The Big Fat Surprise
Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet
By Nina Teicholz
(Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9781451624427, 479pp.)
Publication Date: May 2014
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For decades, Americans have cut back on red meat and dairy products full of "bad" saturated fats. We obediently complied with nutritional guidelines to eat "heart healthy" fats found in olive oil, fish, and nuts, and followed a Mediterranean diet heavy on fruits, vegetables, and grains. Yet the nation's health has declined. What is going on?
In "The Big Fat Surprise," Teicholz reveals how sixty years of nutrition science has gotten it so wrong: how overzealous researchers have made basic scientific mistakes that, through a mix of ego and bias, allow dangerous misrepresentations to become dogma, and how scientists who dared oppose this consensus have been ostracized. For eight years, Teicholz has pored over the massive research literature and interviewed hundreds of leading experts to unravel the shockingly distorted claims of nutrition studies. She brings these researchers to life and shows how their ambitions, loyalties, and rivalries have undermined a field of research already full of difficult pitfalls.
With a lively narrative style akin to Michael Pollan's in "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and the scientific rigor of Gary Taubes in "Good Calories, Bad Calories, " Teicholz convincingly upends the conventional wisdom about "all "fats. Her groundbreaking claim is that more dietary fat leads to better health, wellness, and fitness. Science shows that reducing the saturated fat in our diets has been disastrous for our health as a nation, and we can, guilt-free, welcome these "whole fats" back into our lives.
Nina Teicholz has written for Gourmet magazine, The New Yorker, The Economist, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. She also covered Latin America for National Public Radio. She lives in New York with her husband and two sons.