Headlines and Saturated Fat

December 7, 2015
News Article
Headlines- that is all they are, and it’s best to keep reminding yourself of that. Headlines grab eyeballs and don’t necessarily have the actual answer to the full picture.
 
Some headlines I have seen over the last few years state that butter is back, and whole milk is fine. Here are some actual headlines I have enjoyed reading:
“Eat butter”, declared the Time magazine in June 2014.
“Butter, red meat not so bad for you after all?” a question asked by CBS News in February. 
“For decades, the government steered millions away from whole milk. Was that wrong?”- asked by the Washington Post in October.
 
So what are the answers to these questions? Should butter and whole milk be a part of your regular diet? 
 
“Eat Butter”- experts say that saturated fat is harmless. Expert panels disagree with that statement; butter should not be back. The recommendation still holds that saturated fat should be limited and that it is replaced with polyunsaturated fats. Saturated fat still needs to be limited to reduce the risk of heart disease. 
 
“Red meat is not so bad for you”. Again no surprise here, the answer is no. In late October, the International Agency for Research on Cancer announced that processed and red meat increases your risk of colorectal cancer. The science is here to back this up. Meaning the recommendation holds, and you should eat less processed and red meat.
 
“Whole milk is fine; it doesn’t raise cholesterol levels”. Some of the studies that back this statement up are funded by the Dairy industry, meaning there are ways to get the answer you want. For some 70 years now studies continue to show that saturated fat raises cholesterol and polyunsaturated fats lower it. The studies show that there is no justification to switch from low-fat to high-fat dairy. 
 
Now that we know the facts about saturated fat let’s go back to the basics. What to eat?
A diet rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, seafood, lean meats, legumes and nuts. Consume a moderate amount of low-fat and nonfat dairy, and healthy fats like olive oil. Consume a low amount in red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened foods and beverages and refined grains. 
 
My recommendation, watch out for headlines as they can be misleading and can cause you a lot of confusion. These recommendations are not new, so keep to the basics. 
 

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