We’ve been criticizing the government’s advice on saturated fat for years. Historically the claim has been an alleged link to heart disease. However, more recent evidence shows that saturated fat is not, in fact, linked to heart disease. Rather saturated fat has been proven to have a number of health benefits, including improved cardiovascular risk factors and liver health, stronger bones, healthy lungs and brain, proper nerve signaling, and a strong immune system. Some saturated fats, such as coconut oil, are considered superfoods.
As noted by ANH Board Member Ronald Hoffman, MD:
Observational studies of large populations that “prove” risks associated with high intakes of saturated fats are tainted by the likelihood that big consumers of meat, dairy, eggs and tropical oils might be eschewing healthier foods like fruits, vegetables and unprocessed and fiber-rich starches. They might also consume more sugar and junk food. Perhaps they exercise less. This makes it look like saturated fats are the problem, when it’s really overall diet quality, and/or healthy lifestyle habits that account for the variance.
While we’re on the topic, the government is also wrong about the need to limit cholesterol because we now know that eating foods that are rich in cholesterol doesn’t increase your cholesterol levels. In fact, eating a diet high in carbohydrates is the primary factor for high cholesterol levels.
We also have to look at why the government is so wrong about nutrition, because it isn’t simply ignorance. The development of dietary guidelines is a crony feast, with Big Food companies spending millions to lobby Congress to influence the guidelines in their favor. This has been going on for years. In 1991, the USDA halted publication of its Food Pyramid due to pushback from the meat and dairy lobbying groups that objected to how their products were displayed in the pyramid. The Food Pyramid was released a year later after industry concerns were appeased. In the most recent iteration of the guidelines, recommendations to lower added sugar and alcohol consumption contained in a scientific advisory report were not carried forward into the final guidelines after heavy lobbying from those industries. When public health runs up against industry interests, too often Big Food wins.
Even if the new definition corrects some obvious blunders, the record clearly indicates that the government is in no place to tell us what is and isn’t “healthy.”
If you’re looking for real nutrition advice, you can reference
ANH-International’s Food4Health Plate.
Post a comment to the FDA’s official docket explaining the problems with their proposed definition of “healthy.”
Please send your message immediately.