Bring the fat back
June 23, 2015 1:52 PM   Subscribe

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) report, submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, makes a historic change: for the first time since 1980, the report no longer recommends the restriction of dietary cholesterol nor of total dietary fat. An article published today in JAMA calls on HHS and USDA to heed the DGAC report. The article goes on to praise the report's new emphasis: reducing consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates, and increasing consumption of whole foods (even those high in fats).
posted by overeducated_alligator (124 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is great news for butter and bad news for all of my favorite butter delivery methods.
posted by phunniemee at 1:57 PM on June 23, 2015 [74 favorites]


From what I've read of the research, this seems sound, but for someone, like me, who lived through the "OMG eating fat and cholesterol is like drinking hydrochloric acid!" years, I can't help feel like I'm living through Woody Allen's Sleeper:
Dr. Melik: This morning for breakfast he requested something called "wheat germ, organic honey and tiger's milk."

Dr. Aragon: [chuckling] Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties.

Dr. Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or... hot fudge?

Dr. Aragon: Those were thought to be unhealthy... precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.

Dr. Melik: Incredible.
posted by yoink at 1:58 PM on June 23, 2015 [47 favorites]


This news definitely put the cream back in my coffee.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:58 PM on June 23, 2015


This news definitely put the cream back in my coffee.

It did not, however, do anything for the jam in my jelly roll.
posted by gauche at 2:08 PM on June 23, 2015 [16 favorites]


for the first time since 1980, the report no longer recommends the restriction of dietary cholesterol nor of total dietary fat.

Hooray! I'm going to celebrate by eating a whole mess of eggs and passive-aggressively forwarding this article to my mother-in-law.
posted by dialetheia at 2:08 PM on June 23, 2015 [34 favorites]


Oh good, now I'll eat 4000 calories of fat every day instead of 4000 calories of carbs. Health, here I come.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:09 PM on June 23, 2015 [13 favorites]


Eat food, mostly plants fats....
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:11 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


bacon for everyone! except bacon haters because i don't care about you.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:11 PM on June 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


Quite a repudiation for the plethora of fat-free products that replaced the fat content with, wait for it, more sugar. A whole lot more people seem to have problems with carbohydrate metabolism than fat. Time to go suck the marrow out of some bones...
posted by ackptui at 2:12 PM on June 23, 2015 [14 favorites]


hurf durf butter eaters, amirite?
posted by entropicamericana at 2:16 PM on June 23, 2015 [17 favorites]


Does anyone have access to the full article? The end of the preview page was talking about the "good health" reputations of some grain products, and I'd be curious to know where they went with that.
posted by teponaztli at 2:16 PM on June 23, 2015


Brings back warm memories from my youth of braised veal chops with a slice of kidney in the middle, with a big glob of yummy organ fat.
posted by ackptui at 2:17 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


So neither dietary cholestorol nor total dietary fat are considered "nutrients of concern". Maybe I missed it somewhere, but what are the nutrients of concern. I'm asking specifically for cardiovascular health, because I'm actually quite surprised cholestorol isn't a factor for heart disease. WebMD says it is. (Not that WebMD is an authority. Most doctors focus on cholesterol too, right? Mine does.)
posted by naju at 2:19 PM on June 23, 2015


WebMD... might be wrong about health information? This brings into question my self-diagnoses!
posted by Metafilter Username at 2:23 PM on June 23, 2015 [14 favorites]


It's clear that cholesterol plaque is a concern for heart disease, but just how you get from dietary fat to heart disease is a connection that is unclear.
posted by ackptui at 2:27 PM on June 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


but what are the nutrients of concern

Trans fats for one.
posted by gyc at 2:27 PM on June 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't think that they're saying that your cholesterol measurement is irrelevant. I think they're saying that neither cholesterol in a person's blood nor that person's heart attack risk seem to be determined by how much cholesterol that person eats. Here's the full sentence and the next one:
In the new DGAC report, one widely noticed revision was the elimination of dietary cholesterol as a “nutrient of concern.” This surprised the public, but is concordant with more recent scientific evidence reporting no appreciable relationship between dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol1 or clinical cardiovascular events in general populations.2
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:27 PM on June 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


Wait, 11 servings of grain soaked in partially hydrogenated oils combined with a frozen lean chicken rubber isn't that great for me? Stupid pyramid.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:29 PM on June 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


OK... so high cholesterol levels are linked to heart disease, but not dietary cholesterol. Sugars, refined carbs, trans fats are things to avoid, but not the cholesterol you eat.
posted by naju at 2:33 PM on June 23, 2015


But of course the lipid panel itself can be a kind of crap indicator for cardiac risk as well, so... yay!
posted by obfuscation at 2:35 PM on June 23, 2015


OK... so high cholesterol levels are linked to heart disease, but not dietary cholesterol. Sugars, refined carbs, trans fats are things to avoid, but not the cholesterol you eat.

Which sucks, since I have a sweet tooth and I bake a mean batch of mexican-chocolate-cherry brownies.

However I also have some weird vestibular disorder which is exacerbated by sugar, so I have had to cut back on my brownie/cookie/cake consumption anyway.

Back to cheese it is!
posted by suelac at 2:36 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


... the plethora of fat-free products that replaced the fat content with, wait for it, more sugar.

And salt, which reminds me of something that happened to me a few years ago...

I had just moved to a new city and was staying temporarily in a house with 6 other tenants, so kitchen access was limited and I wasn't able to make enough home-cooked food to take leftovers to work. On top of that my office was located in a semi-isolated office park and I didn't have a car.

