“To eat, or not to eat?” For many people these days, that really is the question.
For the past four decades, we’ve been told to stay away from red meat, dairy and cheese — foods high in saturated fats — because saturated fat is bad for the heart.
But investigative reporter Nina Teicholz says that isn’t the case.
“When the dietary recommendations came out in 1961 saying that saturated fat causes heart disease, that was based on total cholesterol,” Teicholz said. “But our understanding of heart disease has evolved enormously.”
She said the science condemning saturated fats just isn’t there. In her new book, “The Big Fat Surprise,” Teicholz writes that the low-fat, fruit- and vegetable-filled diet that you thought was healthy doesn’t have all the benefits it claims.
Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, cautions readers to take her findings with a grain of — well, not salt.
Your risk for heart disease depends on HDL and LDL cholesterol: good and bad cholesterol. And scientists know, he said, that saturated fat raises unhealthy LDL levels in the blood.
Willet said the science is there to show saturated fats are not healthy. Sure, if you compare saturated fats to everything else in a person’s diet, they may not look very damaging, especially compared to say, sugar.
But the idea that saturated fats are not all that bad is “only sort of a half a truth,” Willet said.
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