important and confirm that the driver of AGW is the added CO2 that humans are putting in the atmosphere as they burn fossil fuels to generate energy.

          The climate scientists can show the physical links between CO2 and warming of the atmosphere and oceans for which you can find no alternate justification in your (false/faked) denier literature.

          Everyone should start taking every statement of yours as proof of the opposite.

          • HonestDebate1

            The models were grossly exaggerated and wrong. The difference between the fourth and fifth assessment reports (not that the IPCC has any credibility) was stark.

          • Don_B1

            And which models are you talking about with links to the ways the models were wrong.

            Did you look at the models performance in the link I gave? Those performance results do not look “grossly exaggerated and wrong” to me or anyone that can see without a blindfold on. [An ideological blindfold!]

          • HonestDebate1

            If you haven’t been paying attention better than that then why are you debating? Look at the 5th assessment for an explanation of why the 4th was so wrong. Start there.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            For the past 16 years, there has been no significant increase in surface temperature. There is a growing discrepancy between observations and climate model projections. Observations since 2011 have fallen below the 90% envelope of climate model projections”

            http://judithcurry.com/2014/01/16/senate-epw-hearing-on-the-presidents-climate-action-plan/#more-14335

          • Don_B1

            The increase in atmospheric temperature has been increasing on average, though not at the higher rate than average that had obtained in the previous decade because of a few unusual conflations of El Niños and other atmospheric events. There is also some temperature decreasing effects from volcanic eruptions that have slowed atmospheric warming. Those restraints will end.

            But there has been a temperature increase in the oceans, particularly between 700 and 2000 meters (and note that since the specific heat of water is a lot higher than of air, a small temperature increase represents a lot of heat). See:

            http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-cooling-january-2007-to-january-2008.htm

            and note the response to the first comment.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Are you implying that climate science is settled?

        • Jasoturner

          I am suggesting that the methodology is far more rigorous and delivers far more predictive power.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Some folks agree with you but many others believe that the computer models are flawed and susceptible to the GIGO syndrome.

            GIGO == Garbage In Garbage Out

          • Don_B1

            And those that disagree about the computer models would not recognize accuracy if their lives depended on it. Their ideological lives do depend on their not recognizing the accuracy of those models.

            Climate scientists are well aware of the possibilities of the old “GI=>GO” and even more importantly, the misuse of equations or improper implementation of an equation, and they assiduously work to check that that has not happened. When different computer models, some using different approaches to calculate the same affects of various forcings (CO2, methane, etc.) still yield near identical results, it increases the confidence of the prediction.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            “Their ideological lives do depend on their not recognizing the accuracy of those model”

            Very funny that you don’t see the irony in that comment. You could make the argument that alarmist scientists depend on alarmism for funding. Look at the funding of climate science before and after the alarmism and you’ll see it very clearly.

          • Don_B1

            The “alarmist scientists” are alarmed because their research, confirmed by multiple studies on different aspects of global warming, which they can show will be a huge threat to human civilization. Each of them knows that if they could show that climate change was not a threat to civilization, that in itself could well lead to a Nobel Prize. It is their integrity that keeps them working in the field.

            They not being alarmist to get funding. They are all highly qualified scientists that could do research in other areas and do at least as well as they are doing now, and without having to deal with the harassment by “deniers” who make every kind of ad hominem attack on their personal integrity. Their willingness to continue climate research is basically standing up for truth beyond the call of duty, much like the soldiers who were awarded Congressional Medals of Honor last week.

            But it is apparently the last ditch effort of small-government, “freedom-loving” ideologues like those you get your information from and you in pushing these absolute lies that have not done your due-diligence in doing the work to learn just how serious this issue is and how failure to act to mitigate this threat will be. If it is just low taxes that is driving you this way, just remember, depending on how long you are successful in delaying action will mean just that much higher taxes in the future.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Wow!! That is incredible. Did you really just compare climate scientists to Congressional medal of honor recipients? I hope you’ll take that one back.

            I did not intend to denigrate all climate scientists. I’m sure there are some true believers. However, climate scientists are not immune to human temptations and foibles. How many loan officers were giving no money down mortgages under the new guidelines promoted by the CRA when they knew a good percentage would end up in default? It is easier to look the other way when the system supports corruption. It is human nature.

            Clearly we disagree on the nature of the ‘threat’. However, it is clear that there is increasing urgency to the ‘threat’. Also, I respect alarmists like James Hansen who promote energy solutions like nuclear energy and reject flying on private airplanes. At least he walks the walk.

            The alarmist solutions are not free or benign. They will cost society — mostly the poor.

            I heard a suggestion this weekend — a carbon tax IF private airplanes were also outlawed as part of the ‘deal’. While I don’t agree with that proposal it would expose all the rich liberal hypocrites — especially those in Hollywood.

        • Don_B1

          What do you mean by “settled?”

          Scientists know that all the details about how gravity works because the Newtonian Law of Gravity cannot work in a Black Hole where Quantum effects hold. Both are likely to need changes in details but those details will not change the way Newtonian physics allow for the building of bridges or buildings, designing of planes and ships, etc.

          Climate science is nearly at that stage and provides good predictive results at large scales, but does need refinement to get to predict future effects in small geographic areas. It is analogous to predicting that the Northeast will have a big storm in two days but not being able to predict the edge of the storm to within a mile or two.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Comparing climate science to Newtonian physics is laughable. Yes, you can engineer a bridge using the foundation of Newtonian physics (they did it before Newton) but only because we understand it with 9.999% certainty. However do we really want to invest $trillions in climate change mitigation when our understanding charitably only has 10% certainty? God help anyone who would ‘drive’ over that bridge.

            The more they learn, the less they realize the know. Some are willing to admit. There are former alarmists joining the skeptic camp. I don’t see any going the other way.

            From Dr. Judith Curry’s recent congressional testimony:

            ” Anthropogenic greenhouse warming is a theory whose basic mechanism is well understood, but whose magnitude is highly uncertain. Multiple lines of evidence presented in the recent IPCC 5thassessment report suggest that the case for anthropogenic warming is now weaker than in 2007, when the 4th assessment report was published.”

            http://judithcurry.com/2014/01/16/senate-epw-hearing-on-the-presidents-climate-action-plan/#more-14335

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            The argument that we are in a delicate balance of atmospheric CO2 is belied by the history of past deforestation, emissions from vulcanism and ice ages with much higher CO2 levels.

            However, you earth-in-balance reminded me of this quote I saw today from the father of GAIAism, James Lovelock:

            “environmentalism has become a religion

            Scientist behind the Gaia hypothesis says environment movement does not pay enough attention to facts and he was too certain in the past about rising temperatures”

            http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/30/james-lovelock-environmentalism-religion

          • Don_B1

            My argument, obviously not clear enough to avoid giving you a chance to try to twist it, is that for the last 10,000 to 20,000 or more years, has been in an equilibrium where the amount of CO2 varies only slightly about 250-275 ppm, with consequent average yearly temperatures varying within a 0.5°C window.