There was at least a microwave in the office kitchen, so I lazily fell back on getting pre-made microwave meals that were billed as "healthy fare" or whatever (you know, the sort of upscale stuff that looked artsy, and had lots of white with green accents on the box). Like an idiot I believed the "health" claims, and didn't really think about it until two or three weeks after I started doing this, when I suddenly noticed one evening that my ankles looked unusually puffy. I was retaining water, for the first time in my life! I started paying more attention to the nutritional labels and found out I was getting WAY over the recommended daily amount of sodium in those damned things. It was seriously insane, and I kind of freaked out.

Lunch was much more about fruit and salads after that, until I moved into my own place and could start cooking proper food again.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:39 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am going to eat this whole jar of mayonnaise to celebrate!
posted by mittens at 2:44 PM on June 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm trying to eat fewer carbs, because I don't think my carb-heavy diet is making me feel very good, but it's really, really tough for me. The way I eat is basically to make some form of protein and stick it between two slices of bread or put it on a pile of rice or noodles. I am really trying to find substitutes for bread, white rice, or pasta, and it's a challenge. Turkey meatballs on a bed of lettuce just doesn't have the same oomph. I want the meatballs on rice and then lettuce in a salad on the side. And weirdly, low-carb blogs seem to be full of recipes but less full of discussions about how you put it all together as a meal.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:51 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Eat food, mostly plants fats....

Eat food, mostly plants and plant fats....
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:54 PM on June 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


bacon for everyone! except bacon haters because i don't care about you.

Yeah, not so fast. The DGAC recommends shifting the focus from total fat intake to adoption of a healthier food-based dietary pattern with more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seafood and beans; and fewer meats, sugars, and refined grains....
posted by zakur at 3:09 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I am really trying to find substitutes for bread, white rice, or pasta, and it's a challenge.

Have you tried cauliflower rice? So so tasty and easy.
posted by mittens at 3:09 PM on June 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Will bringing the fat back get rid of my back fat?
posted by emjaybee at 3:12 PM on June 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


I am really trying to find substitutes for bread, white rice, or pasta, and it's a challenge.

Bread? Good luck. I have not been able to find an adequate substitute. For white rice, try cauliflower rice. For pasta, I use julienned zucchini noodles (zoodles).
posted by zakur at 3:13 PM on June 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Try and keep the advice in context. If you eat carbs in moderation in the context of a well planned diet, it's not gonna kill you or even be unhealthy. Rice and wheat have been parts of the human diet since before agriculture. They are staples in countries with much better cardiovascular health than the US.

The stuff that is truly dangerous even in a well planned diet, like trans fats, is more likely the stuff we don't have as much experience with. I say that as someone who is very vehement about loving new developments like GMO and other food science. Rice is great, just maybe cut down the portion and add more protein or fat to the meal instead.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:16 PM on June 23, 2015 [12 favorites]


I am really trying to find substitutes for bread, white rice, or pasta, and it's a challenge.

Air is the way to go. It goes with everything. Be careful though. Gulping it down can cause you to burp or fart.
posted by srboisvert at 3:17 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I still like the "only eat foods your great grandmother would recognize" advice. My grandparents and their parents were skinny, QED.

Also, remember to to cook your rice or pasta the day before you eat it, so that some of the carbs turn into undigestable (and good for your pooper) roughage.
posted by Bee'sWing at 3:20 PM on June 23, 2015


But...what food hierarchy shape should I think about at the grocery store?
posted by oceanjesse at 3:20 PM on June 23, 2015


A lipid molecule shape.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:21 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I still like the "only eat foods your great grandmother would recognize" advice. My grandparents and their parents were skinny, QED.

My grandparents subsisted entirely on dumplings, kielbasa and cigarettes. I embrace their tradition wholeheartedly but alas, it will not make me skinny.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:23 PM on June 23, 2015 [49 favorites]


Ha! One of mine was a German butcher in Pennsylvania. I will now eat some Lebanon bologna and some liver sausage.
posted by Bee'sWing at 3:27 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


whole foods (even those high in fats)

So...ortolan bunting?
posted by darksasami at 3:28 PM on June 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


This isn't enough. There needs to be an investigation into why low-fat diets were promoted for decades, whether the recommendations could have been changed much earlier in light of evidence that emerged over that time period, and how something like this can be prevented from ever happening again. Otherwise, the public will continue to distrust health authorities (and the distrust will be used to sow uncertainty in areas like vaccination and climate change.)
posted by Ralston McTodd at 3:29 PM on June 23, 2015 [25 favorites]


There was at least a microwave in the office kitchen, so I lazily fell back on getting pre-made microwave meals that were billed as "healthy fare" or whatever (you know, the sort of upscale stuff that looked artsy, and had lots of white with green accents on the box). Like an idiot I believed the "health" claims, and didn't really think about it until two or three weeks after I started doing this, when I suddenly noticed one evening that my ankles looked unusually puffy. I was retaining water, for the first time in my life! I started paying more attention to the nutritional labels and found out I was getting WAY over the recommended daily amount of sodium in those damned things.

My wife and I had the Tapas menu at Next (which was not great frankly) and noticed when we got home that our shoes were awfully tight and when I hoped on the scale the next morning I was three pounds heavier. It isn't just ready-meals that are overflowing with salt. Your favourite restaurant is probably doing it too.
posted by srboisvert at 3:29 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I still like the "only eat foods your great grandmother would recognize" advice. My grandparents and their parents were skinny, QED.

