We have had almost 60 years of government and scientific advice about what we should be eating. 60 years of being told to reduce fat, especially saturated fat, and replace it with more healthy vegetable (polyunsaturated) oil. 60 years of being told to reduce the amount of red meat we eat and replace it with chicken or fish for fear of the dreaded saturated fat. 60 years of being told to eat more fruit – five a day… Or was it seven a day? Or back down to 5?
What has happened over those 60 years? Well there has definitely been an effect. We have got fatter and fatter and fatter until we are now so overweight that we may be seeing children born that will be buried by their own parents. How did we get here?
I have just finished Nina Teicholz’s The Big Fat Surprise a book that sets out to explain how the official dietary advice was developed and by who, what the evidence for it was (or wasn’t) and why it has been so very wrong.
Starting with Ancel Keys and his heart-diet hypothesis she works through the twists and turns of nutrition research and advice from the 1950s to the modern day. She references everything and has interviewed as many people as she can. It is an excellent book by an award winning science journalist. I was particularly pleased she referenced TL Cleave (see an earlier post).
In her final chapter she explains how the last 60 years have been a huge experiment on the western world with disasterous results that we are now exporting to the developing nations with equally devastating consequences. How saturated fat is good for us and vegetable seed oils are far from good for us. TL Cleave said the same thing in the 1960s. She makes links to ancestral health and Weston A Price and the modern primal movement and finally, bravely and wonderfully, says Dr Atkins was probably right.
But I always knew that anyway.
Great book, well written. Thoroughly recommended.