Tag: dietary fat

With Jack temporarily out of the news cycle, he asks Brady Holmer, his fitness-expert friend and fellow runner and podcast host, to talk about something a bit removed from the headlines (though not entirely): America’s obesity epidemic. They discuss how bad it is, how it got so bad, and what, if anything, can be done about it.

Nutritional Guidelines, Fake Science, and My Decreasing Waist

 

In the spring of 2015, my doctor diagnosed me as clinically obese, with a Latin term that roughly translates to “fat in the belly.” As Rodney Dangerfield joked, “and when I asked for a second opinion, he said I’m ugly.” Anyhow, I’ve long struggled with clinical obesity. I’ve also held, since the 1980s, the habit of daily exercise, alternating between weights and cardio, as well as carefully cataloging my dietary intake, most recently adding MyFitnessPal to my daily habits. My obesity isn’t the fruit of sloth, or lack of self-control, as is the favorite diagnosis.

After months of stewing over the sting of my diagnosis, I decided to launch, yet again, diet #2454. This time it would be a high protein, medium carb, and low fat, a la South Beach. Watch my calories in, calories out, I’ve done this before, I’ve got this.

And yet … after an initial weight loss of about 20 pounds, Thanksgiving and Christmas snacking soon laid waste to my waist, reversing my losses. Just like every other stinkin’ time.

Save The World; Eat Your Vegetables

 

imageI spent most of the day reading the newly-released Final Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC). This report will form the basis for the next 5-year revision of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, due out later this year. The report is 571 pages long, and I won’t pretend to have read all of it, but I did read major portions. I did not do it for fun; it’s part of my job to know about this stuff.

I was particularly interested to see how the DGAC would handle the fact that, over the past five years, a critical mass of the public has become aware that public health experts have been, uh, “misrepresenting” the evidence for decades regarding dietary fat. There never was much, if any, real evidence that low-fat diets are good for you, or that saturated fat causes cardiac disease (despite the fact that both of these dogmas have been “settled science” since the 1970s.) But in recent years, several studies have been published that make it impossible to push low-fat diets any longer with a straight face, or low-saturated fat diets with much confidence. And much of the public is now aware of this new evidence.

So, I wondered, how would the DGAC handle this problem in a way that saves face?