My great-grandparents had tons of kids and were subsistence farmers who burned hundreds of calories acquiring their bland and little-seasoned food. Assuming the crops did come in/weren't burned up by drought or eaten by bugs. I'm sure I would lose weight on that diet, but I wouldn't have much fun.

Well, not till we got the still going, anyway.
posted by emjaybee at 3:30 PM on June 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


FTA:
Limiting total fat was also not recommended for obesity prevention; instead, the focus was placed on healthful food-based diet patterns that include more vegetables, fruits, legumes and dairy products and include less meats, sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, and refined grains.
Sorry bacivores: this is not a "get out of the negative health effects of eating giant piles of bacon free" card.
posted by BlueJae at 3:30 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I want the meatballs on rice

Brown rice! Brown rice is as good for you as white rice is bad.
posted by Fleebnork at 3:32 PM on June 23, 2015


I still like the "only eat foods your great grandmother would recognize" advice.

My grandmother was from the South and recognized pig's feet as food so I've never taken to that.

Lebanon bologna

Lebanon bologna and scrapple are the only things I see as drawbacks to being a vegetarian.

There needs to be an investigation into why low-fat diets were promoted for decades,

I'm actually interested if someone knows the detail on that. Was it the impact of trans fats being mistaken for the impact of all fats...or did trans fats come later?
posted by Drinky Die at 3:33 PM on June 23, 2015


I have not been able to deal with cauliflower, but the rice at least takes care of its horrifying brain-shape, so I may try that.
posted by emjaybee at 3:34 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Brown rice! Brown rice is as good for you as white rice is bad.

It has slightly more fiber. That's about it.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:34 PM on June 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Mmmm, roasted cauliflower is the best thing in the world. I do not care that it looks like a brain. I recommend that everyone make roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad immediately.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:36 PM on June 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


Saturated fat is still a "nutrient of concern" for cardiovascular risk in that report, just not cholesterol or total fat. Sad news given my bacon cheeseburger binge this past weekend, but still.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:45 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


It has slightly more fiber. That's about it.

And full of healthy natural arsenic!
posted by mittens at 3:45 PM on June 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Brown rice! Brown rice is as good for you as white rice is bad."

It has slightly more fiber. That's about it.

And somewhat more arsenic, depending on where it's grown.

(I still eat lovely, lovely brown rice, but I check labels and eat it less often.)
posted by maudlin at 3:47 PM on June 23, 2015


POISONOUS JINX
posted by mittens at 3:48 PM on June 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


LINKS CURE JINX
posted by maudlin at 3:55 PM on June 23, 2015 [15 favorites]


It's fascinating that we (seemingly) don't have the elementary facts about nutrition completely sorted out yet.
posted by thelonius at 3:56 PM on June 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


I still like the "only eat foods your great grandmother would recognize" advice. My grandparents and their parents were skinny, QED.

My grandmother and great-grandmother were thin because they would serve their husbands and sons first, then sit and stare at them, a dinner of resentment and anger. (My great-grandfather and grandfather were quite roly-poly.) I'm not married, so their diet doesn't work for me.
posted by betweenthebars at 3:58 PM on June 23, 2015 [30 favorites]


There was no conspiracy on the health advice against fat— it's just that nutrition is extremely complex and what the science is probably going to show ultimately is that different things are good and bad for different people. The reason it swings back and forth so much is because new complexities are discovered all the time. Overall, it's clearly the case that moderation is a good idea and variety is a good idea— but "evil foods" and "good foods" will probably turn out to be highly personal.

It's clearly the case that some people thrive on high carb diets and some on low carb and some it doesn't matter as long as they don't eat too much. But the "perfect diet" probably doesn't exist— while the "perfect diet for you" might.
posted by Maias at 3:59 PM on June 23, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'm one of those irritating people who suspects that we'll eventually discover that it's eating fat while rich that makes you healthy, and eating carbs while poor that makes you unhealthy.
posted by clawsoon at 4:01 PM on June 23, 2015 [24 favorites]


I still like the "only eat foods your great grandmother would recognize" advice. My grandparents and their parents were skinny, QED.

my skinny great-grandparents and their parents suffered from malnutrition and short life spans and backbreaking labor on latifundios so im just gonna eat this hoho and feel damn good about it.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:04 PM on June 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


it's wrapped in bacon
posted by poffin boffin at 4:05 PM on June 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


i might have 2
posted by poffin boffin at 4:05 PM on June 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


But of course the lipid panel itself can be a kind of crap indicator for cardiac risk as well, so... yay!

LDL and HDL levels are still major predictors of cardiovascular risk. They aren't the only factors, though. The Pulled Cohort Equations are probably the most popular method right now for estimating cardiovascular risk. It takes into account multiple risk factors, including cholesterol levels, though I believe age is assigned the most weight.

The 2013 ACC/AHA guidelines for dyslipidemia threw out LDL goals altogether (causing no small amount of controversy). Not because LDL levels aren't associated with cardiovascular risk, but because (the panel argues) there's insufficient data to justify treating by the numbers. Instead, patients are classified based on various risk factors, and treatment boils down to 1) high-intensity statin, 2) moderate-intensity statin, or 3) no statin.

This isn't enough. There needs to be an investigation into why low-fat diets were promoted for decades, whether the recommendations could have been changed much earlier in light of evidence that emerged over that time period, and how something like this can be prevented from ever happening again.

