Tuesday, February 3, 2015


The world is full of dieting advice, and it's hard to know which is right. Low-fat or low-carb? Paleo or vegan? Sinatra or Atkins?

Nope, not that one

Logically, advice based on solid scientific research should get the most credence. However, when the curtain is lifted on the funding of that research, or the motives behind the research, some ugly truths can be revealed.

Take the long standing idea that eating less fat is supposed to be the silver bullet to loosing weight. That's a no brainer, right? Eat less fat, BE less fat! Yet a recent revisiting of how that ball got rolling revealed that not only is that truism less than true, it may be dangerously false (read the entire article here).
Cutting back on saturated fat has had especially harmful consequences for women, who, due to hormonal differences, contract heart disease later in life and in a way that is distinct from men. If anything, high total cholesterol levels in women over 50 were found early on to be associated with longer life. This counterintuitive result was first discovered by the famous Framingham study on heart-disease risk factors in 1971 and has since been confirmed by other research.
That's just one example; be sure to read the entire article for more surprising and unsettling facts. This article from Business Insider also covers much of the same "fat not bad, lies were told" ground, but still worth a read.

Sweden Weighs In

Really running with the idea that a low-fat diet is flawed and possibly dangerous, a recent Swedish study suggests that it's not just okay to eat certain highly saturated fats, but positively heathy:
Butter, olive oil, heavy cream, and bacon are not harmful foods. Quite the opposite. Fat is the best thing for those who want to lose weight. And there are no connections between a high fat intake and cardiovascular disease.
Hm! Gotta believe those Swedes, right? All that cool furniture, those great fish snacks, those excellent meatballs, ABBA...but bacon? Seriously--bacon?

Okay, I had to know what that was about. So I went over to thelocal.com, a Swedish daily in English, and got the skinny on the fat:
Many of the studies to which Dahlqvist, and fellow LCHF advocates such as Andreas Eenfeldt, Ekot has found, are funded by food industry groups despite their insistence to the contrary ... Ekot's report indicates that among the financiers of some of the studies referred to by the pair include the US-based National Cattlemen's Association, dairy firm Swissmilk and other organisations linked to the now deceased Robert Atkins, who gave his name to a similar popular diet.
All right, so even Swedish dietitians can be a little shady. A researcher has to get their funding where they can find it, after all. But where does that leave us, the consumers? With all this confusing information from sources that should be reliable out there, how do we know who to believe?


In my view, to make sure you're not jumping aboard some fad diet bandwagon, first, use common sense, and second, ask yourself two questions:

1) Am I going to have to eat this way for the rest of my life to keep my weight under control?

If the answer is yes, and your diet has you eating nothing but Jello and sardines, you may be on a fad diet.

2) Did my grandparents ever eat this?

If your grandparents are in their '60's or younger, this question probably doesn't apply to you. Your grandparents ate the same highly processed, sugar- and chemical-filled crap you grew up eating. For you older folks, your grandparents prepared and ate food that was grown without chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, shot full of hormones and genetically modified. Try to eat more like them. And take big sweeping claims about weight loss and health with a grain of salt.

ABBA displaying amazing Swedish ice cream eating powers

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