Thursday, 12 January 2017

Another Urban Myth

Eating All That God Has Given

For most of the period following World War II, the West--or at least the US, Australia, NZ--has been told that eating fat is a gross dietary sin, insofar as it makes the one who ingests obese.  Consequently we have been hectored without end to avoid fatty food.

The largest exporting dairy company in the world--Fonterra--recently sponsored a piece in the NZ Herald debunking this particular urban myth.
Myths are difficult to debunk - look how long the old saw that people must drink eight glasses of water a day to avoid dehydration has been around. Here's another one: fat makes you fat.  The eight-glasses-a-day mantra is still a thing. So are fears that fat will make you, well, fat - and will play havoc with your heart, weight and make it more likely you'll develop conditions like diabetes.

Now many scientists are beginning to re-draw the boundaries of nutritional knowledge, shifting away from the old thinking that saturated fats (as found in dairy) should be avoided and that the rush to 'low-fat everything' may have been misguided. In fact, in some instances, what we replaced saturated fats with may have been worse.
As is so often the case, the "advice" of the health police turns out to be bad actors.
 What they insistently recommend as appropriate replacements often end up causing far more problems.  It has got to the stage that if one pays close attention to the the wowsers and the health police so as to do the complete opposite, it is likely that one would be far better off.
In a study published in the American Journal of Nutrition, the effects of full fat and low fat dairy on obesity in older women was studied. It found that those who ate more high-fat dairy had an 8 per cent lower chance of going on to become obese over time compared to those who ate less. No association was observed with low fat dairy product intake.  A separate-analysis of over 3000 people over 15 years found those who consumed more dairy fat had a 46 per cent lower risk of developing diabetes compared to those with lower intakes.
If eating fat does not produce fat in the human body, what does?  Well, the body converts carbohydrates into sugar, which then converts to body fat.
According to Time Magazine, the body of data is beginning to reveal both that full-fat dairy has a place in a healthy diet, and also how focusing on one nutrient in the diet may backfire.  When dietary guidelines began urging people to lower the amount of fat they ate, the idea was to reduce the amount of cholesterol and unhealthy fats in the body. But by focusing just on cutting out fat, experts didn't count on the fact that people would compensate for the missing fat and start loading up on carbohydrates, which the body converts into sugar-and then body fat.

Mindy Wigzell, a health and nutrition lead for Fonterra (and a qualified nutritionist), says . . . "here's what we know - there's a lot of misinformation out there about the effects of dairy and the role it and fat can play in a healthy lifestyle. Moderate consumption of dairy products does not increase your risk of heart disease, despite their saturated fat content.  Fat in itself isn't associated with weight gain - unless we eat too much, the same as with any food. So we advise eating nutritious foods - but not too much - and to be active regularly. It doesn't mean people should go mad with fat but they shouldn't fear it either.  What we are now seeing is scientific opinion shifting to the fact moderate amounts of milk, cheese and yoghurt are associated with better weight management, even helping with weight loss by helping to maintain muscle mass while losing body fat."
The upshot?  Eat a wide variety of foods, and moderate your intake.  Food is one of the great blessings of life.  It has been given to us by God.  Superannuate the food policing industry, with its collage of bureaucrats, wowsers, diet gurus, worry worts, and perpetual nannies.  Enjoy responsibly the gifts God has given.

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