I can tell you why it happened: because this stuff is hard. Recommendations get made based on the best available evidence at the time, though certainly institutional inertia and politics also play a role. I get that it's frustrating, but ultimately it's a good thing when recommendations change because it means we're learning stuff.
posted by dephlogisticated at 4:05 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Science and the City podcasts in the "A Thought For Food" series:

My Dinner with My Dinner
Tiny Amounts
Fire in Your Belly
Fat Lot of Good
Sugar in the Morning
Rock Steady
How Do We Know What We Know?

The last four seem particularly relevant here, going into the history of how fat and salt were wrongly demonized, how sugar is now very controversial, and how nutrition is really really hard to figure out.
posted by polecat at 4:14 PM on June 23, 2015 [15 favorites]


Oh hey, they finally caught on to the fact that dietary cholesterol has virtually no effect on blood cholesterol compared to your body's ability to produce it due to causes like stress, and also that fats are necessary for various things (and that teams fats are a uniquely unhealthy beast all their own).

Hooray for progress! Down with '80s/'90s pop nutrition!
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:16 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is okay for me to swallow the rage I feel because of the last 20 years of inferior french fries?
posted by srboisvert at 4:29 PM on June 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


I still like the "only eat foods your great grandmother would recognize" advice.
That generation that had a life expectancy 20 years LESS than today? Hmmm-kay. Just sounds like a "semi-Paleo" approach to me.

After my Heart Failure a dozen years ago, my Cardiologist and GP both advised me to NOT count cholesterol; eggs are okay, but don't make them my ONLY protein food (as I was told not to make any ONE thing my only protein food). Back then, I assumed the Cholesterol Bugaboo had faded into the realm of Healthmyth. So I'm semi-surprised semi-disappointed the USDA/HHS have taken this long to get around to it. I'm sure some people (especially some who can profit from it) will make a thing out of some 'inconsistency' between this and the recently announced Future-Kinda Trans Fat Ban. (Don't trust those idiots in Government, trust Fred's Fine Fastfat Foods!)
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:32 PM on June 23, 2015


Is okay for me to swallow the rage I feel because of the last 20 years of inferior french fries?

You should make up for it by deep frying everything in duck fat.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:37 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


only eat foods your great grandmother would recognize

But she would recognize lutefisk as food and I have trust issues with that.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:57 PM on June 23, 2015 [16 favorites]


I feel like there's an interesting story to be written about the origin of the old guidelines and how well established the science was versus the need for a committee formed to deal deal with hunger and only later expanded to include nutritional quality to produce something definitive now rather than waiting for the decade-plus amount of time it would take to do more conclusive studies.

There was a meta-analysis study published earlier this year which got a fair amount of attention for concluding that the evidence available did not support the proposed guidelines but the author's business selling diet books makes me somewhat skeptical, although a subsequent editorial response concluded that The negative result of the meta-analysis is unsurprising. The most up-to-date review of cohort and RCT studies draws a similar conclusion that there is very limited evidence to support current guidance.

This Washington Post piece from 1977 debating the then-proposed guidelines includes an interesting quote:
Dr. Mark Hegsted, professor of nutrition at Harvard University and one of the three nutritionists who helped write the report, said: "There will undoubtedly be many people who will say we have not proven our point; we have not demonstrated that the dietary modifications we recommend will yield the dividends expected.

"The question to be asked therefore, is not why should we change our diet, but why not. "What are the risks associated with eating less meat, less fat, less saturated fat, less cholesterol, less sugar, less salt and more fruits, vegetables, unsaturated fat - and cereal products - especially whole-grain cereals? There are none that can be identified and important benefits can be expected."


That “but why not” line of reasoning is interesting given the mixed status of the recommendations in the next sentence. Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, etc. and less sugar is still widely accepted as good advice now but the remainder of the guidelines are problematic, particularly now that we have a better understanding of e.g. how fat interacts with satiation or how the food industry scrambled to produce alternate versions of familiar foods without key ingredients.

I'd like to think that we'd get better results now from having more experience with this class of research, etc. but I suspect the greatest benefit would come simply from having moved further away from the best and the brightest culturally so future technocratic moves like this would get a more critical reception.
posted by adamsc at 5:28 PM on June 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Burhanistan: "Wait, 11 servings of grain soaked in partially hydrogenated oils combined with a frozen lean chicken rubber isn't that great for me? Stupid pyramid."

If you're getting poultry prophylactics in your food I think you may have bigger problems than fats
posted by scrump at 5:29 PM on June 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


Oh hey, they finally caught on to the fact that dietary cholesterol has virtually no effect on blood cholesterol compared to your body's ability to produce it due to causes like stress, and also that fats are necessary for various things (and that teams fats are a uniquely unhealthy beast all their own). Hooray for progress! Down with '80s/'90s pop nutrition!

"The Cholesterol Myth" by T.J. Moore, The Atlantic, September 1989 (PDF)

Summary: Diet has hardly any effect on your cholesterol level; the drugs that can lower it often have serious or fatal side effects; and there is no evidence at all that lowering your cholesterol level will lengthen your life.

ONE MORNING IN EARLY OCTOBER OF 1987 THE U.S. health authorities announced that 25 percent of the adult population had a dangerous condition requiring medical treatment. Since there were no symptoms, it would be necessary to screen the entire population to identify those in danger. More than half of those screened would be dispatched to their physicians for medical tests and evaluation. Then for one out of four adults treatment would begin. The first step would be a strict diet under medical supervision. If within three months the dieting had not achieved specified results that could be verified by laboratory tests, a more severe diet would be imposed. The final step for many patients would be powerful drugs to be taken for the rest of their lives. ...

