Read an Excerpt
If you are like most people, you just want to know, "Are fats good for me or bad for me?" A simple question too bad the answer is anything but.
The Fat Counter, 7th Edition, is celebrating its twentieth year in print. Over the last two decades, the book has changed to reflect the most current information and recommendations about fat. Both have changed considerably as scientific information has evolved.
In the 1970s, researchers were looking at the effects on health of moderate to high fat intake versus low fat intake. With the release of the first Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 1980, low fat took the spotlight. This led to the all-you-can-eat low fat era.
When health professionals recommend low fat eating plans, they mean meals high in fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, and lean protein choices. That advice didn't stand a chance against the food manufacturers who were churning out low fat and no fat cookies, candy, chips, ice cream, and salad dressing. Americans stuffed themselves with low fat choices, and got fatter and fatter because low fat foods aren't always low in calories.
Too much of any food, even low fat choices, promotes weight gain.
When the high fat gurus, like Dr. Atkins, came along during the mid 1990s, it was back to eating bacon and whipped cream. We felt fuller longer, our cholesterol went down, and we lost weight. Though high fat diets were shown to be quick fixes that didn't last in the long haul, they did give birth to a new idea about fats you can eat them and not be unhealthy.
The concept that eating moderate amounts of the right fat can be healthy and possibly even healthier than low fat intake was born.
Where does that leave us today? Researchers would say we are seeing a shift in the basic paradigm of healthy eating. In simpler terms, we now understand that some fats are good for us, some are bad for us, and some should be avoided altogether.
Experts redirected eating recommendations from a low fat to a moderate fat message. We've looked at cultures that eat more fat and examined the fat choices they've made. Though a low fat diet is still used successfully by many, we now know there are other healthy eating options.
Both low fat and moderate fat intakes are options for healthy eating.
The simplistic view that all fats are bad and you should eat less fat is no longer accurate. The more accurate message is:
- Not all fats are bad for you.
- The type of fat you eat may be more important than how much you eat.
- A moderate fat intake can be healthy.
Yes, it was easier when we told you that all fats were bad and that you should simply eat less fat. But as our knowledge gets more sophisticated, so does our advice about eating well. In The Fat Counter, 7th edition, we'll do what we have always done: we'll help you sort out the research and unravel the information so you can make the healthiest food choices.
There are still many good reasons to keep track of the fat you eat, because:
- Too much fat puts you at risk for health problems.
- Too much fat causes you to gain weight.
- Too much saturated fat and trans fat increases your risk for heart disease.
Copyright © 1989, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2009 by Annette B. Natow and Jo-Ann Heslin