            James Lovelock was never a climate scientist; he is an independent scientist, environmentalist, and futurist.

            Note these two paragraphs:

            Lovelock reiterated his support for fracking for shale gas, which has been strongly backed by David Cameron and the government but vigorously opposed by anti-fracking activists and local people at sites from Salford to Balcombe in West Sussex.

            “The government is too frightened to use nuclear, renewables won’t work –because we don’t have enough sun – and we can’t go on burning coal because it produces so much CO2, so that leaves fracking. It produces only a fraction of the amount of CO2 that coal does, and will make Britain secure in energy for quite a few years. We don’t have much choice,” he said.

            Mr. Lovelock’s support for natural gas is because, for unstated reasons, he does not think that there is not enough sun to grow renewables to provide the necessary energy, which might be true if it has to be grown within the U.K., but it is definitely not true for the Earth in total. This implicitly recognizes that CO2 emissions must be limited to avoid global warming. He just does not agree, without any acknowledgment of others’ work to the contrary, with the speed that the CO2 emissions must be reduced.

            Note also that in his latest book, published in 2009, as described in Wikipedia:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Lovelock

            “In his most recent book, ‘The Vanishing Face of Gaia‘,[22] he rejects scientific modelling that disagrees with the scientific findings that sea levels are rising faster, and Arctic ice is melting faster, than the models predict and he suggests that we may already be beyond the tipping point of terrestrial climate into a permanently hot state. Given these conditions, Lovelock expects human civilization will be hard pressed to survive. He expects the change to be similar to the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum when atmospheric concentration of CO2 was 450 ppm. At that point the Arctic Ocean was 23 °C and had crocodiles in it,[23][24] with the rest of the world mostly scrub and desert.”

            Mr. Lovelock has lamented the massive spending and bureaucracy surrounding the disposition of nuclear waste while not making any provisions for the much more poisonous CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels.

            That does not sound like a rejection of climate change which you have cherry-picked from the Guardian interview to convey his membership in your group of Climate Change deniers.

            Mr. Lovelock has supported nuclear power and has stated that he is not worried about the resulting nuclear waste because of the large amount of vegetative and animal life in the vicinity of nuclear incidents and is sanguine about consequent mutations that, while likely life shortening, will lead to the transformation of humans to the next species on the path of evolution to what will finally be called God’s chosen race.

            i won’t hold my breath waiting for your apology.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Apology for what?

            Lovelock said your ilk acts like they belong to a religious cult. If that observation offends you then seek your redress from him.

          • Don_B1

            Mr. Lovelock may just be evincing sour grapes as some environmentalists have worked to discredit some aspects of his Gaia Theory. I believe he referred to those who were cultists as “environmentalists,” not specifically climate scientists.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Not taking a stand here, but a lot of the problems in dietary, and potentially for climate, especially at level of masses, is the nature of correlative studies.

        Correlations do not prove causation as tight as they may be. And as satisfying as the ideas behind why we think they are linked may be.

        Particularly relevant not as much whether climate change is anthopogenic, but more about how it will all play out in terms of atmosphere and biosphere. Quickly becomes fractal.

        • Jasoturner

          You are correct to point out the distinction between correlation and causation. Many conflate the two.

          One thing we can say with 100% certainty is that carbon dioxide dissociates to carbonic acid in an aqueous environment. A second thing we can say with 100% certainty is that burning carbon in an oxygen environment results in liberation of energy and production of carbon dioxide. Whereas we burn millions of tons of carbon every week, and whereas the oceans absorb some 20% or 30% of the CO2 in the atmosphere, there is no logical refutation that humans are affecting the biosphere directly and unambiguously. So in a sense, whether the migration of species or melting of snowcaps convinces one or not, there are other effects that are straightforward and undeniable.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            You also forgot to point out that only 3% of the annual CO2 emissions are caused by human burning fossil fuel. You also didn’t point out that the warming started before human CO2 emissions and has not accelerated. Therefore, there is large degree of uncertainty about the human influence on the current warming.

          • HonestDebate1

            I fear a movement to drain the oceans because of water vapor.

          • Don_B1

            Note that before humans created that increase in CO2 emissions, the release, through animal respiration and natural fires, etc., was in balance with the absorption of that CO2 by vegetative growth and the oceans in the CO2 cycle between the atmosphere, oceans and earth’s mantle, as shown in The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism, which is downloadable here:

            http://www.skepticalscience.com/

            If you need to deny that a small change in an input variable can create a big change in an output variable, then consider that the bias current to a transistor can affect the orders of magnitude larger current flowing from the emitter to the collector. It is the difference from the previously balanced circulation that does not have any force to drive the system back into the old equilibrium and thus forces heat to rise until a new equilibrium is reached, where the higher earth temperature causes the upper atmospheric layers to radiate to space at a rate that keeps it at that higher temperature .

          • HonestDebate1

            Another thing we can say with certainty is first temperature rises and then CO2 levels rise.

            BTW, I understand the feedback effect but it’s not a chicken or egg thing, it’s horse and cart thing.

  • Potter

    When will we get it right?

    What do we do about the flood of food products on the market that are low fat but loaded with sugar that people think are healthier to eat? This is a massive job of consumer re-education to get changes to happen.

    Look at the sugar content of produced foods and how that sugar content labeling escapes the food labeling rules by breaking up the various sugars into separate entries. Total sugar value should be required. Sugar should be the next target.

    If you eat a fatty piece of meat, or use butter on your veggies, you can feel mighty satisfied, maybe even skip dessert.

    Chew the fat folks.

    • Alchemical Reaction

      I stopped buying breakfast cereal altogether, because of the sugar. Even the “organic” ones are sickeningly sweet.

      This “food chemistry” has gotten so ridiculous they even put sugar in salsa… SUGAR IN SALSA. WTF! And when you call the corporations on it, they just say, “Our market research focus groups have indicated this is the amount of sugar that makes the product taste good to our customers.”

      Well, they’re absolutely right. I am not one of their customers.

      • TFRX

        Yeah, they’ve overshot the sweetness that occurs in many salsas.

        I mean, when I make it myself, I end up with very burnt tomatos and peppers, but if done right, the nice little char has Maillard reaction goodness, and a touch of sweetness.

        • Alchemical Reaction

          I’ve got a salsa recipe everyone raves about. Looking for investors.

  • HonestDebate1

    There was a heart surgeon who made these same claims a while back. He said the biggest issue was not cholesterol but inflammation in the veins. Cholesterol should freely flow through but the inflammation restrict it. Saturated fats help the process. It made sense to me.

    I think the key is to just eat sensibly.

    • John Cedar

      They biggest factor by far is in picking the right parents. Ones who have no history of heart disease in their family are optimal.
      Also should avoid choosing parents with cancer, addiction and mental health histories. It is also a known risk factor if you pick poor parents, so I wouldn’t take any chances there either.

      • HonestDebate1

        Luckily, I already thought of that.