(I rekindled my love affair with eggs in October 1989. We are still very, very happy together.)
posted by maudlin at 5:36 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


My grands would literally scoop their hands into a bucket of lard or real butter to cook everything. Vegetables always had a hunk of fat back added. Fried, cooked to death with love and tasted amazing!! We still do that sometimes for holiday recipes and special occasions but balance out with salads and pho and definitely more international tastes... My little one loves sushi..... I would love to take my Southern great grandmother who passed away many years ago with us to our favorite sushi place.
posted by pearlybob at 5:55 PM on June 23, 2015


You should make up for it by deep frying everything in duck fat.


Roast duck. Yum yum!
posted by notreally at 5:55 PM on June 23, 2015


Summary: Diet has hardly any effect on your cholesterol level; the drugs that can lower it often have serious or fatal side effects; and there is no evidence at all that lowering your cholesterol level will lengthen your life.

I've been wondering if we'll find out something similar about Vitamin D in the next couple of decades. Vitamin D supplements are the Consensus Scientific Recommendation of the moment, but are those recommendations based on dietary intake studies or on levels found in the body? Will it be the same story as with cholesterol?
posted by clawsoon at 5:58 PM on June 23, 2015


The article from the New York Times that originally started me on a low carb path years ago: What if it's all been a big fat lie

High fat forever!
posted by Hazelsmrf at 5:59 PM on June 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


My grands would literally scoop their hands into a bucket of lard or real butter to cook everything.

SERIOUSLY most of our great-grandparents and further back likely spent a lot of time trying to find enough calories just to get by. I'm not interested in following that example.
posted by poffin boffin at 6:00 PM on June 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


With my family (YMMV) it wasn't a calorie thing. They just knew how to cook...
posted by pearlybob at 6:03 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


The thing is it's kind of difficult to overeat when you're restricting carbohydrates. Carbohydrates pack in real nice, I could eat an entire bag of chips but I can't eat more than 1 steak. I can tell myself my diet is unlimited in meat but really there's only a certain amount of protein/fat I can eat before I'm full, I would find it very hard to gain weight on an all meat diet. I would not *WANT* to eat an all meat diet, but using lard to fry eggs instead of Pam is not bad.
posted by Hazelsmrf at 6:08 PM on June 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


The Fat Head documentary is also good, though it can also be annoying. Still, the information is there!
posted by Hazelsmrf at 6:14 PM on June 23, 2015


Dammit, I'm sick of this obsession with all the sh|t we use to fuel our organisms. Fat. Carbs. Proteins. Vitamins. Yadda yadda yadda.

I wish we could just photosynthesize and be done with it.
posted by despues at 6:18 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't eat more than 1 steak

you just have to believe in yourself
posted by poffin boffin at 6:21 PM on June 23, 2015 [32 favorites]


Oh man, does this mean crossfitters are going to be even smugger than usual now?
posted by ctmf at 6:46 PM on June 23, 2015


I wish we could just photosynthesize and be done with it.

Have you read Old Man's War by MeFi's Own jscalzi?
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:31 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh man, does this mean crossfitters are going to be even smugger than usual now?

You will just have to go to pinterest and see.
posted by srboisvert at 7:36 PM on June 23, 2015


So, one of those Egg Council creeps got to the DGAC too huh?
posted by almostmanda at 8:32 PM on June 23, 2015


Belfast fry tomorrow!
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:48 PM on June 23, 2015


I absolutely love bacon. About a month ago I learned about a fringe biologist EUGENE M. MCCARTHY who theorizes on a chimpanzee pig hybrid combination in the human evolutionary tree. If true that makes bacon sort of cannibalistic which would be deeply disturbing. And when I say I absolutely love bacon I mean that it is one of my most favorite diet staples.
posted by bukvich at 8:58 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well of course there's nothing wrong with fats and cholesterol. The problem is this one...thin...mint.
posted by happyroach at 9:18 PM on June 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


You meant one sleeve of Thin Mints.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:25 PM on June 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh but sir, it is wafer thin!
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:26 PM on June 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


I love fat. It satiates. Unlike sugar and refined carbs, which are a bottomless pit of can't-stop-eating-even-though-I-didn't-want-to-start-in-the-first-place.
posted by mantecol at 10:34 PM on June 23, 2015


. I am really trying to find substitutes for bread, white rice, or pasta, and it's a challenge.

Spaghetti squash FTW!
posted by [insert clever name here] at 11:13 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


If true that makes bacon sort of cannibalistic which would be deeply disturbing.

The main thing that is disturbing about it is how little it would matter to me if it was true.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:27 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Saturated fat is still a "nutrient of concern" for cardiovascular risk in that report
Exactly. This seems to be missed everywhere. It's annoying when people are on the one hand all "see, eggs are okay, the government says so!" and then still all "ha, cheese is a health food, the government doesn't know anything about nutrition".
posted by blub at 11:35 PM on June 23, 2015


My folks have always said that lo-fat is a con. There is an economic incentive. Fat is valuable. If you can convince Americans to pay the same for skim milk and gelatinized yoghurt, and then sell the fat to the Japanese or Europeans, you've got a good hustle going.
posted by calmsea at 11:36 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


This isn't enough. There needs to be an investigation into why low-fat diets were promoted for decades--Ralston McTodd

One reason: the heart doctor Dean Ornish who published books with lots of convincing evidence for a very low fat diet, including his own studies improving the health of heart patients. (He is is still pushing the idea.)

