It's a happy day for full-fat yogurt, butter, bacon, and the rest of the high-fat (and extra-delicious) food we enjoy. Recently, the fat/cholesterol/heart attack question has come to a full boil. Conventional wisdom has held that food high in saturated fats are bad for your heart and your health. But many leading experts are wondering whether this is the complete story.
This idea was so influential, an entire generation grew up fearing whole milk and the like. And, the food industry's response? Product upon product with zero fat (but often tons of sugar) meant to appeal to all the fat-phobes among us. But, despite moving away from eating saturated fat and attempting to lower cholesterol, people haven't gotten healthier.
British cardiologist Aseem Malhotra has published an epic takedown of the cholesterol/saturated-fats question in the British Medical Journal, writing, "It is time to bust the myth of the role of saturated fat in heart disease and wind back the harms of dietary advice that has contributed to obesity." What are the more likely culprits in heart disease, then? Empty carbs and sugar.
The Los Angeles Times spoke with noted U.C. San Francisco pediatric endocrinologist Robert Lustig on the issue. When asked what would be best to avoid — saturated fat or sugar — if one were trying to minimize the risk of heart disease, he confirmed Malhotra's opinion: "The American Heart Association has weighed in — the sugar many times over."