Fat is essential in any diet, especially a low-carb diet. Fat helps build cell membranes, it builds the outer coating of nerves and neurons, it helps us absorb minerals and vitamins, and it is a major source of energy for
How did something so essential to us get such a bad reputation?
The answer comes from a landmark study published by Ancel Keys in 1967 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
In the 1950s, rates of coronary heart disease (CHD) skyrocketed, leading to an interest in studying diet and lifestyle factors as potential causes.
Yudkin blamed sugar; Keys blamed fat. Additionally, the first Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published in 1980, recommended reducing total fat intake to prevent CHD, the exact opposite of the low-carb research we now have suggesting a low-carb diet is better for heart health, among other benefits.
As it turns out, Keys was backed by The Sugar Research Foundation (SRF).
The SRF wanted to encourage Americans to eat more sugar by encouraging a low-fat diet.
The SRF offered cash incentives to researchers willing to publish studies with data that supported dietary fat's role in CHD.
In the scientific community, research is limited by funding.
With the SRF backing so many researchers, it's no surprise that a wave of studies were published encouraging a low-fat, high-carb diet to reduce CHD risk.
Cristin Kearns and a team of researchers published a historical analysis of CHD research in November 2017. Kearns examined historical documents, exchanges between researchers, and published studies that revealed the SRF had direct involvement in creating the stigma that dietary fat causes CHD.
Kearns also summarizes the findings of researchers that concluded sugar may increase CHD risk.
Blood glucose levels were considered a better predictor of atherosclerosis, a component of CHD, than cholesterol levels.
Sucrose also caused serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels to rise in healthy participants, leaving them at a higher risk for CHD.
It's just within the last 15 years that the truth about fat and low-carb eating has come out as a healthier alternative to the sugar-laden foods being pushed on the public.
So keep this bamboozle in mind next time someone derides a high-fat, low-carb diet and claims that fat makes you fat. It means their dietary education hasn't yet caught up to what we now know about fat's healthy benefits.