I was so excited to wake up this morning and discover that TIME Magazine had put a curl of butter on its cover. Finally, one of the most mainstream magazines in the United States has publicly stated what we’ve all known for a while: butter and other saturated fats are not the enemy of good health. The cover even teasingly hinted that all of the scientists have been wrong, and that we need to reevaluate our dietary restrictions and expectations.
The article went on to emphasize the benefits of saturated fat sources such as butter, chicken skin, fatty red meat, and even coconut oil. I couldn’t have been more pleased about that. I feel like now I can finally have that conversation with my mother, and tell her about an authoritative source she will trust that agrees with me about the benefits of fats.
But I’ve been frustrated to see what kind of conclusions people have drawn from reading this article. While many of the reviews do dance around the fact that processed foods and refined carbohydrates are the real enemy, most of them get the bottom line wrong. Almost every review of this article that I’ve seen online concludes that moderation and portion control are the real keys to health when adding fat back into the diet.
They couldn’t be more wrong if they tried.
As our own personal experience, and the research of many modern dietary scientists has proven time and time again, the problem is not the quantity or percentage of fat in your diet, but rather combining fats with grains and refined carbohydrates. Some of the healthiest diets, and best medical test results, are reported by people getting the majority of their calories from fat as part of a well-balanced ketogenic diet.
But despite all of the good information out there, the advice mainstream America keeps getting from its favorite information sources is to keep their diets pretty much the same while adding a small pat of butter to the vegetables, and reducing the amount of sugar in their coffee. Yes, it’s a step in the right direction, but philosophically they’re missing the point.
The message is clear. Middle America is just not ready to accept the idea that a healthy diet is one that is heavy in fat, high in vegetables and protein, stripped of grains and sugars, and that doesn’t involve calorie counting and restrictions. After decades of careful indoctrination from studies funded by the food manufacturers, everybody believes that anything they eat in moderation is okay. It’s a much easier sell to convince an audience that they can have a little bit of the bread their grandma taught them to enjoy with their butter and it’ll be fine.
What everybody is scared to say, but what we know to be true, is that refined carbohydrates are addictive. It’s a slippery slope. As soon as you start eating some, they suck you in and drag you along. The body starts craving more and more carbohydrates, and the body’s own systems respond in ways that cripple our health, widen our hips, and shut down our willpower.
So while I’m encouraged to see some recognition of the value of fat in the diet, I still feel that there’s a major shift needed in the mindset of the American public before a true low-carb high-fat diet can be accepted.