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Monday, June 16, 2014

EAT BEEF FAT AND BETTER ENJOY LIFE


A little more than a week ago I posted on the difference between white fat and brown fat in your body.  In short, white is bad and brown is good.  Today I shockingly feature the kind of fat that you can now safely consume.

Of course, fats from fish and nuts have long been accepted as diet worthy.  There are many kinds of these fats:  saturated, mono saturated, polyunsaturated and trans fats.  This is complicated, but there are good trans fats (in beef) and bad trans fats (chemically produced in a factory when liquid fats are made solid, like sticks of margarine, which are terrible for your health--avoid these with a passion).

Well, here is a recent stunning finding by the medical profession:  IT IS NOW OKAY TO CONSUME BEEF FAT!!!  We all have grown up learning to avoid saturated fat found in meat, butter and cheese.  I knew this, and nevertheless kept eating all three, for I have only one life to live, and I eat what I like.  How sweet to learn that I've been doing it right all along.  However, like anything else, in proper moderation, of course.  

Well, anyway, now we are being told that, sorry, they made a mistake about fat.  Here's the story from the latest issue of TIME:
  • During World War II, a physiologist named Dr. Ancel Keys helped develop for the Army the K ration, a terrible bento that was imperishable.  
  • When President Dwight Eisenhower had a heart attack in 1955, the fear of heart disease exploded.
  • This same Dr. Keys, imperious, respected and dominant, provided an explanation:
    • high levels of cholesterol clog your arteries
    • this causes heart attacks
    • as fat raises low density lipoprotein (LDP, the bad cholesterol) in your blood, the obvious solution is to lower your consumption of fat
    • his international studies showed that people who ate a diet low in saturated fat had lower levels of heart disease
    • the American diet was terrible, too heavy in meat and dairy products, and thus, we had a high rate of heart problems    
    • he underscored that the earlier Americans ate a plant-based diet and were healthier--turned out that he just guessed at this and that those early settlers consumed 150-200 pounds/year, for hunting was necessary then, about the same as today
    • IN SHORT, KEYS' RESEARCH WAS BADLY FLAWED, but no one could challenge him, and medical journals did not publish these outliers
  • Keys vilified fat and made it impossible for other researchers with contrasting data to survive
    • unfortunately, he had cherry-picked his data, and purposefully left out countries like Germany and France which had high fat diets, but low rates of heart disease
    • he focused on Greece, where meat and cheese consumption is low, and they subsequently had a higher life expectancy and clear veins
    • he did, though, remove the isle of Corfu, where the people avoided saturated fat, but yet had higher rates of heart disease
    • The Mediterranean Diet is 40% fat, but from nuts and fish
  • The problem was that the replacement for steak and such was an increase in carbohydrates
    • carbohydrates went up by 15%, whole milk was banned in schools
    • TURNS OUT THAT SUGAR IN THE BLOOD IS THE REAL PROBLEM
    • WHEN YOU EAT ANY CARBOHYDRATE, YOUR SYSTEM IMMEDIATELY CONVERTS THIS INTO SUGARS, and FRUCTOSE (sucrose comes from cane, while fructose is derived from corn) is especially terrible
    • some carbs are worse than others:  white bread and white rice, bad--oats, better
    • thus, diabetes mushroomed when fats were abandoned


A new book is coming out next month:  The Big Fat Surprise, by Nina Teicholz. It gives all the details, and to quote:

For the past 60 years, we have been told that the best possible diet involves cutting back on fat, especially saturated fat. But what if the low-fat diet is itself the problem? What if the very foods we’ve been denying ourselves — the creamy cheeses, the sizzling steaks — are the key to reversing the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease?

Like the Atkins Diet (low carbs and optimal protein), this big fat surprise will be controversial.  However, it makes some sense, and until I receive compellingly contradictory medical findings, I will now better enjoy my medium rare Japanese wagyu beef (while this posting essentially exonerates saturated fat, it is true that the Japanese beef fat actually has more monounsaturated fat than any American beef, and really, truly, tastes a lot better--but the best ones cost $250/pound* at your standard department store basement there--I took this photo in Mitsukoshi across from my hotel, the Tokyo Westin) meal with a large salad topped with blue cheese dressing.  Will this omen the second coming of lard?

*About finding Japanese Wagyu Beef in the USA:  last year, the equivalent of 17 Kobe-type Japanese cattle made it into our country, while the U.S. cattle industry produced 29,300,000 head of cattle.  What are the odds that the Wagyu beef from Japan in your local restaurant actually comes from Japan?

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1 comment:

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