“Not bad meaning bad but bad meaning good.”
There has been a ton of attention in recent years to the importance of protein in optimal health, but what’s sometimes little understood is that what makes meat delicious isn’t so much the protein, as the fat. The stuff you slice away and shove to the edge of your plate. That’s the good stuff.
But fat’s bad for you right? Not so fast.
Recent changes in the way fat is understood in the diet lead us to believe that the opposite might be true. In fact, fat revisionists have begun to take center stage in the national imagination. Nina Teicholz’s book, , has become a New York Times bestseller and Time Magazine has featured a curl of butter on the cover of a recent issue with the tag, “ Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong .”
The argument now goes that our bodies are healthiest on a diet with ample amounts of animal fat. No big surprise to those acquainted with paleo-diet trends, of course. If someone mentions animal fat, you’re likely already thinking about LDL cholesterol versus HDL and Triglycerides.
But, as C.J. Hunt, director of the film saliently pointed out, it’s clear from the anthropological sciences that “we wouldn’t have the brain power to fuss about the different nutritional belief systems if we hadn’t evolved our brain size and intellectual capacities by eating animal proteins and fats. They were critical to our development, and the new research demonstrates that optimal human health is still dependent upon them. Plants and grains won’t do it.”
Hunt’s film was a forerunner to the media shift that we’re beginning to see now. It quickly became a top-selling documentary on both Amazon and iTunes, and was even in the top 10 of all movies on iTunes on its release. This made it one of the first successful media efforts to break free from the dietary group-think that has dominated public debate for more than 30 years. By exploring modern dietary science, previous historical findings, and the emerging field of human dietary evolution, opened new avenues for discussion.
Now the mainstream media seem to be embracing this understanding of what we have evolved to eat, and this is a very good thing! With the high level of bad health outcomes associated with low-fat eating , it’s essential we consider these new findings.
Of course, it would be imprudent to think that the final word has been spoken. If there is no such thing as ‘bad fat,’ it’s partially because a bad/good dichotomy simply does not apply in nutrition. With every new study we will continue to increase our understanding of the complex systems and dynamics at work inside the human body. But it is an interesting fact that the more we learn, the more we seem to be returning to the diet of our forefathers , the ‘meat leaders’ of yesteryear.