America’s Phantom Experiment with Eating Low Fat

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You’ve heard it a dozen times.  Americans were all a twitter over low-fat, high-carbohydrate dieting and they just got fatter.  And then they finally woke up to the magic of Atkins, and now the cavemen, and realized that the true path to weight management lies in consuming animal fat uncontaminated by those pesky carbohydrates that make us fat.

And, oh, by the way, we have defined “low fat” in these press releases as eating somewhere between 35 and 45 percent of total  calories from fat, and “high carbohydrate” as eating somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of total calories from carbohydrates.

So let’s get this straight.  If we rely on science rather than fad-ism, an appropriate, healthful level of fat consumption (where “fat” does NOT include saturated fat) is between 10 and 20 percent of total calories.  So – how can “low fat” be between 35 and 45 percent?!

And — again relying on science — an appropriate, healthful level of carbohydrate consumption (where “carbohydrate” means complex carbohydrate, of course — NOT simple carbohydrate junk) is between 70 and 80 percent of total calories.  So how can “high carbohydrate” be between 30 and 40 percent of total calories?!  And, by the way, it really amounts to between 10 and 20 percent from complex carbohydrates, if we are using the SAD (standard American diet) as the baseline!

It’s no wonder people are confused.  In every dialogue about nutrition, we turn over defining terms to some Orwellian “Ministry of Definitions” where low means high and high means low!  And then we convince the country’s most prestigious medical journals to accept for publication studies that use these Orwellian terms.

And, bingo, we discover that “low-fat” eating (which is, of course, high-fat eating) delivers the same outcomes as “high-fat” eating (which is, of course, the same as low-fating eating!).  And we discover that “high-complex-carbohydrate” eating (which is, of course, minuscule-complex-carbohydrate eating), delivers the same outcomes as “low-complex-carbohydrate” eating (which is, of course, the same!).

High is low.  Low is high.  Good is bad.  Bad is good.