  • Matt MC

    Finally, a reprieve for the slumping sales at McDonald’s. Long live the Big Mac!

    • Leonard Bast

      I’m going to assume you’re being ironic. I don’t eat often at McDonald’s (maybe once a year, if traveling), nor am I a fan of fast-food culture, nor do I own stock in the company, but I do grow weary of the knee-jerk McDonald’s bashing. McDonald’s is not the source of all the world’s nutritional evil. Don’t eat the three layers of doughy bun and a Big Mac isn’t such a horrific choice. Skip the fries and add a salad, and order a non-sugary drink (like water), and you could do a lot worse.

      • HonestDebate1

        There was a guy in the news recently who lost something like 50 pounds eating every meal at McDonalds.

    • Jasoturner

      Actually, if you ditch the bun and ignore the french fries, there’s not too much wrong with it.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Yeah, but what do we really know about that ‘special sauce’?

        • Jasoturner

          All we know is, it tastes pretty darn good…

          • HonestDebate1

            So do stripers!

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        cook the fries in lard and don’t eat too many.

        Keep carbs under 150g a day (including sugars)

    • Steve__T
      • Matt MC

        Your anecdote of a single person living with a single lifestyle in a single town with a single unstated workout routine with a probably exaggerated account of his eating habits has convinced me! Of what? I’m still working on that.

  • Leonard Bast

    Anecdotal evidence . . . my father has always preferred savory snacks and hasn’t much of a sweet tooth. Bacon and eggs for breakfast, meat as the centerpiece of meals, nuts, pepperoni, cheese, pickles, etc., for snacks. He’s 80 this year, looks 60, and has never had a health problem. On the other hand, in the 1990s, I fell for the low-fat, eat all the carbs you want advice. Specifically I read and followed Dean Ornish’s no fat diet and I followed the food pyramid’s recommendation to eat carbs–bread, pasta, bagels, etc.–as the basis of my diet. I gained a huge amount of weight, which I’ve struggled to take off, and I felt lousy. I still don’t come close, at age 50, to looking as good or to having the vitality and health of my father, and it has been a struggle to wean myself from a carb-based diet.

    • Jasoturner

      Ornish is, no offense, a nutritional zealot whose ego became entangled with the naive nutritional positions that propelled him to fame. I would suggest you read Taubes to get some helpful information about food types and how they are metabolized.

    • jefe68

      Some more anecdotal evidence: I know of a man who has since passed away at 83, who in his lifetime had three bypass surgeries. He ate a lot of bacon and eggs and meat. He died while having his last heart surgery, as the scaring in his arteries was so severe that no matter what the doctors did they could save him. I’m not sure they should have done that kind of surgery on an 83 year old, but that’s another topic.

      I think there are a lot of factors into why your father seems healthy and you are having health issues.

    • Potter

      Couldn’t you tell that eat-all-you-want-of-carbs was not working before you gained the 50? I think you just let yourself go and stopped thinking and noticing how you look and feel. I don’t know if it’s Dean Ornish’s fault.

      Consider carbs and sugar drugs– and do it gradually. You don’t have to give them up completely. Good luck.

  • Fredlinskip

    How large a role do lobbyists of various food industries play in setting the recommendations of a “healthy” diet?

  • J__o__h__n

    What are the odds that Americans are going to react to this sensibly and eat less and eat a variety of foods or ditch the carbs for more bacon on everything? In college I worked as a cashier and a student saw a 200+ count box of Swedish Fish and exclaimed, “Look, no fat!” and bought them.

  • Leonard Bast

    I hope Tom gives the bulk of his attention to the scientists and doesn’t let Bittman take over the program. Bittman did cooking/recipe articles and videos for the New York Times, and then turned himself, by the wave of his magical wand, into a health and nutrition expert. He hasn’t stopped talking since. Let’s hope he doesn’t do all the talking here. I’d like to hear from the people with actual scientific credentials.

  • HonestDebate1

    How will this development influence Michelle Obama’s school lunch initiative?

    • Adam

      it will be thrown under the bus.

  • http://www.davidkatzmd.com/default.aspx Dr. David L. Katz
  • DJJS

    Did On Point’s staff consider asking someone from the internationally known Weston A. Price Foundation (www.westonAprice.org) to participate in this discussion? WAPF and its scores of members have been on a crusade for more than a decade to expose the poor, incomplete and misrepresented information about the purported dangers of saturated fat. The DC based organization has grown TREMENDOUSLY in resources, chapters and members!

    • Earthmama36

      It is disappointing that NPR’s doesn’t find balanced viewpoints for
      their discussions on health. Dr. Mary Enig studied fats in the 1950′s
      and 60′s, she knew about the benefits of saturated fats vs the dangers
      of vegetable oils then. She wasn’t invited to conferences to explain
      her studies, therefore, the knowledge was not allowed into mainstream
      scientific circles. Why, 50 years later, is someone like Dr. Enig still
      not invited to add her knowledge to the discussion such that a greater
      audience will hear valuable information? I continue to be disappointed
      in NPR and their lack of unbiased presentations.

  • AnneDH

    Oh, be careful! Consider genetics first and foremost with your food choices and go for an annual physical checkup.

    • Alchemical Reaction

      Actually, epigenetic overlays are arguably more important than basic genetics…

  • Alchemical Reaction

    An avocado a day…

    • HonestDebate1

      Love’m.

    • hennorama

      Alchemical Reaction — …keeps my dog very happy, and his coat quite shiny.

      Although, to be accurate, for him it’s “half of an avocado per day.”

      • Alchemical Reaction

        Happy to hear it! Such a beautiful idea!

        • hennorama

          A R — TY for your response.

          He really likes avos. I had to fence off the avocado trees at one of my residences, so he wouldn’t beat me to the groundfallen ones. There are even specialized pet foods containing avos for animals with skin issues, under the AvoDerm and other brands.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            You’re welcome. It’s my dream to have an avocado “orchard”. Many people don’t know they contain all essential amino acids. I like to spread on spelt pretzel bread, with san marzano tomato sauce. Fantastic.

            What breed is your dog?

  • http://argonnechronicles.blogspot.com/ Dee

    The problem is that we are in search of the one magical thing we can do/avoid to be healthy and health is so much more than one thing. Is a “low fat” box of Snackwell’s healthy? Of course not. But neither is a daily diet of bacon, Big Macs, and huge hunk of cheese. We need and have always needed a diet that provides a lot of plant-based foods, some protein, some carbs, some fats. This isn’t breaking news and it’s not rocket science.

    • DeJay79

      Balanced = Healthy
      and you can’t get a balanced diet in one simple list of do’s and dont’s. It requires individuals to actually think about what they eat.

      unfortunately most of us don’t have the time or dietary understanding to do that.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    Yeah, but did you eat non-organic, non free-range or pastured meats? If so, those animals could have been fed animal byproducts and you could have prions in your brain. It’s always something.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Its the inflammation from grains and too much processed carbs, sugars.