Also, Nathan Pritikin pushed a very low fat diet that was very popular, supposedly based on research on primitive societies without heart disease.

That was the message that the medical industry as a whole embraced. Years of subsequent studies have begin to take a toll on this message.
posted by eye of newt at 12:51 AM on June 24, 2015


Ancel Keys is another one we have to thank for the low fat food pyramid.
posted by Hazelsmrf at 12:59 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Here are the Key Recommendations from the 2010 guidelines. Note that total fat is not mentioned as a key recommendation at all. It is not true that the dietary guidelines have emphasised a low fat diet for decades. In 1980 the only message was to avoid too much fat (as well as too much sugar and salt). In 2000 the guidelines recommended a diet that was "moderate" in total fat.
posted by blub at 1:46 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Polish grandparents I knew ate all the fat things, sour cream, kielbasa, pierogies, ham, but also had a huge vegetable garden and ate all that too, plus whole milk fresh from the cow, lots of eggs and the chickens they came from, and for my grandfather, cigars, vodka and beer. He lived to be almost 90, died of a heart attack in the hospital where he was sent for ulcers. He feared the hospital because "people go there to die" and he was right. He was always thin, but worked outside on his small farm all day. My grandma was always heavy and had many health problems including Alzheimers at the end.

My husband who recently lost 100 lbs has been insisting that low fat is bad, you just need to cut portions. He will be vindicated by this article. But he also runs at least 3 miles a day now. I have inherited my grandma's figure and the other grandma's tendency to high blood sugar, so it is harder for me, but I have lost some weight as well, work out at a gym with a trainer, but can't really run. I too have trouble cutting carbs, don't even like sweet stuff but bread and pasta are another issue.
posted by mermayd at 5:55 AM on June 24, 2015


I know eating lower carb tends to improve my blood sugar issues a lot, so regardless of what this said, that's the way I was going anyway.
posted by Foosnark at 6:15 AM on June 24, 2015


Yeah, low-carbing it has improved (lowered) my a1c score, and led to my diabetes medication being reduced, better than anything else.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:17 AM on June 24, 2015


Unfortunately though, increasing fat and cholesterol consumption will not help those trying to avoid coronary problems... though reducing processed carbs and sugars certainly will. Blood sugar levels are arguably a better metric for health than cholesterol.

Still, a lot of people will look at this simplistically and eat MOAR BACON... and that's the wrong message. They *should* eat more vegetables, and, when they do eat meat, make it grassfed, lean, and eat it sparingly, with more of that meat being nutritionally rich organ meat or oily fish.

I *LOVE* butter and olive oil... but whether you are talking nutrients or simply calories, it really has nothing to offer, other than taste and the potential for an early death.

Really, there is a reason why Bill and Hillary Clinton who have access to the best doctors and nutritionists, are trying to be as vegan and low-oil as possible... and that is because Dr. Esselstyn's once seriously ill heart patients with a history of failed stents and no results from cholesterol-lowering medicines are still alive, with some of them having clear evidence of reversing their heart disease.
posted by markkraft at 7:35 AM on June 24, 2015


I *LOVE* butter and olive oil... but whether you are talking nutrients or simply calories, it really has nothing to offer, other than taste and the potential for an early death.
Well, taste is a big thing for me. I think food should taste good. I think I should enjoy eating it. So if butter and olive oil improve the taste of food, that is not nothing.

As for whether they contribute to an early death when used in moderation, I'm not convinced.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:51 AM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh, how perfect. Just a few weeks ago I decided to try out a low carb high fat eating strategy (the word diet is a little too baggage-laden kthx). I'd done low carb before but it was always more in the South Beach vein and it was really hard to restrict carbs AND fat and be able to eat enough to feel full while staying under the calorie limit for the day. So I'd stick to it for a while and then fall off the plan and feel horrible about it, and then slowly I'd turn back into a slavering breadbeast that can put away an entire loaf of delicious Macrina Bakery bread in one day. Imagine my epic bloat.

Turns out that for me, low carb high fat is a way better option. I try to keep my daily ratio to about 70% fat, 25% protein, 5% carbs. Eating healthy fats keeps me so full that it's very hard to overeat, and not eating sugar or grains means not being triggered into binge eating an entire box of Cheez-Its and a pint of ice cream in one sitting. The benefits of eating this way have been pretty instantly apparent: I've dropped about 15 pounds in the past month and some inches off my waist and forearm measurements, old smaller clothing from a few years ago almost fits properly again, my hair/skin/nails look great... the best part is that my moods are more even-keeled. I've been going through a rough patch for the past few months and my depression and anxiety are no longer off the charts -- I still have stuff to deal with, but I have a certain level of detachment about my emotional state that wasn't there before. That was unexpected.
posted by palomar at 8:13 AM on June 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


If you can convince Americans to pay the same for skim milk and gelatinized yoghurt, and then sell the fat to the Japanese or Europeans, you've got a good hustle going.

I have this image in my mind of hordes of Japanese or Europeans waiting by the wharves for the Fat Fleet to come in, and cranes lifting great gelatinous blocks of slightly quivering fat stamped with a faintly iridescent US flag logo out from the hold to the cheers and huzzas of the populace. "The American fat has come! The American fat has come!"
posted by yoink at 9:58 AM on June 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


They *should* eat more vegetables, and, when they do eat meat, make it grassfed, lean, and eat it sparingly, with more of that meat being nutritionally rich organ meat or oily fish.

