Wednesday, June 21


This is the clear message behind new guidelines issued by the American Heart Association, but you won't see that headline anywhere because the science is just too complex for most journalists to follow, and it's easier to grab onto the "cut trans fats" concept that's oh-so-trendy right now (we'll ignore, for now, the fact that trans fats occur in animal products as well as french fries).

It's pretty simple math, though: The new advisory "suggests that people derive no more than 7 percent of their total calories from saturated fat." OK, and... "The previous guidelines allowed saturated fat to make up 10 percent of one's daily calories" (though Americans generally eat 11 percent or more saturated fat). And where do we find saturated fats? Two places: Animal products; coconut and palm oil. That's it. Now, which of these two options do you suppose is negligible, compared with the other, in the average American's diet?

In some places, this is spelled out somewhat, in phrases such as "using soy protein in place of animal protein as a means of limiting saturated fats," but again most journalists fail to make it clear to readers that there's a simple, no-nonsense way to improve their health dramatically: Stop eating animals.

UPDATE 7/12: Sorry - as moonwatcher notes in comments, I overstated this when I said "that's it." Tropical oils are the only vegetable sources that are a significant source of saturated fat, and the other sources are low in their ratio of saturated to unsaturated fats, but not quite low enough to be called "negligible." Here's a handy graph of the saturated fat content of various food sources.


moonwatcher said...

Actually there is saturated fat in other vegetable oils, just not as much. Peanut oil has 2.3 g of saturated fat in a tablespoon, so you can get a lot from peanut butter. Even so, it's probably hard to get more than 7 percent of your calories from saturated fat on a vegan diet.

Here's a helpful table from Wikipedia.

Avian Mooch, or a Really Angry Cow said...

Avocados, too -- but there's also lots and lots of evidence that plant fat just doesn't have the horrible effects on a human's body that animal fat does.