    Natural saturated fats part of our ancestral diet. Huge quantities of grain/sugar not.

    Meats, fats, leafies, tubers.

    Hard part is we are so overpopulated, that we must feed large portions of the planet processed grains and corn, essentially like the cattle we have become.

  • TFRX

    “I haven’t buttered my toast with real butter in years”.

    v.

    “Bacon up that sausage, Bart.” (h/t Homer Simpson)

    Which of these breakfast scenarios is more prevalent in this country?

    • Jasoturner

      Most people I know go for either yogurt, bagels, muffins or breakfast sandwiches. Few have time to make bacon and eggs. You will note that for yogurt, muffins and bagels, you are basically eating complex chains of sugar and little else.

      • TFRX

        I would point out that there’s no shortage of non-carbs in the breakfast sandwich, i.e. “the thing McDonald’s has been making forever to the extent that even Taco Bell is open for breakfast now”.

  • Coastghost

    To hear the competing claims emerge from rival scientists with rival research budgets and funding pipelines, the disinterested audience member might hazard the guess that not even medical science itself admits enough consensus to be quite the monolith “Science” that our science mafias are often alarmist enough to suggest.
    Why, to hear the guests speak this morning, someone might be tempted to think that we’re all going to die of something! Horrors!

    • Jasoturner

      Funny conclusion to your post – how true…

      In my limited experience, the doctors who perform a lot of this research are a far cry from “scientists”, which leads to experimental sloppiness and the concomitant variety of opinion in nutrition discussions. NuSI is one organization that apparently hopes to apply the scientific method to nutrition research.

      • Coastghost

        I would not shortchange the distinct contributions of the science journalism fraternity, either, not even that of the New York Times, apparently, not even necessarily that of NPR, apparently.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Are we also aware of the irony that the Food Police back in the time of the McGovern report, got all up in arms, convinced Sat Fat was evil, and everyone should be a vegetarian, and pressured fast food restaurants to switch from using Sat Fat (lard, tallow) to cook fries, to using unnatural trans fats and vegetable oils, which our metabolism are not evolved to utilize?

    Classic folly of the arrogant “common sense” of do-gooders imposing nationwide experiments on us once they reach a critical mass of “knowing” their inkling must be right.

    Last 50 years of dietary info results of flawed McGovern report (good intentions though!), fraudulent cardiac/fat/cholesterol correlative studies, too big to fail Ag subsidies, and Big Pharma Cholesterol drug collusion with FDA/Government.

    The line between well meaning and colluding gets blurred quick in DC.

    But putting power behind our self-righteousness is so satisfying!

    • Fredlinskip

      Good comment generally but clarifying “which are metabolism are not evolved to utilize” ..might help?

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        We evolved over millions of years ( our metabolic genes), to work with what we found to eat in nature.

        Engineered oils, and high levels of plant oils that we never could have purified and eaten at high levels.

        Remember our cells are surrounded by lipid membranes, that have fluidity and signaling properties. “foreign” oils do not behave at the cellular level in the same way and may interfere with our metabolism and cell signals accordingly.

        • Fredlinskip

          Well put and appreciate your contributions to conversation…

          I just think though your above comment might read more coherently if you said perhaps,
          “which our metabolism has not evolved to utilize”?

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            thanks, edited to I hope reflect that.

  • jefe68

    Funny how they use Paula Deen as an example, who has type 2 diabetes.
    It’s sugar that’s the real killer.

    • TFRX

      Butter can’t pick its fans, but, yeah.

      We don’t know what Deen’s done to get diabetes and what her risks were beforehand.

      • jefe68

        I’m sure her weight had a lot to do with it.
        And she eats a lot of sugar.
        Sugar is really bad for you.

        • HonestDebate1

          There ought to be a law.

          • jefe68

            Against sugar? Well you might want to read up on the history of sugar.

          • HonestDebate1

            I suppose Obamacare justifies it. If the government is footing the bill for healthcare they will need to make sure people are making the right choices. That’s why we have death panels.

          • jefe68

            Your comments are like mental death panels.

          • HonestDebate1

            This looks like an endorsement for death panels to me: ” I’m not sure they should have done that kind of surgery on an 83 year old, but that’s another topic”.

          • jefe68

            You really do not know what you are on about do you.

            Fist off, this man had a very bad heart and arteries. He was told he might not survive the surgery and if he had chosen not to have the surgery, by the way notice how it was his choice, he would have died in 6 months to a year. He died a day after the surgery.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes, people used to be able to chose.

          • jefe68

            They still can. You are aware that insurance companies routinely denied care for people of all ages, and still do if they can get away with it.

            Before the ACA they also denied coverage for people who had acne, or type 1 diabetes, or any pre-existing condition.

          • HonestDebate1

            I used to be able to chose my insurance company, my plan and my doctor. Or whether I wanted insurance at all.. or whether to sell my estate for treatment… or not.

            Obamacare is a horrible “solution” to insuring pre-existing conditions. Just horrible.

          • jefe68

            Some of the ACA is not good some of it is.
            Funny how before the ACA, the GOP had zero solutions to health care other than social Darwinism. I would also remind you that the mandate was a Republican idea.

            You can choose your insurance, there are plenty of plans to choose from. The limit is what insurance companies are in your state. That’s always been the case.

            The restrictions of doctors were already an aspect of every managed care policy.
            Where do you get this stuff from?

            Anyway I’m done dealing with your inanity as you use every topic to post nothing but anti-Obama screeds.
            Which is boring and pointless.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            “Some of the ACA is not good”

            Should’ve stopped right there.

          • jefe68

            I was never in favor of it. I’m in the single payer camp.

          • HonestDebate1

            The GOP had a gazillion proposals.

          • jefe68

            Name a few…Oh like what tort reform? Hey guess what, medical malpractice insurance has been trending down for about a decade. Of course it depends what line of medicine one practices, but the trend has been it’s going down. So has the amount of law suites.

          • HonestDebate1

            The last time I cited a very few of many you changed your tune and essentially said they didn’t count if you don’t like them. And yes, tort reform is crucial.

            http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/10/22/obamacares-rocky-rollout-what-happens-now#comment-1092967746

          • jefe68

            Tort reform is small potatoes. It’s about 2% of all health care costs.

  • rich4321

    They always give people “advice” on what to eat and what not to eat, yada yada… than few years later they reverse their “advice”.
    The best thing to me is to eat whatever pleases me, not to worry. Happiness
    is the healthiest way to live. :)

    • Fredlinskip

      Unfortunately not everyone can eat what makes them feel short-term happiness and remain healthy.
      This works fairly well when one is young, but can catch up later in life.
      That said there’s much to be said for common sense and exercise.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Its the high sugar/carbs AND fat that can be a problem.

  • Susan Beld

    Please, just give me a list of goods that ARE healthy and a list of foods to avoid. Does organic grass fed beef actually contain healthy omega 3 fatty acids and is it good for you? Is all wheat now frankenwheat and bad for you? I don’t know if I should go vegan or paleo-organic? The problem is the source of protein: should it be organic meat or beans/grains (carbs) as the source of protein.

