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Fat or No Fat?

 

That is the $64,000 question.

I want to live as long as I can. I want to be healthy. I want to enjoy and experience as much of the fun and variety of life and all this wonderful earth has to offer to the fullest. Life is a sweet pleasure that is too short as it is and every sweet second should be savored every single day.

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

I also place a high value on honesty and telling the truth.

In the last two posts I have shared with you some information I just recently became aware of. That is that the scientific research on the benefits of eating a low fat diet is not sound, and that, in fact, there is no research that proves that a low fat diet is healthier.

I knew there was disagreement. But I had never heard of Ancel Keyes and The Seven Countries study before. I had never heard about the leaving out data that did not conform to the hypothesis being tested.

This kind of, sort of made me just a wee bit upset!

The Food Police

I have always had a healthy skepticism of what I like to humorously call the food police; that is those self-righteous food-health nuts and scolds who yell at me about what I should or should not eat to the point they want to pass laws to outlaw some foods. A LAW???  Give me a break!!!!

As an American I don’t like it when some one tells me what I should or should not eat.  There is just something, well, so un-American about it all.

I am neither a dietician nor a scientist. But I am a reasonably intelligent person who reads a lot about nutrition and food. I can make health decisions for myself. And I refuse to cede that responsibility to anyone else.

Give me your ACCURATE and HONEST research and findings, offer suggestions, and then leave. me. alone.

When you cherry-pick data, when you hype in order to try and force me to eat (or worse sell me something) what you like and you want to eat you lose, and deserve to lose, my trust in anything and everything else you say.

Less Fat = More Carbs

By not being honest in the first place other, worse problems may develop.

One of the problems with eating a low fat diet is that we tend to compensate for eating less fat by eating more calories in the form of carbs. Thus more carb calories are added to our diets than are cut out from lowering fat calories. So overall we end up eating more calories. Is it any wonder Americans have gained weight?

No One Size Fits All

Everyone is different. Everyone has different health goals. The human body is complex and many variables enter into a healthy life style. When it comes to health and healthy eating there is no one size fits all plan. What works for one person may not work for another.

For instance, look at the French. By American food police standards they should all be obese and dead at age 45 from hardening of the arteries. I mean they eat buttery croissants with real butter and jam for breakfast and cheese for dessert. And in between the buttery breakfast croissants and fatty dessert cheeses they put some of the most delicious and richest sauces on food I have ever had the pleasure to eat.

And remember the man who popularized jogging, Jim Fixx? He died of a heart attack at age 52 while out jogging. And remember Linda Eastman, Paul McCartney’s first wife? She was a vegetarian and died of breast cancer.

You can do everything right and still die young.

In my all time favorite book on health, Eat, Drink, and Be Merry by Dr. Dean Edell, M.D. (Harper Collins Publishers 1999) wrote: 

In 1991 researchers at the medical school of the University of California at San Francisco mathematically spun out the 30%[ fat] for all hypothesis. What happened? Life expectancy for women would increase by an average of three months. Life expectancy for men would increase by an average of four months. That’s all folks. (page 63.) [Emphasis mine.]

That’s all! Three to four more months life expectancy. Dr. Edell also cites another study in his book that had similar results to the one cited above.

There Are No Guarantees In Life.

The fact is no one can guarantee you a long life, good health, or a perfect body with any particular diet.

So just what am I to do? Who do I listen to in this debate?

Well, I can’t say definitively.

And quite frankly, neither can anyone else!!!!

I think each person has to decide for themself what is best for them.

I will tell you this. There are only three ways the body can get energy and the necessary nutrients to live: 1.) fat,  2.) carbohydrates,  3.)  proteins.  

Fat is a necessary building block for a healthy body.

If you want more information on this you can read the five part Diet Myths and Common Sense Diet series I did several months ago here, here, here, here, and here.

While I cannot and will not tell you what to do, I can tell you what I do. I don’t know if it is right or wrong, good or bad, or anything else. It is just simply what works for me right now. I reserve the right to change it if my health changes or new information comes to light.

Roberta’s Common Sense Health and Diet Plan

1. I pretty much eat what I damn well please.  I just eat less of it.  And then I add some more fruits and vegetables to my diet.

2. I try to eat a balanced diet. That means, I eat fat, carbs, and protein. And sometimes I splurge on one or the other of those three. When I do, I just eat less of it for a few days to try and balance it out.

3. I eat a wide variety of foods.  The recipes you see here at MTTD are what I eat. From Hungarian Greasy Bread (high fat) to Bok Choy with Shitake Mushrooms (lower fat), I eat it all. From A to Z and everything in between. And I love all the food I eat. I mean, I enjoy it. I savor it.

