Food is Like Politics
By Dennis Sun
Have you noticed discussing food is kind of like talking about politics or religion around the table? It is not so much about what one likes or dislikes, but if the food is healthy or unhealthy for us and what the impacts are of growing food on the land, such as a carbon footprint.
As with politics, if someone says something positive about a politician, someone will come back with a negative response. This will go on until finally the truth comes out, and such is the case with food. As someone will complete a study of food, especially red meat, and soon after another study will come out saying the opposite.
Recently, I came across a study that really caught my attention. Basically, it said dark chocolate and red meat are good for you to eat. I quickly looked to see who had done the research, as I thought it could be too good to be true.
The study is legit. It was published by the Journal of American College of Cardiology and is titled “Saturated fats and health: A reassessment and proposal for food-based recommendations.”
Those who are vegetarians and those who support fake meat will likely dismiss the study, but the meat industry, including producers, need to support and get the word out on the findings.
Simply, the study says, “The dietary recommendation to reduce intake of saturated fatty acids (SFA) and food sources is not aligned with the current evidence base. As such, it may distract from other more effective food-based recommendations and may also cause a reduction in the intake of nutrient-dense foods, such as eggs, dairy and unprocessed meat, that may help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), Type 2 diabetes and other non-communicable diseases, but also malnutrition deficiency diseases and frailty, particularly among ‘at-risk’ groups.”
The study continues, “Furthermore, based on several decades of experience, a focus on total SFA has had the unintended effect of misleading governments, consumers and industry toward foods low in SFA but rich in refined starch and sugar. All guidelines should consider the types of fatty acids and more importantly, the diverse foods containing SFA, which may possess harmful, neutral or even beneficial effects in relation to major health outcomes. We strongly recommend a more food-based translation of how to achieve a healthy diet and reconsidering the guidelines on reduction in total SFA.”
The other great part of the study says, “Dark chocolate contains stearic acid, which has a neutral effect on CVD risk. However, chocolate contains other nutrients, which may be more important for CVD and Type 2 diabetes than its SFA content. Experimental and observational studies suggest dark chocolate has multiple beneficial health effects, including potential anti-oxidative, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic and anti-thrombotic properties, as well as preventive effects against CVD and Type 2 diabetes.”
So there you go, it has finally come out in a respectable study, not because it is what we want to hear, but because science tells us so. The eggs, whole milk and red meat we all grew up on are good for us. Those foods and plenty of work or exercise, plus all of the dirt we could eat, are OK. No matter what we eat or do, we have to balance it out. It is called common sense.