    • Charles

      I vote for meat.
      I expect that our ancestors ate beans and grains (easier to preserve) as a last resort when they couldn’t get protein from meat.
      I suspect meat has always been the first option.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        grains and beans, are “modern”. Blink of our evolutionary eye.

        10,000 years out of millions.

        Many open questions about whether our metabolisms can evolve that quick to our current “neolithic” diet in that short of a time.

    • Mike S.

      First rule of nutrtion: There are no such things as junk foods. But there ARE junk lifestyles; eat what you want—just make sure you live an active lifestyle, to burn off and metabolize what you do eat. Tour de France riders routinely consume 6,000 calories per day—that’s about 3 times what normal adults need—yet they look so skinny as to be unhealthy. If you burn more calories than you consume, it is physically impossible to get fat.

      • JS

        There’s a difference between skinny and healthy. Eating 2,000 calories of Doritos and Pepsi all day while burning 2001 calories might make me skinny, but will it make me healthy?

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          Skinny-fat is a real thing.

          • JS

            So as a slightly overweigh, generally healthy man can I consider myself fat-skinny! Woo Hoo

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            I certainly hope so…….

        • Mike S.

          No problemo with los Doritos—pure veggie, no cholesterol. I said there is no such thing as junk food—but should have also said there IS such a thing as JUNK, which the diet-colas, and cotton candy, would be. I could be quite happy, healthy and near nirvana with Cheez-Its, peanuts, and Guinness! A near complete diet–but I’d add a little red meat to make sure I get enough zinc and iron–both of which are difficult to obtain on a vegan or veggie diet, absent supplements—and if you’re taking supplements (vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, or whatever), that is QED that your diet is not healthy

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        But you sure can get heart attacks and cancer if you don’t care what you stick down your gullet, regardless of exercise AFAIK.

        Also lots of support for idea that lots of intense exercise does more harm than good (marathoners not doing long term favors to selves etc.)

        I think there is something to the metabolism/clock concept, heartbeats/life idea, numbers of cell cycles, oxidative stress etc.

        • JS

          And Tour de France riders lose bone density throughout the month long race.

        • hennorama

          G_B_S — according to one source, you have support in that concept:

          I believe that every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine running around doing exercises.

          –Neil Armstrong

          Source:
          http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/n/neil_armstrong.html#BM63sc7Do36XS8fw.99

        • HonestDebate1

          I understand not everybody lives the same lifestyle as I but I never understood the notion of exercise for exercise’s sake. I don’t lift weights but I do throw 100lb sacks of horse feed around every day. I pick up out of the field and stack in the barn 2500 bales of hay a year. The last time I wore a pedometer an average day logged over 20 miles. The beauty is things get done.

    • passarinha

      I’ve found convincing answers to all of these questions at http://www.marksdailyapple.com.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Please ask your guests what they understand to be the source of the inflammation that underlies arteriosclerosis.

  • Coastghost

    Further cause for horrors: could it be that our sciences are prone and subject to the whims of FASHION!?!? (Where’s my Boggi labcoat, anyway? I like the extra pockets for my stethoscope and my sphygmomanometer. [In olive or avocado, preferably.])

  • jefe68

    Great, BUR is doing commercials now.

    • J__o__h__n

      Nothing brings in donations like interrupting content while the hosts blandly tell you why you like NPR over and over again. Members should get a code so they can listen on line without the begging.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        All animals are equal, but …

        Then again, maybe everyone who actually pays income tax should get a code ….

    • HonestDebate1

      They always have.

  • AliceOtter33

    The message of the study doesn’t seem so controversial to me. Demonizing or deifying a particular food just isn’t useful in helping people maintain healthy diets.

    The real culprit is the food industry that latches onto the silver-bullet solution as an effective branding/marketing strategy…evil geniuses!

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    The catch is while we should be eating grass fed meat and products, we likely are too overpopulated to all do it.

    A real conundrum.

    Eat like cattle for the good of the whole?

    or

    Eat like we evolved and feel guilty?

  • Coastghost

    Why care overmuch about fat and obesity? Medical science gave us amphetamines years and decades ago, and doctors have been prescribing them just as long.

    • jefe68

      So does making good BB-Q.
      Nothing like a good pulled pork sandwich.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    These guys are just shooting from the hip, saying we “have” to eat less meat etc.

    This kind of glossy, but unsubstantiated expert prognostications is what gets us in these messes.

    Correlative studies with their latcher-ons and related fads are the bane of the “field” of nutrition.

    The whole foods, ancestral diet model is the most rational, and scientifically supported.

  • Coastghost

    Making buttered toast requires further expenditures of electricity, too, which invariably contributes oh so directly to anthropogenic climate change.

  • chris

    I’m disappointed that this discussion didn’t include any of the many well-respected doctors, medical researchers and nutritionists who support paleo and other animal based diets as optimal. There is evidence to support their views and I would’ve appreciated hearing a larger discussion between all of these experts.

  • Renee Raymond

    I always remember the late great Julia Child who ate everything in moderation.

    • HonestDebate1

      And she lived until she was 91. Go figure.

  • Government_Banking_Serf
  • Will Raschke

    Reading the comments it seems like the listeners know more than the host or the guests.

    Given that the official health guidelines have been so wrong – and have likely caused the death or sickness of god knows how many people – what stock should Americans put in the medical system and what kind of changes to recommendation methodology can be put in place to make sure health guidelines are based on science and not on currently fashionable ideas?

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Accountability.

      But that so…….. 1700′s!

    • passarinha

      Amen to that. The “expert”-condoned low-fat craze, promotion of margarine and low-quality oils, egg phobia, and grain-heavy food pyramid, are a major scandal that is not being covered by NPR. This exposes major flaws in how science related to public health is funded, conducted, reviewed, and communicated. The experts on this show are years behind the curve.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Is Michael Bloomberg available for comment?

  • SuziVt

    I don’t care if the research proved that eating animals improved your health & increased longevity. (And it does NOT.) I will never go back to eating meat. I can’t rationalize that killing animals for my pleasure is ever right. A vegan diet is not simply not eating animal products. It is totally about respect & compassion for all & every living sentient being, that is capable of feeling discomfort, terror, pain & has an urgent desire to live. That encompasses what we eat, wear, buy & do. We don’t think of ourselves as superior in every way. Just as stupid people, mentally or physically challenged people are not excluded from equal respect & consideration given to our smartest & most accomplished humans. We all, animals included, have a great desire to live & to live our lives in relative comfort, enjoying the activities that are natural to our own species. And no animal EVER “give” it’s life or “sacrifices” it’s life for our possessions or meals. That’s simply a way for meat eaters to justify & neutralize the horror they spread for selfish reasons.

    • J__o__h__n

      Your comment doesn’t convey that you don’t think of yourself as superior.

      • SuziVt

        I can’t be responsible for anything that you read into my comments.

    • HonestDebate1

      If only animals felt the same way.

