Staff Pick: The Big Fat Surprise
Since the 1950s, a war has been waged in America against an accused dietary culprit: fat. However, as the investigative journalist Nina Teicholz discovered, there isn’t solid evidence for the benefits of a low-fat diet, nor of the dangers of fat. This episode was picked by producer Benjamin Bombard.
Since the 1950s, a war has been waged in America against an accused dietary culprit: fat. Avoid fat, we were told, and you’ll live longer and healthier. However, as the investigative journalist Nina Teicholz discovered, there isn’t solid evidence of the benefits of a low-fat diet nor of the dangers of fat. In a new book, Teicholz reviews the science and history of the war on fat and she joins us to explain how America’s nutrition was derailed by personal ambition, bad science, and politics.
Nina Teicholz has written for Gourmet, The New Yorker, The Economist, and The New York Times. Her new book is called The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet [Amazon|Indiebound].
Here’s what producer Benjamin Bombard has to say about this episode:
One of the things we try to do on the show is challenge conventional wisdom and bust sacred cows. When it comes to diet and nutrition, no cow has been more sacred than the low-fat diet. It’s defined how we eat in this country since at least the 1950s. The journalist Nina Teicholz poured over the science supporting the low-fat diet, and she found it to be pretty flimsy. What she has to say about dietary fat and health radically changed my approach to eating. Now, like my grandfather did, I eat all the fat on my plate, and the new diet seems to be working, judging, that is, by my recent cholesterol scores: the doctor called them “stellar”! Thanks, Nina!