4. I try to eat fish at least a couple of times a month. 

5. I try to eat real food as much as possible and limit, when I can, things like boxed, pre-packaged, and fast foods as much as humanly possible.

6. I only eat half or less of restaurant sized entrees. Or I order an appetizer with a salad as my meal – this is just portion size control. 

7. I stay active. I don’t do formal exercise. But I do things I enjoy like walk, swim, garden, and dance. And I clean my own home. Except on snow and ice, I park my car as far away from my destination – grocery store, movie theater, whatever – as I can get thereby adding a bit more walking into my life. Plus it is easier to find a parking spot there. And fewer dings on my car, too.

8. I do not get my health information from the media. I am wary of doctors pushing anything.

I am very wary of TV news, magazine stories or TV and radio personalities. They are out for higher ratings or circulation which means higher profits for them. It is difficult to understand a complicated topic like nutrition and health in a three minute TV segment or a 3 page magazine article sandwiched between advertisements for expensive medications, services, and health care products to cure what supposedly ails me.

I never try any diet, diet food, exercise equipment, book, or supplement that is going to cost me lots of money either. If someone is asking for lots of money for any of these items I am very skeptical. I figure it is only to make them richer and me poorer without making me any healthier.

As for doctors, I am not sure what to believe anymore. Many doctors take money (up to $100,000 a year) from drug companies to say positive things about their drugs according to a recent Consumer’s Report

That $100,000 is in addition to what ever they make from their practice. Have they heard? There is a recession/depression going on out here  in the real world!!!  Lots of people are unemployed. Some out of work people would like to be able to earn just $10,000 a year to feed their families. And these yahoos make $100,000 just to talk up an expensive drug.  GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!!!

There you have it. As I said, this works for me. What works for you?

Featured Recipe       Quick “Stewed Tomatoes

I mentioned this recipe last time when I shared the kid friendly Chicken Fingers recipe. I said this would make a great side to that dish. This recipe make a great side to ANY dish!

Not only is it super delicious, it is fast and inexpensive. This is a Martha Stewart recipe from Everyday Foods magazine.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

1 tablespoon butter

2 celery stalks

½ medium onion

Salt and pepper to taste

2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes

¼ teaspoon dried basil*

¼ cup water

*I use Italian seasoning instead.

Here is what you do:

Wash the celery and the tomatoes.

Thinly slice the celery and dice the onion.

In a large saucepan heat the butter over medium heat.

Add the celery, onion, and water. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the water has evaporated and the celery is tender, about 7-10 minutes.

While the celery and onions are cooking cut the tomatoes in half.

When the water has evaporated add tomatoes; cook until tomatoes are soft and juicy, 3-5 minutes.

Stir in the basil or Italian seasonings. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Place in a bowl and pass around the table.

Or just serve with your meal like I did with the chicken fingers I made last post.

Bon Appetit!!!

Cost

1 tablespoon butter                         $0.15              

2 celery stalks                                 $0.20

½ medium onion                             $0.37

2 pints cherry tomatoes                    $3.32

¼ teaspoon dried basil*                   $0.03

¼ cup water

Salt and pepper to taste

*Italian seasonings = same cost as basil

Total Cost = $4.07
Cost per person =$1.01

Quote of the Day

Those who would give up essential liberty to buy a little temporary safety deserve neither.

Benjamin Franklin

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1 comment to Fat or No Fat?

  • What bothers me about all the constantly changing advice on what we should and shouldn’t eat — and health advice in general — is that it makes people overly anxious. We end up being paralyzed between cynicism (the experts we can’t trust, the profit motives of the food industry, food contamination that the producer chooses to overlook) and an obsession with seeking information (all the media you mention, the Internet, the effort it takes to distinguish what’s true from what’s hype).

    The anxiety takes away from the pure pleasure of eating. I recently came across a nice article on this – how health should put more emphasis on the Epicurean pleasures of life. (http://bit.ly/eZ4wpJ)

    “When we eat, we receive a certain indefinable and peculiar impression of happiness originating in instinctive consciousness. When we eat, too, we repair our losses and prolong our lives.” Pleasure may thus be a form of intelligence, an intuitive science as well as an art. Some nations have more of this intelligence than others. … “France eats more consciously, more intelligently than any other nation.”

    We’ve allowed science and government to define health for too long. It’s time to take it back. The way to start is simply by becoming aware of what’s happened. Your sequence of posts here is an excellent step in that direction.