Friday, November 04, 2005

Chewing the Fat

This entry is just an exercise in reviewing the sheer madness found in our dietary recommendations about consuming fat. I haven't seen anyone else challenge this, so I thought I'd put it out there for my readers to chew on...

A funy thing happens when you review the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans...the more calories you eat, the more saturated fat you can consume as part of that, ahem, "healthy" diet. But, don't dare to even think of including the same level of total or saturated fat when you diet to lose weight and decrease your calories! No, no, no - if you decrease calories, suddenly that level of total and saturated fat you're already eating, that is well within the 30% limit at a higher calorie load, is now deadly!

That's because the dietary guidelines depend on ratios (percentage) of calories from the various macronutients (carbs, proteins, fats) rather than the actual nutrient-density of any given food.

So while at a 2800-calorie per day intake it is perfectly acceptable to eat 93g of total fat with 31g of saturated fat, it is completely unacceptable if you reduce calories to 1600-per-day, where you are now expected to limit your total fat to just 53g and saturated fat to just 18g or less. This ridiculous recommendation is clear in Chapter 6: Fat, of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

So, where is the evidence to support the notion that eating 31g of saturated fat in a 2800-calorie diet is okay, but eating 31g of saturated fat at 1600-calories is unhealthy?

Oh, that's right, there is NONE. Yet we accept the fallacy that we have to reduce total and saturated fat intake when we reduce calorie intake to lose weight.

Hey, I'm all for eliminating the man-made trans-fats from your diet, and if you're eating an excessive amount of fats/oils, reduce them. But the sad reality is that many people who need to lose weight are eating too much junk food - foods that are highly processed and loaded with added sugars. If you eliminate those junk foods along with sugar-added beverages and maintain a healthy level of fats and proteins, guess what? It's called controlled-carb and such an approach makes a lot more sense than reducing protein, which happens when you reduce fat, which means less essential fatty acids and less essential amino acids.

Shhh....don't tell anyone I told you!

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