Colette's Blog

The Healthy Fat Debate Continues…

November 3, 2016

In a recent article by Jane Brody in The New York Times called “Should We Be Scared of Butter?”, the author discusses whether butter, and other saturated fats, should be recommended as part of a balanced diet, when in the past they were associated with heart disease, obesity and more. But instead of coming up with a clear-cut verdict on butter, the author dances around the issue about how maybe fat may be OK. She even asked the right question but gave the wrong answer: “So what should we do? Cut back on carbs and go back to eating lots of high-fat meats and dairy products? Not if you value your health.” 

Why does cutting back on carbs always equate in the perception of only eating meat and dairy? Because that is the only way they can rationalize not recommending low carb. Once again the author fails to understand exactly what a low-carb diet is and the role of saturated fats. Butter is perfectly OK, within the context of a low-carb diet, as is meat and cheese. First, you must understand what low-carb means these days: it means you’re still eating carbs—they just come from fiber-rich vegetables, some fruits and whole grains in moderation. You’re also eating poultry, seafood, red meat and dairy, while eliminating packaged and processed foods and sugar. As far as healthy fats? Atkins recommends consuming up to three tablespoons of healthy fats a day (this includes everything from olive oil or no-sugar salad dressing to butter), which is hardly a fat “free-for-all”. What’s so awful about that? Drizzling your serving of vegetables with some butter is far better than dipping your vegetables in a “low-fat” salad dressing containing up to 7 grams of sugar per serving. 

Meanwhile in an recent article by Des Bieler in The Washington Post, Dr. Mark Hyman, director of the Cleveland Clinic and the author of the upcoming Eat Fat, Get Thin Cookbook supports the premise behind low-carb diets like Atkins and the consumption of healthy fats (including butter), while reducing sugar and carbs. In fact, he says healthy fats “shut down cravings, speed up metabolism” and “help prevent and reverse heart disease, not cause it.” The idea that the calories in fat were worse for you than those in sugar or processed carbohydrates that led to the low-fat diet craze, and an increase in obesity and obesity-related diseases such as diabetes. 

Jane Brody, the author of The New York Times articles suggests that what we must do now is “…appreciate the effects that different nutrients have on the body and adopt a rational and enjoyable diet that takes both health benefits and risks into account.” Well, that’s what Atkins does…

 

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