      • Fredlinskip

        Humans have evolved and hopefully will continue to do so.
        Unless you don’t believe in evolution (in which case you might be more interested in to hour 2 of show).
        We also have learned to increase longevity somewhat, which involves dietary change.

        But for those who don’t believe in evolution or watching diet:
        Keep chomping on them critters.

        • HonestDebate1

          You are making assumptions.

          Bigger animals eat smaller animals. That’s the way it works. They viciously and inhumanely rip them apart while the victim still breaths. Humans don’t do that.

          • jefe68

            I would dare say most of the animals we eat do not eat other animals.
            Not unless you’re into eating gator, big cats or dogs.

          • HonestDebate1

            Most animals we eat are herbivores. Your point?

          • jefe68

            Funny, I was thinking the same about your comment…

          • HonestDebate1

            My point is larger animals eat smaller animals, what’s so hard to understand?

          • Steve__T

            No. Large carnivores, will kill animals much larger than themselves. Whatever is available.

          • HonestDebate1

            That too, they’re not mutually exclusive.

          • Steve__T

            My point

          • Fredlinskip

            Yes we have “evolved” to the point where many never think twice about where the meat in those neatly wrapped packages actually comes from and what consequences our daily dietary choices have on the planet.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s an odd definition of evolution but to your point, we should have been listening to Ted Nugent decades ago.

      • SuziVt

        Animals kill to survive. They aren’t likely to write a grocery list & skip to the store for legumes & veggies.

        • HonestDebate1

          My cats are not hungry, their dispenser is always full. They kill mice, snakes, chipmunks, rabbits and birds. I saw “Pablo” doing flips around a doomed earthworm just this morning.

          But don’t get me wrong. I respect your position and it is consistent with your beliefs. I was a vegetarian for 12 years and still eat very little red meat.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      We should actually probably be eating more insects.

      • SuziVt

        I’ll stick to veggies, legumes, grains & nuts, thanks!

    • HonestDebate1

      BTW, if you are depriving yourself of leather I am happy to inform you no cow is ever slaughtered for it’s hide.

      • SuziVt

        Not true.

        • HonestDebate1

          It is true, really. Leather is a byproduct of the beef industry. I have friends in the industry. They are Germans whose family business goes back 150 years.

          I’ll give you another example. The drug Premarin (for menopausal women) is manufactured from the urine of pregnant mares. Our horse farm has purchased many PMU (pregnant mare urine) foals from Canada over the years. They are a byproduct.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Look up the Documentary “Fat Head” and give it a watch.

    Low budget, and the knee jerkers will paint it as some kind of pro-fast food thing, which its not, but it raises a lot of key issues to think about.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Carb-craving are a real, and tricky thing. Breaking the cycle by re-activating the fat-burning side of your metabolism (by eating more fat and less carb) helps.

    But challenging!

    I keep giving in to my organic blue corn chips and convince myself the avocado guac I make justifies. But the carbs add up quick!

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    FWIW (not much), if I had to lock into a future eating style, it would be grain-free, lowish carb, whole/natural foods, pastured meats and unprocessed fats/oils. Hope I have good genes and don’t look back.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    http://authoritynutrition.com/23-studies-on-low-carb-and-low-fat-diets/

    “In this article, I have analyzed the data from 23 of these studies comparing low-carband low-fat diets.

    All of the studies are randomized controlled trials, the gold standard of science. All are published in respected, peer-reviewed journals.”

  • Bonnie Samuel

    I hope you will more on this top. BUT PLEASE, ask any doc you have what their actual training is in nutrition, how many actual classroom hours the had in college. AND what ,if any ties they now may have to any drug or food company they have….full disclosure. Just because they or anyone speaks as an authority on any topic on your show …. Well full disclosure please…what are there ties.

    In fact, American medical schools do not teach nutrition.

    AND .. How about doing a show on the switch of the Swedish government re: food pyramid.
    Thanks.

    • anamaria23

      Though my doctor keeps abreast of nutritional effects on disease, I do not expect that all doctors do or can. It is a specialty unto itself. They can refer patients to a nutritionist, but most often do not.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Asking a random doctor about nutrition is an incredible crapshoot, even nutritionist. They all have to hedge their bets to the standard medical line which is very conservative (good approach overall, but slooooow to change) and/or worse, corrupted by Statin sales.

        They can’t keep up with the changes, need to sound authoritative, and do not think like PhDs who continue to question (because job description is necessarily different).

        That is the dilemma of Medicine and Research, which we will likely always have.

      • Bonnie Samuel

        If your doctor”keeps abreast of nutritional effects on disease” such is likely what he is told by his pharma rep. If we accept that our bodies, our overall health is dependent on nutrition, then those who are in a position to advise us on our health best understand the connection. The American medical system is NOT trained in the food/body connection. The do readily pass out pills which treat symptoms at best, then cause more issues creating need for yet another pill.

        • anamaria23

          The medical practice that I go to (she) encourage lifestyle change before medications e.g. dietary, guided imagery, acupuncture, yoga, etc. I think there is more a trend toward that .as these become mainstream However, the patient must be compliant and too many ignore those changes and end up on meds.

          One’s health cannot be totally the doc’s or NP responsibility. As a health care professional, I am amazed at how many are so cavalier about their health and yet I do see a greater consciousness especially among the younger who have had more exposure to 21st century research and awareness.
          Many resent Mayor Bloomberg’s dictates, but he has raised an important consciousness re: nutrition and health.

  • Markus6

    I missed the broadcast, so apologies if this was covered.

    There’s something to be learned from this, but not yet sure what. However, it’s something about trendiness, herd mentality and the influence of funding on scientific research.

    We had the food pyramid pushed by the government and it turned out to be wrong. And there were lots of terrible or wrongly interpreted scientific studies that supported how bad fat was. Gary Taubes did some of the best work I’ve seen in studying the studies. What’s odd is the valid studies supported what we’re learning today, but were ignored or misinterpreted.

    And let’s go back to Y2K. Lots of supposedly scientific studies showed that the world had a massive Y2K problem, but those countries that invested almost nothing (Germany) had the same results as those that invested gazillions.

    I think that many of these forces are at work in climate change. I happen to believe that it’s changing and we are the primary cause, but I also see the academic funding and culture that favors both these findings. I see funding on the other side as well with the energy industry, although they don’t have the media on their side. A likely result of this is what happens every time with trendy topics – they get amped up well above the reality.

    • Fredlinskip

      Global warming and unhealthy diet are related, and are more than just “trendy topics”.
      It’s kind of like admitting your an alcoholic-
      we need admit there’s a problem before there’s any hope for solution.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Human effects on the biosphere and diet are trendy topics.

        They are also both almost infinitely complex, likely involving chaos theory type realities at some level.

        Because of that, we need to be skeptical of those, especially in the government and commercial arenas, who purport firm answers and solutions.

        Not eating far outside our evolutionary heritage, and not dumping benzene in our water supply seem plenty self-evident, empirically proven and non-controversial to accept guidelines.

