Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rethinking Saturated Fat

It's not time to go and fix yourself a lard sandwich but it looks as if there is more to saturated fat than 'meats the thigh'. Here's the latest on saturated fat:
For the current study, researchers led by Dr. Ronald M. Krauss, of the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Center in California, pooled data from 21 studies that included a total of nearly 348,000 adults.
Participants, who were generally healthy to start, were surveyed about their diet habits and then followed for anywhere from five to 23 years. Over that time, 11,000 developed heart disease or suffered a stroke. Overall, Krauss and his colleagues found, there was no difference in the risks of heart disease and stroke between people with the lowest and highest intakes of saturated fat.
If you read the article you will note that not focusing on a single nutrient is the key to a responsible diet. Regardless of this study, other studies have shown that saturated fat increases LDL or the 'bad' cholesterol and that doesn't change. I don't think there is any argument that diets that are well rounded with a focus on fruit and vegetables with less animal fat are just better for you. Humans are omnivores and have been for millions of years but if you think about it there was a good chance that meat in the diet was probably a somewhat rare treat and most of their diet was plant based. It is much easier to 'catch' a berry bush than a woolly mammoth after all. While animal fat might not be the poison it has been made out to be it is still something that should be a smaller part of your diet. While nutrition and a healthy diet are probably the most important considerations we should also consider the environmental impacts of a population raising and consuming large amounts of animal meat. Meat is the least efficient way to convert sunlight into food there is and that alone should tell us that it shouldn't play a large part of our daily food intake. It's just not an efficient use of our natural resources and we won't even talk about the waste generated by raising large quantities of pigs, cows, and chickens to satisfy our protein needs.

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