Commentary: Finally, some common sense on saturated fat

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My personal victory in losing 22 pounds over the last four months was based on determination and common-sense eating habits.

Whenever I came across a weight-loss article online, I would check it out. Most of them did seem to make sense, but others left me scratching my head. According to one, jogging is not good for losing weight because it supposedly reduces muscle mass, and with less muscle the body has a harder time burning fat.

I kept on jogging anyway.

The amount of fat in milk is another area where common sense is needed.

Every now and then, my wife chides me for drinking 2 percent reduced-fat milk rather than skim milk because of its higher fat content. I find 2 percent to be a nice compromise between whole milk and skim. I really don’t have anything against whole milk. I grew up drinking whole milk as a kid and was thin as a rail because I got plenty of exercise.

Another misconception has to do with saturated fat.

It started in 1953 when a researcher named Ancel Keys identified saturated fat as a major health concern. Apparently, there was debate in the scientific community over the validity of Keys’ research, but the “fat-cholesterol” hypothesis took hold anyway. It became conventional wisdom that eating saturated fat produces high blood cholesterol, which in turn causes heart disease.   

Sixty years later, emerging research indicates that saturated fat may not be so bad after all.

Check out this article on the Today’s Dietitian web site that refers to saturated fat in dairy products. According to the author, a registered dietitian, dairy fat isn't harmful to heart health and may, in fact, be beneficial. 

Last week, an article appeared in The Los Angeles Times entitled “Time to end the war against saturated fat?” The article cited research from British cardiologist Aseem Malhotra in which Malhotra lays the blame on empty carbs and added sugar rather than saturated fat. Read more.

Makes sense to me.

Once I purged myself of the sugar, the weight started to fall off. I feel so much better, and common sense is now causing me to read food labels for sugar, not fat.

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PA  |  October, 29, 2013 at 09:05 AM

Now that we've got that settled, let's work on getting an enjoyable product (ie whole chocolate milk rather than chocolate water) back in our kid's schools. We need milk drinkers to rescue our floundering fluid milk sales and something that actually tastes good in addition to being nutritious is a good place to start. Might be too late to save the lost generation of kids that were forced to drink skim, but we can reach the next generation.

Sarasota, FL  |  October, 29, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Amen. What the government determines to be healthy tastes terrible, so the kids don't drink it. When good tasting flavored milk was added at schools consumption increased drastically. I suggest parents go eat lunch with there kids at school & taste the flavored "milk"(reduced fat & artificial sweetners).

Wisconsin  |  December, 06, 2013 at 09:28 PM

As the saying goes, science moves forward one funeral at a time. Ancel Keys died in 2004. If you want to read the whole story about his biased and deceptive research read "The cholesterol Myths" by Uffe Ravnskov MD PhD. I just looked it up and it is out of print, but he has a new book called "Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You" Interestingly he is from Europe. Also I thought Tom would like to relate this old farmer story to his wife: when trying to fatten pigs as fast as possible on the farm the wise farmer fed skim milk because the lack of fat caused the pigs to continue to eat. Fats in the diet trigger a signal to the brain of a a sense of fullness and satiety. Skim milk works the same for humans, no feeling of satiety, so we are still hungry.

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