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Time Magazine Pushes Fat Myths Beginning In 1961, Offers Mea Culpa In 2014

Oh how the times are changing fast in our perception of nutrition. While our culture has been deeply embedded in fat-phobia for over three decades, it now seems that the tide is turning in favor of looking at dietary fat as a good thing. My latest evidence–the June 23, 2014 front cover of Time magazine boldly proclaiming “Eat Butter. Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong” by Senior Editor and enviro-writer Bryan Walsh. This is a stark juxtaposition to the infamous front cover with the bacon and eggs shamed in a frown face that ran back on March 26, 1984 telling us about the “bad news” regarding fat on our cholesterol and health. And because this was Time magazine, it got some attention on mainstream television when media darling registered dietitian Joy Bauer offered up her analysis of this story on the TODAY show with Matt Lauer, Al Roker and the gang on set listening to this positive coverage about saturated fat being HEALTHY! Unbelievably amazing! Check it out:

I was grinning from ear to ear when I heard Bauer talking about the differences in LDL particles stating there are small kind that are not good and large kind that are benign. I’ve heard that somewhere before. *SMILE* This was a basic concept we shared in our 2013 book Cholesterol Clarity as one of the things that we need to be paying attention to regarding our cholesterol. And it’s the saturated fat that has long been long vilified producing the more benign kind of large LDL and the refined carbohydrates that dominate our food supply that are producing the more dangerous kind of small LDL. Hearing the low-carb, high-fat message being articulated so boldly on one of the most popular shows on television was almost surreal to see. Could it be that we’re on the verge of a paradigm shift happening on saturated fat?

With the release of investigative reporter Nina Teicholz’ New York Times bestselling book The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, the interest in this critically important subject is at an all-time high. More positive press for saturated fat intake has come in recent months in articles published on other major media outlets, including The Huffington Post, NPR, The Daily Mail, The New York Times and many more. The importance of consuming fat is so important that we dedicated an entire chapter (Chapter 7: “Consume Fat, Especially Saturated Fat, to Satiety”) to it in my upcoming August 5, 2014 book Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet. It’s my contention that the unintended consequence of making people scared half to death of consuming real food sources of dietary fat is why obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and more become much WORSE, not better. And to remedy that, we need to be encouraging people to eat MORE fat and LESS carbohydrates than they’ve ever consumed before to restore the collective health of our culture. The time is NOW for this to happen.

As for the Time column by Walsh, he did an amazing job of explaining that there was never any science that proved any of the gloom and doom predictions about fat’s impact on our health. We grew up on fat-free and low-fat everything because the United States government decided to start meddling in the nutritional affairs of Americans by offering up dietary advice based on propaganda and not on any solid science. Once that happened in earnest beginning in 1980, the fat-phobia was underway and we’re still living under those auspices in 2014. Food companies attempted to cash in on this new trend and pumped out more and more products that have been stripped of fat. Did we get healthier as a result? You already know the answer.

The statistics Walsh cites are mind boggling. We think we have a healthcare crisis, but what we have is a preventative disease epidemic that a low-carb, high-fat diet could help with. My Cholesterol Clarity and Keto Clarity coauthor Dr. Eric Westman was quoted in this story explaining that “the studies to support (low-carb, high-fat diets) do exist.” There was a hope that when people cut their saturated fat intake that they would replace those foods with more fruits and vegetables. That didn’t happen. Instead, they ate more carbohydrates, grains, sugar and other sweeteners than ever before!

I’m not going to spoil the entire column for you here, but it’s a definite MUST-READ (with contributions from some familiar names like Dr. Robert Lustig, Dr. David Ludwig, Dr. Stephen Phinney, Dr. Peter Attia, Dr. Walter Willett, Dr. Ronald Krauss, and more!) that you should get a copy of to show your friends, family and even your family doctor that you’re not going crazy with the choice of diet you are consuming. In fact, I got to thinking about something funny when I saw this front cover for the first time–many doctor’s offices have Time magazine in the waiting room area. Wouldn’t it be funny if a patient hears the doctor tell them to cut their saturated fat intake and then that patient challenges them with the information they read in this Walsh column? Hey, it could happen. And that would be a very GOOD thing. People need to question everything they are told and remember that they are the ones who are ultimately responsible for their own health.

One of my readers wrote me an e-mail and pondered whether there would be an apology from Time magazine for putting the father of the diet-heart hypothesis Ancel Keys on their front cover in 1961 giving his flawed research from the Seven Countries Study more prominence than it deserved. Meanwhile, the work of John Yudkin, who pointed to the dangers of consuming too much sugar and carbohydrates as outlined in his classic book Pure, White, and Deadly: How Sugar Is Killing Us and What We Can Do to Stop It was not only shunned, but blacklisted. It seems Yudkin was right and Keys was wrong–DEAD WRONG! My reader created that mock-up of the Time magazine cover giving posthumous credence to Yudkin’s work nearly two decades after his death. Don’t hold your breath for that one to happen, but it could. After all, how many of us thought that butter and saturated fat would be given this kind of coverage just a few years back? Not me. Not this soon.

The bellyaching over this positive coverage of dietary fat by the likes of Dr. Dean Ornish was almost laughable at the end of the Time column. He warned of increases in colon cancer and destroying the planet with all that meat consumption. Ornish gives the same old tired responses he’s always made about low-carb, high-fat diets: these “tell people what they want to hear” and there is no “one magic bullet.” Ahhhhh, the zealotry will never end from those who hold such dogmatic positions like Ornish. But I have nothing but mad respect and kudos for Bryan Walsh (zip him a THANK YOU tweet on his Twitter page: @BryanRWalsh) for being brave enough to paint whole foods that contain saturated fat as good for you. Because they are. Let the truth continue to be spread far and wide.

  • Eileen Thatcher Beal

    I am positively giddy about this!! I honestly didn’t think I’d see this information hit mainstream in my lifetime…let alone on the cover of Time magazine in 2014! It’s very exciting! I’ve been spreading the news at every opportunity for the last 9 years. This kind of coverage is so wonderful!!

  • http://denversdietdoctor.com Jeffry Gerber, MD

    Thanks for the great summary.

  • Walter Bushell

    Isn’t Ornish promoting a “magic bulle[1]t” himself? Puts a small group on an intensive streess lowing program with a side of low fat dieting and this proves low fat diets cure heart disease.

    [1] for “bullet” read “bull feces”