Recently my mother had a cardiac event that put her in the hospital a couple of times and has led her to pay more attention to her diet. Her hospital gave her typical heart-healthy advice–eat no salt, eat low fat, take this medicine. I gave her the advice that she should quit eating carbohydrates and start eating good healthy local meats and dairy. Of course, she is following her doctor’s advice.
This morning in the New York Times there is an Op-ED that is calling for different dietary guidelines, specifically in relation to dietary fat and carbohydrate recommendations.
Recent research has established the futility of focusing on low-fat foods. Confirming many other observations, large randomized trials in 2006 and 2013 showed that a low-fat diet had no significant benefits for heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer risks, while a high-fat, Mediterranean-style diet rich in nuts or extra-virgin olive oil — exceeding 40 percent of calories in total fat — significantly reduced cardiovascular disease, diabetes and long-term weight gain. Other studies have shown that high-fat diets are similar to, or better than, low-fat diets for short-term weight loss, and that types of foods, rather than fat content, relate to long-term weight gain.
I have many friends and colleagues that will not hear the advice that they should eat meat and fats instead of grains. When I tell people that what you eat is way more important to your weight and health than how much you eat I am met with blank stares. Nobody wants to argue about it, but everybody else says fat is bad for you, is the impression I get from them. I hear people saying that low-carb is an unsustainable way to live, but in fact, low-fat is a very new way to live. Low carb eating used to be the norm, before we started eating corn in one form or another in every bite or drink we took. People can’t fathom that it is possible to get every bit of nutrition that they need just from eating meats.
Do you want to improve your heart health? Eat food that you cook, instead of processed foods. Leave the boxes of processed food on the shelf and make your own. You will save money and get healthier food, all it will cost you is a little time, and not too much of that.
The limit on total fat is an outdated concept, an obstacle to sensible change that promotes harmful low-fat foods, undermines efforts to limit refined grains and added sugars, and discourages the food industry from developing products higher in healthy fats. Fortunately, the people behind the Dietary Guidelines understand that. Will the government, policy makers and the food industry take notice this time?
You don’t need to wait for the government act. You don’t need to wait for the food industry to act. A delicious healthful alternative to high-carb processed foods exists, in fact, lines the entire outside wall of your local grocery.