        But looking toward regulation when we get into more complex phenomena base on hunches or interesting theories is sure folly. Satisfying, but folly.

        • Fredlinskip

          My comment referred only to the importance of admitting there is a problem.
          That said I also hope that attempts be made to address the problem instead of burying head in sand, pretending it doesn’t exist.
          Stakes are kind of high.

  • HonestDebate1

    Necessary.

  • hennorama

    Personally, I enjoy the Mediterranean diet, but you’ll have to pry the butter for my popcorn, and the half-and-half for my coffee, from my cold [warm,] dead refrigerator.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      http://www.paleomediterranean.com

      Lets also remember, really, we are feeding our gut bacteria and composting.

      • hennorama

        G_B_S — paraphrasing Homer Simpson:

        “Mmmmmm … gut bacteria and composting.”

        Indeed, and that’s yet another reason to not over-emphasize hand sanitizers and other antibacterials.

  • susanallport

    Recommendations for single nutrients are only effective, as Dr. Mozzafarian points out, when populations are deficient in those nutrients. Well, the reason why studies consistently reveal the benefits of omega-3s is because we are deficient — or insufficient — in these essential.nutrients. And the reason we’re insufficient is not just b/c we don’t consume enough omega-3s but because omega-3s compete with a second family of essential fats — omega-6s — for enzymes and positions in cell membranes. Until epidemiologists recognize the importance of this competition, their advice about food will continue to confuse even the savviest consumer.

  • Steve__T

    As far as the picture goes, I have to say that Dr. Seuss comes to mind. I would not eat that here or there I would not eat that anywhere, I do not like fried pickles and ham I do not like them Sam I Am

    • HonestDebate1

      I totally respect that but I gotta tell ya’, it looks delicious to me.

  • HonestDebate1

    “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? A pit bull is delicious!… a little soy sauce…” -President Obama

    • Steve__T

      Not funny

      • HonestDebate1

        I wouldn’t have said it but Obama did.

        • Oh bummer

          Give Obama a break, adding $7 trillion to the national debt in only five years is quite an accomplishment.

      • jefe68

        He can’t help himself. He has right wing regressive disorder.

    • Ray in VT

      The pit bull might have helped to get McCain elected.

      • Oh bummer

        Do you think that pit bull could have added $7 trillion to the national debt in five years like Obama has?

        • FrankensteinDragon

          NONSENSE

          • Oh bummer

            And your war-mongering President Obama, is carrying on what they started.

        • Ray in VT

          Yes. She could have also gutted special education like she did for Alaska. I doubt that she could have cut the deficit in half, but that is probably because basic division is beyond her abilities.

    • Oh bummer

      “Pit bull with a little soy sauce is delicious”? That might be the only honest thing Obama has said since he started squatting in the White House.

  • Sy2502

    I really wish people would learn the lesson, which is that demonizing one food is silly, that solutions are more complex than that. But they don’t. First it was fat, then it’s fructose. Or meat. Same with the “miracle foods”, the ones that you just have to eat until you are sick of them and you’ll live forever. Ginseng, then acai berry, or kale, or brown rice, or quinoa. How can we think in such simplistic terms?

    • HonestDebate1

      it not surprising. Evidently the tax rate has everything to do with the state of the economy. Or the party of the President without regard to anything else. And did you know that if we want lower taxes that means we have to fill out own potholes? This is the kind of thinking that passes for enlightened.

      • Sy2502

        Remind me again what potholes have to do with saturated fat?

  • Sy2502

    You actually thought NPR reporting was balanced?

  • Oh bummer

    ‘No evidence that eating saturated fat increased heart disease’. In the late 1960′s, the US govt. assured military personal in Vietnam that Agent Orange was safe to breathe and have sprayed on you. We all know how well that turned out.

    • hennorama

      Oh, one who may be a rummer, and who is unfortunately not a mummer — your non sequiturs continue to pile up.

      In addition, your comment implies that “the US govt.” has drawn the conclusion you quoted.

      Nope.

      Here’s the pertinent quote of The Economist article “From Tom’s Reading List,” above:

      Rajiv Chowdhury of Cambridge University and his colleagues found that one bugbear, trans-fats, are indeed associated with heart disease—though they caution that only five of the studies they looked at had pertinent data on these. Other common beliefs, however, were not supported.

      They found no evidence that eating saturated fats or having high levels of circulating saturated fatty acids (the digested products of such fats) had any effect on cardiac disease. Nor did they find that omega-3 fatty acids, the current poster-boys of healthy eating, protect against heart disease.

      One question: Do you know where Cambridge University is located? (Hint: it’s not across from Boston, MA.)

      • Oh bummer

        Keep swallowing the govt. propaganda bird-brain.

        • hennorama

          Oh, number and less credible than Joe the Plumber — thank you for your response.

          Yes, yes, of course. Only you and your sources out of Montenegro know “the real truth.” Sure, sure.

          Let’s review your list of “stuff I gotta type regardless of the topic”:

          “govt. propaganda”
          “Obama’s illegal drone attacks”
          “Obama added $7 trillion to the national debt”
          “Obama claimed he visited 57 states”
          “Obama gave $5 billion to neo-fascist thugs to overthrow Ukraine’s government”
          “Obama supported al-Qaeda fighters in Syria”

          Again, this reminds one of the Gregg Smith Response-O-Matic, which at least has a bit more variety.

          The comic relief is appreciated, but you really need to expand your routine.

          • Oh bummer

            I’ll be the one laughing when your President is charged for war crimes over his illegal drone attacks that killed innocent civilians.

          • hennorama

            Oh, crumber — thank you.

            I had forgotten the “your President” nonsense, and will add it to the list above.

            Still, you need some new nonsense.

          • Oh bummer

            The war crimes your President has committed, is not ‘nonsense’.

          • hennorama

            Oh, no rhythm, no drummer — thanks you for your response.

            Please remind me of your answer to this direct question from a few days ago:

            ” — are you an expert in international law?”

            No one will be interrupting normal respiration while waiting for your response.

          • Oh bummer

            You got it Chicken-Scratch.

          • FrankensteinDragon

            only you know the real truth?

      • FrankensteinDragon

        poor example–its not very clear or convincing.

        I think the point is that agent orange is deadly and the gov lies. A truth that you need to acknowledge. This absurd promotion of saturated fat is probably funded by the fast food industry. Which makes it unethical and ridiculous. Not worth our time. Te American diet is deadly. Gluttonous beef eaters make me sick.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          Are you April fooling us? Or are you sincere.

          The anti fat freaks are the ones who convinced fast food joints to stop using sat animal fat and replace with engineered vegetable oils which are horrible for us.

          Your kind of convinced passion mixed with a bit of misinformation that sounds good, is the basis of many historical follies.

          Apologies if your being facetious.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Sugars and carbs cause heart attacks, not fat.

  • Robert Miller

    If I need to eat more fruit and vegetables, can I now fry them in butter???