You should eat more vegetables because it provides a nice variety to your diet. You should eat more vegetables if they're replacing pasta or potatoes for you. You should eat more vegetables if it helps you avoid the side of rice. I don't believe that you should only eat lean meat and sparingly at that. I think you should eat a wide range of meats, and that they should be the base of your food pyramid. I eat the veggies on the side of my steak because I enjoy the variety, not because I think it'll make me healthier. I know several people who eat zero carb (meat only), some are athletes. They're in incredible shape. There is no need to only choose lean meats. There are lots of people on high fat diets that do incredibly well.
posted by Hazelsmrf at 10:41 AM on June 24, 2015


I eat veggies because I feel a lot better when I poop occasionally. The idea that veggies are some sort of optional garnish strikes me as very strange.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:47 AM on June 24, 2015 [9 favorites]


Halloween Jack: Have you read Old Man's War by MeFi's Own jscalzi?

Yes and loved it :) I want the cat eyes too, as well as my own BrainPal and that badass unitard!
posted by despues at 11:01 AM on June 24, 2015


I eat the veggies on the side of my steak because I enjoy the variety, not because I think it'll make me healthier.

This is taking "all protein is good" a bit far, I think. You don't think eating vegetables full of vitamins and minerals and fiber will make you healthier? Protein is good, but it does not replace vegetables. In fact, in the charred food thread, the research on grilled meats suggests that eating vegetables with charred meat does, in fact, make you healthier.

"Meat at the base of your food pyramid" also strikes me as one of the most ecologically impossible ideas I've ever heard.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 11:10 AM on June 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


What is it in vegetables that you believe you cannot get in meat? I mean there is plenty of vitamins in meat if you're eating organ meats too, I can't think of a single nutrient that you need that can only be found in vegetables.

As for the fiber, well, I don't believe that you need fiber to poop well at all.

I eat vegetables. I like vegetables. I would find an all meat diet extremely boring and hard to stick with. But I really do believe that meat contains everything you need to be healthy without adding anything else.
posted by Hazelsmrf at 11:44 AM on June 24, 2015


"Meat at the base of your food pyramid" also strikes me as one of the most ecologically impossible ideas I've ever heard.

I am not necessarily eating MORE meat than any other person. Take a regular meal like a chicken breast, broccoli, rice... or steak, potato, green beans. If I ate only meat I would eat only the chicken breast and the steak (with veggies), but I wouldn't replace the sides with MORE meat, I would just eat the meat. When I eat high fat, I do so because my fat level is comparatively high since I'm not eating carbohydrates, but I'm eating less calories than I normally do because I'm not replacing the carbohydrates, I'm just not eating them. Eating high fat plus intermittent fasting makes it very easy to eat less.
posted by Hazelsmrf at 11:58 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Olive oil is also a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet (where ~35-40% of calories can come from fat), and IIRC that's one of the best-supported dietary interventions, in that there's actually a big randomized controlled study (PREDIMED) comparing it to a low-fat diet, compared to which it appeared to be better at, e.g., reducing cardiovascular disease and the incidence of diabetes. Oils from nuts and fish seem to be even better for you, if you'd rather (I think n-3 oils by themselves seem to have anti-arrhythmic effects just by themselves, without changing the rest of one's diet, for instance), but I certainly am not aware of any evidence that olive oil would be incompatible with a healthy diet for most people.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:43 PM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am not necessarily eating MORE meat than any other person
On average Americans eat about 128 grams of meat a day. 128 grams of bacon is about 600 kcal, other meats are comparable. That's a crash diet, not something you can do for a long time.

I mean there is plenty of vitamins in meat if you're eating organ meats
You'd have to eat a ton of organ meats to get the RDA of vitamin C (90 mg for adult men, 125 if they're smokers). Like 200 grams of spleen or thymus. But that would only give you 200 calories and you would be deficient in b and other vitamins. So you would have to eat other meats too. But then you can no longer say that you don't eat more meat than any other person.
posted by blub at 2:40 PM on June 24, 2015


I think people are missing that a high fat low carb diet is also usually a MODERATE protein diet. Not a "jam all the protein you possibly can into your facehole" diet.
posted by palomar at 2:48 PM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Don't tell me that grassfed butter is not nutritious or that the monounsaturated fats in olive oil are pointless, unless you want me to write you off on all matters food
posted by aydeejones at 5:14 PM on June 24, 2015


Eating too much protein is bad for the kidneys and bones. We are omnivores and anyone advocating all meat in this day and age is ignoring past present and future. Jeebus
posted by aydeejones at 5:19 PM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nutrients do show up in meat of course along with an animal's lifetime of bioaccumulated heavy metals and fat soluble toxins like endocrine disruptors...guess what helps remove heavy metals from the body. T'aint meat
posted by aydeejones at 5:20 PM on June 24, 2015


I've been doing low carb since Feb. It's cut out most sugar and refined carbs, eat meat/protein and lots of veggies. I've been doing a plan with the rest of the family and according to the plan it's all watch the fats they aren't great too!! I knew about this fat thing so I just didn't bother watching them. I lost weight. Dad and Mom did do the low fat and they lost weight. Dad saw what I was doing and started not watching as well and nothing has changed, except he's happy to have some back.

My data point of 3 indicates that it's not the fats that mattered.

