Let’s Get Real about Saturated Fat

This saturated fat debate is now escalating to a point that public health is threatened. While I work with clients to include the foods they love, let’s be clear on the facts: If you want to reduce your risk of heart disease, choosing more unsaturated fats than saturated or trans fats is important.

That doesn’t make saturated fat the boogeyman. Notice, I didn’t say choose more sugar or honey or agave over saturated fat. I didn’t say eliminate meat or milk. Fruits matter. Vegetables matter. Food preparation matters. How much and how we eat matters. Physical activity matters. Although these are topics for another day, I want to be clear that I’m not villanizing saturated fat. But it isn’t a hero either!

Are we just looking for justification to eat what we want? Or do we want to know what research has really shown will support health and wellness? Do we want to pretend that scientists are conspiring against our health, and that any evidence that doesn’t support our beliefs is wrong? Or do we want to consciously decide when our food decisions will be based on science and health versus taste and culture and enjoyment? Science does not always have all of the answers. Our understanding expands and deepens over time. But if we take the whole picture over time, and insist on high-quality scientific methods, we see consistency and facts emerge.

Taste and culture and enjoyment are wonderful reasons to eat a food or eat in a particular way over time. Scientific evidence, uncovered through rigorous scientific methods over time, taking into account individual differences in needs and preferences, is the best guide to eating for health.

So eat for your health or eat just for the fun of it. But don’t get duped by the celebrity of the day into thinking that decades of research is wrong, unless they have equally strong scientific research to prove it.

 

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