The recent Harvard/Kaiser study showing saturated fat not causing heart disease and the WHO review of similar data showing it does, and a third showing polyunsaturated fat replacing saturated fat –is a good place to come to our senses, nutritionally and literally.
People eat food, not fat, protein, carbohydrate or alcohol. No food has all one type of fat, whether saturated, monounsaturated or poly (trans fats are a type of poly). And many fats are good.
So what food should you eat? It depends on what condition you are trying to prevent or avoid.
For example, if you are trying to prevent recurrence of metastatic colon cancer, avoid processed meats and grains and eat whole foods: you have a 3.5x better chance than the opposite approach.
If you have prostate cancer, favor skinless poultry and other meats over poultry with skin and whole eggs, and aim for a Mediterranean-style diet: you have 2x chance of avoiding recurrence and metastases. More in my ChefMD culinary medicine book.
If you’re just trying to stay healthy and have a great quality of life, then what?
Foods with trans fat, which occurs rarely in nature, and highly refined sugars and starches, are the ones to avoid. They are inflammatory, interrupt immunity, cause stroke and heart attack. Especially if you see trans/partially hydrogenated on a label, put the can, bottle or box back (pie shells, coffee creamer, pastries), and back away. In fact, put down the cans, boxes and bottles as much as you can, regardless.
Try to use your senses: smell, touch, feel, hear, truly taste your meals…you’ll have a great time. And eat more of the right foods.
Eat real food. Make it yourself. Buy foods in their natural state, with minimal processing. Learn to cook, even a little.
Don’t worry about every bite. Enjoy it more. Eat a lot more vegetables, fruits (avocado is a fruit!) and legumes, and make fish, poultry, cheese and a little (grass-fed) red meat side dishes. Stay liquid in your fats, low in your sugars and starches, and lean in your meats, but don’t kill yourself doing it.
Love what you eat. Or don’t eat it.