We've all lost between 25-30 pounds each and the change in Dad's health has been on the statistical side of awesome. He's now off his Type 2 Diabetes medication and after a check-up a couple of weeks ago his Doc says he's showing no indicators of diabetes at all. His blood sugar is just even now. The doc is now lowering his blood pressure medication as he's showing improvement there as well. His cholesteral numbers are lower and his doc figures that if they keep lowering then he'll look at taking him off that med.

My only regret is that I didn't figure out this way of eating sooner and like others was worrying about fats too much for years which for me made things worse overall.
posted by Jalliah at 5:25 PM on June 24, 2015


I do dramatically better when eating just meat and vegetables (along with moderate dairy) than I do when restricting fats and eating 6-12 servings of carbohydrates a day. As in, when I do the former, I sleep well and my anxiety is not a problem and my moods are even keeled and my blood sugar and blood pressure and blood lipids are all in normal range and I lose weight (albeit incredibly, INCREDIBLY slowly), and when I do the latter I'm an insomniac, pre-diabetic, hypertensive, hyperlipidemic nervous wreck who gains 30 pounds a year. It's night and day.

However, I am here to tell you that it is in fact possible to live perfectly well while eating virtually no vegetables. My eight year old daughter is restricted to no more than 1 to 2 half-cup servings of fruits, vegetables, and legumes a day, and that from an extremely limited list. She takes a standard children's multivitamin, she lives on ham sandwiches, chicken nuggets, cheesy noodles, and Lay's potato chips, and she's vigorously healthy. It boggles my mind, but the evidence is right here in my house with me.
posted by KathrynT at 5:55 PM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Does she take some sort of fiber supplement? Because I'm not joking about pooping. I get crazy constipated if I'm not eating enough fruits and vegetables.

I realized recently that my basic food problem is that I have internalized two basically-contradictory sets of advice: I think I should eat low-carb, and I also think I should eat mostly vegan. And I know that it's possible to eat low-carb and vegan, but it is a huge pain in the ass, and I don't have time in my life for food to be a pain in the ass. So basically, I'm feeling guilty all the time about food. I'm either feeling guilty about eating too much meat or I'm feeling guilty about eating too many carbs. I really have to figure out how to resolve this, because it's making me a little crazy about food, and I really try to avoid being crazy about food.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:19 PM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


guess what helps remove heavy metals from the body. T'aint meat

So an all hot dog diet would be great then? Lots of taint meat there.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:39 PM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think I should eat low-carb, and I also think I should eat mostly vegan.

Yup, I absolutely know this feeling. I've even thought about going back to meat, but I tried, and I just can't. Too many moral qualms, too gross, can't. But it's clear to me that my recurring fatness and all its attendant symptoms are linked to really high-carb habits. And I'm on a diet now (one of those modified fasting ones where you fast (or really just calorie-restrict) four days, and do whatever for three days), and the big question has been, what the hell to eat on those four important days? My vegetarian and vegan cookbooks just have not been much help here; they're all, "here's a great way to enjoy pancakes without bacon!"

Oddly, one thing that has been helping is a detox cookbook. It's kind of ironic since I am generally at odds with the notions behind it...but the recipes in it are so easy, full of healthy fat, no grains, and all very meat-optional. Lots of veggies, lots of quality time with the food processor, and so far all the stuff I've made has been tasty.
posted by mittens at 6:48 PM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't get constipated and I don't worry about fiber. I don't poop every day but I don't consider that constipation, I just don't have as much waste to get rid of.

It is possible to be healthy on an all meat diet (or really meat, eggs, fish etc). It does not mean it is the ideal diet. But you'd have to eat all the parts of the animal, not just the sirloin steak and pork chops parts. Mmmm brains. Some people just do better without carbohydrates. It does not mean they are the healthiest person on earth, it just means that the healthiest way THEY can eat is avoiding carbohydrates. I allow myself veggies and full fat dairy because I like variety and I am not that carb sensitive. Fruit wise I stick with berries as a sweet treat, not every day.
posted by Hazelsmrf at 7:33 PM on June 24, 2015


I think I should eat low-carb, and I also think I should eat mostly vegan.
You might like a vegan diet like that of Dr Fuhrman. It's not necessarily totally vegan but can be. The results are similar to what people say about low carb diets: improved mood, general health (including blood sugar) and weight. It's a restrictive diet (vegan, plus no sugar, salt, flour, oil, refined products) but not any more restrictive than a HFLC diet. It doesn't have to be super complicated, a normal day can be oats or a smoothie or chickpea pancakes for breakfast, salad and soup for lunch, salad, cooked vegetables and beans for dinner. A big benefit of this diet (and similar vegan diet plans) is that it can actually cure/really prevent diabetes, instead of just masking the symptoms of it by not eating carbs. I often see that after years of low carb people become carb-intolerant, and they suddenly cannot eat a banana anymore without their blood sugar skyrocketing.
posted by blub at 11:47 PM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


> guess what helps remove heavy metals from the body. T'aint meat

I'd rather just have the heavy metals than eat taint meat.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:21 AM on June 25, 2015


> I really do believe that meat contains everything you need to be healthy without adding anything else

On the other end of the spectrum, there are these fascinating discussions.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:22 AM on June 25, 2015


Does she take some sort of fiber supplement? Because I'm not joking about pooping. I get crazy constipated if I'm not eating enough fruits and vegetables.

No. Her unusual digestive condition means that fiber works exactly the opposite as you'd expect -- it's very irritating and constipating to her. When we eliminated all plant-based foods from her diet, she was able to poop on her own without laxatives for the first time in her life.
posted by KathrynT at 8:41 AM on June 25, 2015


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