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    You Ask, I Answer: Saturated Fat (Part Two)

    You said, “I fail to understand why Taubes and his supporters practically worship saturated fat but completely fail to mention the health benefits of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids.” In the above you attribute extreme viewpoints to your opponents to discredit their opinions. Really now!

    We who don’t believe saturated fats constitute a health hazard do not worship or ignore fats. We simply try to put them in their proper dietary perspective.

    In the case of saturated fats, they have been maligned for forty years by public health, the food manufacturing industry, government agencies, vegetarian activists, the American Dietetic Association, and virtually every major health promotion organization in existence. This is a fact. This is not my opinion. Saturated fats are, in truth, beneficial.

    The body converts carbohydrates to saturated fats to burn for energy.

    Animals of all sorts make saturated fats in their bodies to burn for energy and to use for building cell structure.

    – David Brown
    Kalispell, MT

    The accusation that I am “attribut[ing] extreme viewpoints to [my] opponents to discredit their opinions” is ironic considering that Gary Taubes uses that tactic often.

    I have never heard him acknowledge that most of the nutrition community is NOT pushing low-fat diets.

    It is one thing to have diet books (NOT written by Registered Dietitians) saying low-fat is best, but they do not represent the nutrition community.

    I do not agree with Taubes’ views, but where on my blog do you see me urging people to shun fats?

    I’m also not sure how the “food manufacuring industry” has been maligning saturated fats. Many food products offer it in substantial amounts.

    If anything, don’t you find it interesting that so many different entities (the government, ‘vegetarian activists’, food companies) with varying interests all agree on limiting saturated fats?

    I also want to answer a few of your statements.

    “The body converts carbohydrates to saturated fats to burn for energy.”

    No. Carbohydrates are converted to glucose.

    Again, Taubes and his supporters need to think outside the box and realize that many dietitians (and myself, as a future Registered Dietitian) are NOT suggesting replacing saturated fat with carbohydrates, but rather with healthier fats.

    “Animals of all sorts make saturated fats in their bodies… used for building cell structure.”

    That’s cholesterol you are thinking about, not saturated fat.

    Unlike with trans fats, no one is being asked to cut out saturated fats from their diet; simply to limit them to a certain amount.

    Very simply — put them in a proper perspective.

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    4 Comments

    1. David Brown said on May 28th, 2008

      Andy,

      I wasn’t accusing you of anything. I was just pointing out that in using words such as “worship” and “completely” you imply an extreme viewpoint. This tactic turns a discussion into an argument. I urge you to learn how to stop doing that.

      You do it frequently. For example, in your response to me you mentioned that you had “never heard him (Gary Taubes) acknowledge that most of the nutrition community is NOT pushing low-fat diets.”

      Here you imply that Gary Taubes is accusing the nutrition community of pushing a low-fat approach when, in fact, in recent years the nutrition community has upped recommend fat intake from 30 to 35 percent. In the minds of us who derive upwards of 40 percent of our energy intake from fat, the 35 percent recommendation still seems like low-fat to us. Therefore, in our view, most of the nutrition community is still pushing the low-fat approach as the answer to controlling weight.

      You wrote, “…where on my blog do you see me urging people to shun fats?”

      There, you did it again. You’re suggesting that I am accusing you of recommending that people shun fats. Since your opinions are informed by dietetics and public health, I know exactly what you recommend as far as fat intake is concerned. Taubes also knows where the mainstream nutrition community stands on fat intake. He’s not suggesting that the mainstream is urging people to shun fats. What he’s saying is that mainstream nutrition experts are urging people to lower saturated fat intake unnecessarily.

      As for the food manufacturing industry maligning saturated fats, that would be the edible oils and the sweeteners industries. I don’t have time to go into that at the moment because I need to get ready for work. Will finish responding to this blog later.

      David Brown
      http://nutritionscienceanalyst.blogspot.com/

    2. Andy Bellatti said on May 28th, 2008

      David,

      Of course I am implying that Gary Taubes is accusing the nutrition community of pushing “low-fat” diets.

      That’s because he does!

      There are many aspects of nutrition that are not subjective, David.

      Your suggestion that a diet consisting of 30 – 35 percent of calories from fat is “low-fat” is grossly inaccurate.

      By definition, low-fat diets get no more than 15 percent of their calories from fat.

      Consider the following analogy.

      Imagine that for most of your adult life, your Body Mass Index has been 36. As you know, this falls in the “obese” category.

      Let’s say you get it down to 27 — that’s quite a change. In your mind, after years of being at 36, 27 is a low BMI.

      It isn’t. 27 falls into the “overweight” category.

      Calling something “high” or “low” compared to your experience is not valid in a discussion like this.

      “In the minds of us who derive upwards of 40 percent of our energy intake from fat, the 35 percent recommendation still seems like low-fat to us.”

      That is a measly five percent difference. Besides, as I mentioned, low-fat is 15% of calories (or less!) from fat.

      “He’s not suggesting that the mainstream is urging people to shun fats.”

      He’s not? Then what’s all this constant talk about “disastrous” and unhealthy low-fat diets?

      Please. Gary Taubes makes it very clear that, in his mind, mainstream dietetics is all about pushing “carbs” and shunning fat.

      Like I said, I have never heard him acknowledge that the nutrition community recommends the intake of Omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats.

      Instead, he sticks to that one point — “let people eat more saturated fat”!

      How does this “shun carbs, embrace saturated fat” argument explain obesity rates and overall low heart disease and diabetes rates in Japan?

      Japan’s obesity rates are among the lowest in the world.

      Not only is the traditional Japanese diet relatively high in carbohydrates, it is also low in saturated fat and high in Omega-3 fatty acids.

    3. Andy Bellatti said on May 28th, 2008

      Let me clarify something.

      A low-fat diet adds up to 20 – 30 percent of calories from fat.

      Very-low fat diets get less than 15 percent of calories from fat.

      So, a diet consisting of 30 – 35 percent of calories from fat is not a low-fat diet.

    4. David Brown said on May 28th, 2008

      Andy,

      So is 30 to 35 percent fat calories a moderate-fat diet and above 35 percent a high-fat diet? How much fat, as a percentage of total calories, do you think is safe to consume? What do you see as the safe upper limit for total fat intake? How much saturated fat can one consume with out risking clogged arteries?

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