Fat Facts from the 2015 Nutrition Report

ID-10094850StockImages2The media’s analysis of the USDA’s recent 2015 Nutrition Report is all over the map. One in particular, from a trusted news source was particularly off-base. This misleading headline stated that “No Evidence to Support the Low-fat Message.” This couldn’t be farther from the facts presented in the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) report.

The source of the confusion is when all fats are lumped together into one category. When reporters don’t distinguish between the different types of fats, many readers draw the conclusion that it is now okay to eat fat-laden foods such as ice cream, cheese, butter, red meats, etc.

So, let me set the fat facts straight using the summary from the 600 page DGAC report itself. If you read their report and compare it to Prescription for Life, you will see the same emphasis on the proper foods to eat: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, pasta, fish, and the good cooking oils, which are canola and olive.

The committee’s previous dietary recommendation was keep total fat intake between 20-35% of your daily consumption. Total fat includes the bad saturated fats, such as found in red meat, cheese, cream, butter, and fried foods, as well as the good fats, as found in Omega-3 rich fish and nuts. The new 2015 report minimizes the focus on total fat, but continues recommended limits on saturated fats, especially from animal products. This is the same recommendation the Prescription for Life plan encourages. Stay as low as possible on the saturated fats and high on the good fats.

In no way does the DGAC report state that saturated fat is now good. If there was any confusion it must be from the idea that the committee is easing their original restriction on unsaturated fats. The report emphasizes that saturated fats should be substituted with the good fats of polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats to help prevent arterial disease. The best examples of foods that contain these good fats are olives, nuts, and fish.

Here’s an example: You will notice this if you look at the Nutrition Facts box on a regular peanut butter jar. You will see 2.5 grams of saturated fat. That is way over the zero target and 0.5 absolute limit suggested in Prescription for Life. However, you will see Total Fat at 16 grams, and the vast majority of that is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Even though such foods contain some saturated fat, the “good threes” outweigh the danger.

Prescription for Life expounds upon the principles of exercise, losing weight healthfully, and eating the right foods to keep your heart operating at maximum capacity. I continually seek to present a thorough review of the medical literature in such a way that is easily understood. So, don’t listen to unsubstantiated buzz or rumors. The saturated fats in the typical American diet have always been bad for our health and still are!





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