We’ve been shunning fat for decades now. Sugar has never been considered good for you. And now gluten is the latest edible to join the blacklist.
But, of course, there’s always more to the health story than meets the mouth. A recent New York Times profile of the scientist Fred Kummerow, for example, brought up the still-wrangled fats debate: Are saturated fats bad for you or not? Kummerow says no, so long as they’re consumed in moderation; others still argue yes. (Kummerow, in case you’re wondering, was the first scientist to identify trans fats as unhealthy, way back in 1957.)
As for sugar, the Washington Post recently ran an article about the American sugar industry and the federal protections that artificially inflate sugar prices and enrich sugar barons such as the Fanjul family. Those high prices, however, have not prevented Americans from downing, per person, some 130 pounds of sugar each year, much of it hidden in processed foods.
And then, of course, there’s James Hamblin's popular December article from the Atlantic about gluten and its supposed toxic properties — an article that went viral in part because it’s so controversial, with plenty of online commenters picking apart the science involved. Plus, as Nathanael Johnson pointed out on Grist, removing the gluten from a cookie doesn’t make it a health food.
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