If you grew up in the '70s like me, you probably remember the margarine craze of that era: we were told that butter was bad for us and would clog our arteries, and somehow substituting the natural dairy food with an imitation spread made of refined vegetable oil, preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors was a healthier option. As a result, we also got inundated with terrible commercials featuring an obnoxious talking tub of Parkay or the horny Country Crock couple that couldn't keep their hands to themselves, even at the dinner table.
Then you probably recall the "war on fat" that was so prevalent in the '80s and '90s which saw the introduction of low fat and fat-free (gag!) food items on store shelves including those horrible Snackwell cookies which promised lower calories and saturated fat, but which were way too sweet.
Well, I'm here to tell you after a brief five month stint working in the food industry and from what I've seen reported online in recent months that it's perfectly OK to eat fat including red meat and real dairy products including cream, butter, eggs, and cheese. Welcome to retro eating habits, folks! Yes, it's time for you to embrace your inner Ron Swanson and have turf and turf, if that's what your heart so desires. In case you didn't know, the food industry has been duping us all of these years.
Just last week, NPR and other sources reported that fifty years ago, the sugar industry paid off Harvard researchers to hush up the role that sugar plays in heart disease and instead, put the blame on foods that contain fat. Disgusting.
You may remember the blog post I did several years ago showing ads from the 1960s promoting the benefits of eating sugar. At the time I thought they may have been done in response to the growing popularity of artificial sweeteners. Maybe that was one motivation, but I also believe now it was to deflect the possibility that sugar was bad for us. These ads even highly recommend giving sugar to children, because it keeps their energy going all day!
Now, there's still a lot of articles and scientific research that claims foods like bacon and butter can still contribute to cardiovascular disease. However, I am of the camp that believes in everything in moderation. I don't think it's a great idea to eat fried foods every day. But I also don't think foods that contain fat, especially those from animals, are going to kill you if you go easy on them. I look back and think of my grandparents, who lived during several decades when processed food hadn't been invented yet. They all lived into their early 90s, and enjoyed eating everything.
The truth is, our body needs some fat in our diets in order to function properly. In fact, there's a relatively new eating plan out there called the "wild diet" which advocates cutting out as much sugar and processed food from meals and snacks and focusing on lean meats and fish and enjoying a little bit of butter and dark chocolate. Given the choice between a sugar-laden muffin or bacon and eggs, none of us should be choosing the muffin. Bacon and eggs provide protein, which is going to fill you up and keep you satisfied longer. That's also going to keep your blood sugar in control and your energy sustained. Did you know that diets higher in fat are more effective at helping people losing weight?
If you need further proof, I invite you to check out this cool site I discovered earlier this year, called Eat the Butter. Eat the Butter advocates "Vintage Eating for Vibrant Health" and I agree with their messaging and findings 100%. They're also on a mission to get kids to eat healthier by eating real food and reducing sugar in their diet.
One final thought: it kills me when I hear of people that only eat egg whites for breakfast or worse, that horrible crap that passes for eggs called Egg Beaters. I know they're "made with real eggs" but they're comprised of the white part. All of the flavor and nutrients are in the yolk. I'm not buying into the fear that the cholesterol in eggs will kill you. Again, everything in moderation.
So go ahead, order that steak, pat a little butter on your bread, and pour a bit of light cream in your coffee. Hopefully by reclaiming some retro eating habits, Americans will also reclaim their waistlines.