Speed Reads

Mmm, bacon

It's fine to eat saturated fat

It's been drilled into everyone's head for the last generation: eat less fat. Saturated fat in particular, according to conventional wisdom, is supposed to clog your arteries and blow up your cholesterol.

Only one problem: it doesn't. In the new issue of the Washington Monthly, Kukula Glastris reviews a new book closely examining the case against saturated fat. Here's the upshot:

A meta-analysis of twenty-one other studies, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010, found "no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease." [Washington Monthly]

It turns out there was basically an anti-fat conspiracy responsible for skewing popular dietary guidelines. But I think the enormous mass appeal of fat phobia can be also be chalked up to an unconscious assumption that fat in foods is sort of the same thing as body fat. But this is not the case. The body has complex chemical machinery which can unzip fats into fuel for the body (glucose or ATP) — and do the opposite. Excess food can always be packed away as adipose tissue, whether it's fat, carbs, or protein.