    • jefe68

      With cinnamon…

  • hennorama
  • FrankensteinDragon

    this is a waste of time.

    1.Skepticism is advised. Who funded this? MacDonald’s and Burger king, the fast food industry? The processed food industry–in other words–the commercial farming industry.

    2. take 100 people with equal health and genetics. Feed them a diet of processed food, fast food, and cheesy beef burgers.

    take 100 people and feed them a diet with little to no saturated ft–a mostly vegetarian and fish.

    the beef group will die young, with heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and mental disorders–the majority of Americans.

    the veggies will live long healthy lives full of energy, clear thought, peaceful state of mind and positive outlook on life.

    so you go figure–this research is BS. I am not surprised ON point has decided ot promote such absurdities to benefit the corporate capitalists. WHo is sponsoring NPR now?

    BY the way, TOM, love you ads for natural gas–no, your message isn’t tainted at all. What a joke!

    P.S. this is the ugliest nastiest hamburger i have ever seen. The bacon and he bun is burnt. The burger is probably gm fed hormone pumped feces burger very dry. I would fire the cook.

    • Jeff

      Skepticism is always warranted. But really, McDonald’s? You’re hilarious. This was a meta-analysis of 76 other studies, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Funding came from: British Heart Foundation, Medical Research Council, Cambridge National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre, and Gates Cambridge.

      Link to abstract: http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1846638

  • FrankensteinDragon

    KBOO, KPFA, ALTERNET, TRUTHOUT, MOTHERJONES, THE NATION….

  • Rodney Strulo

    Scientific recommendations on nutrition assume that the same diet will be beneficial for everyone. Surely, as a Darwinian, it makes sense that if you are the descendent of nomadic shepherds, lamb fat would be just fine. If on the other hand your ancestors were English peasants who killed a pig at Christmas salted and hung the haunches in the fireplace to smoke, perhaps a bacon and egg breakfast would be good for you.
    Individuals vary in what is healthy for them, and at different stages of their life. Your needs at 16 are not the same as at 60 .
    There is also an assumption that a tomato is a tomato, whether it comes from Safeway or your back yard.
    Following the latest craze people are going to buy Swanson’s Menu Italiano finishing with Butternut Cookies-now with added butter!
    My recommendation is that people learn to understand their own system, what gives them vitality and a comfortable night’s sleep.
    Rodney Strulo

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Just depends on the rates of evolution of our metabolic systems. Seems to be some differences, i.e. lactose tolerance, but still very poorly understood.

  • Charles Shapiro

    Aside from the details of the issue, I found the constant rephrasing of the same question annoying. Tom Ashbrook kept asking basically the same question trying to get the interviewees to say eating saturated fat was good or bad. The interviewees were very patient and stuck to the message that the use of animal fat needs to be in context of a whole diet, and this was not carte blanche to eat anything, anytime. If I was being interviewed I would have said, “Have you not been listening to us?” If Mr. Ashbrook was paying attention he would have asked, “How much fat is acceptable, and what would be the split between saturated and unsaturated fat?” Besides being boring and annoying, Mr. Ashbrook did us all a disservice by not going deeper into the issue.

    • doggirl

      So glad to read THIS comment–Mr Shapiro is “on point!”

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Are you a scientist? Their findings are based largely on correlation studies, not double blind controlled studies looking at an isolated variable. There are so many uncontrolled variable in these approaches, that we find red herrings all the time. Such studies may be useful for suggesting FUTURE controlled studies, but such studies with large numbers, and long observation periods and controlled conditions on REAL PEOPLE are very expensive and rare.

    They speak with an assured tone, based on their theories. That is not good enough when dealing with something so consequential as the whole nations health.

    Smoking and drinking are much easier studied.

    Its the carbs and sugars, insulin resistance etc, causing inflammation and blood vessel damage, to which cholesterol is recruited to try and repair, and while it does, has an unfortunate “scab”like side effect of plaque buildup.

    Stop the initial damage, not the natural healing attempt.

  • Tanya S.

    Mark Bitman did a great disservice to public health by the headline he published. I am a Registered Dietitian and I will have to be “clarifying” what he “meant to say” for months to come. Journalists and the New York Times should have their headlines and nutrition-related content reviewed by a public health nutrition expert before publishing such headlines which are looking for shock value and not taking into account their role in confusing the public further.

    • Alchemical Reaction

      LOL. Sorry, but your comment is hilarious. It’s like a Yoga teacher complaining that modern Yoga classes consist of aerobics, calisthenics, and an alternative to the bar scene, with meditation and pranayama omitted entirely.

      The only people who care are the ones who know already.

    • Alchemical Reaction

      You are advocating censorship? What about when the public health experts are wrong?

      • Tanya S.

        I’m not advocating censorship. I’m advocating responsible journalism. I’m sure if Mark Bittman had consulted with David Katz about the headline of his article, Dr. Katz would have encouraged a different title. No one knows everything but Dr. Katz certainly knows more than Mark Bittman about the current research in public health nutrition. I guess I’m just saying that journalists should consult with experts in the field. Mark Bittman can write about food and food preparation but he is not a registered dietitian and he should consult with nutrition experts when he talks about nutrition in his column. I actually like Mark Bittman but this time he went too far towards the sensational.

        • Alchemical Reaction

          So, media consumers have no responsibility for what they consume?

  • LizinOregon

    I am disappointed that Tom didn’t ask the doctor why, when he had just spent many minutes explaining the lack of evidence to support any harm from eating saturated fats, he would then state that red meat is still harmful. Now that the fat hypothesis is finally being debunked, the red meat fear-mongers should at least be asked to come up with a new hypothesis.

    • kingtuc

      I’m confused. Is it your understanding that red meat is discouraged for dietary reasons because of it’s fat content? If so I would encourage you to dig a little deeper into the reasons people (doctors, nutritionist, etc) encourage patients to consume little to no red meat. It’s more complicated than just saturated fats and fats as a sole cause.

  • crtum

    Someone Tom some butter!!!

  • Regular_Listener

    Is there anything new being reported by this recent study? I am not sure there is. Haven’t people known for a while that your body can handle things like butter or fat in modest amounts? And it is also not exactly earth-shaking to hear that it is not a good idea to substitute lots of refined carbs (french fries, pasta, white bread, rice) for meat. Of course, a healthy body can handle some of that too. I agree with the nutitrionist (and with Mr. Bittman) who were pointing out that studies like this do not equal carte blanche to eat large quantities of meat and fat.

    What jumped out at me was the claim that carbohydrate consumption causes/leads to heart disease. Does it do so by making people gain weight? I don’t feel this was adequately examined.

    • Jeff

      Excess carbohydrate consumption leads to inflammation. And, separately, researchers are starting to think that the way statins “work” (to the extent they do) is not by lowering cholesterol but by reducing inflammation. This is possibly an area to keep an eye on.

  • Adam

    they’re both good for you. Olive oil should only be consumed raw, cooking with it is not a good idea as it tends to go rancid under heat.

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