Fats are back

But can we shed our fat-hating ways?

March 11, 2011

For several years now, the public-health message on fats has been changing, from “Fat is bad!” to “Actually, the worst fats are trans fats” to “Many fats are really quite good for you.”

Culinate has featured many of these diet-changing arguments, including the trouble with trans fats and the health crusades of numerous scientists, chefs, and nutritionists. On the blog Civil Eats, Kristin Wartman recently recapped this attitude shift, lamenting the fact that consumer confusion has resulted from the fat wars:

Old dietary habits die hard, and convincing people that what they’ve been told for the past 50 years is just plain wrong is a hard sell. Not only that, but the continued recommendations to eat low-fat versions of foods (as in the USDA’s latest dietary guidelines and on the Mayo Clinic’s website) don’t help.

In the New York Times, food writer Melissa Clark recently focused on coconut oil, a saturated vegetable fat once nearly as reviled as lard but now beloved by nutritionists and vegans. What happened? Coconut oil used to be sold partially hydrogenated — in other words, as trans fats. The stuff of choice nowadays is the traditional kind, labeled “virgin coconut oil.” Clark’s a fan these days, and offers several recipes, including one for popcorn.

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1. by sut on Mar 11, 2011 at 11:44 AM PST

Regarding fats, there are two great books to read: Why we get fat, by Gary Taubes (which is the layperson’s version of his book, Good Calories, Bad Calories; and Nina Planck’s Real Food, which among other things, is an ode to coconut oil.

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