March is National Nutrition Month in Canada, the USA, and elsewhere. On any given day in any given kitchen or on any given radio or television station, there’s a lot of talk about nutrition. With the spotlight on nutrition this month, we imagine there’ll be even more talk about it, so let’s join the conversation.
We thought this might be a good time to have a little food fun and bust some nutrition myths.
Ready? Let’s get rid of a couple of big myths right now.
MYTH: Fat is bad for you.
If you do a little detective work into the history of dietary fat, you may be surprised to discover that before World War II, most cooking and baking was done at home using lard (pork fat), tallow (beef fat), butter (milk fat), and coconut oil and palm oil (tropical oils).
But what happens if you combine the politics of war with the politics of food?
Well, you soon find convincing evidence that, in the face of wartime supply shortages of tropical oils and a burgeoning vegetable oil industry in The United States, some oils were labeled (incorrectly) as good guys and others were labeled (equally incorrectly) as bad guys.
Fast forward a few decades and add some of the fat-free hype of the modern food industry, and it doesn’t take long to discover that millions of unwary consumers have unwisely started avoiding fat altogether—a risky course of action because some fats play a central role in preventing disease and keeping a spring in your step.
We could write volumes about how fats function in the human body, but this is a blog, so we can’t. But you can investigate further and beyond the confines of this short blog. We recommend that you start by checking out our website article What You Need to Know About Fats. After that, have a look at Chapter 6: Baffled by Fats in our book Eat to Save Your Life. We think you’ll be in for a few jaw-dropping surprises about fat.
(Hint: Some bad guys have been masquerading as good guys, and some good guys have been wrongly convicted as bad guys. Can you sleuth out who’s who? Do you know who may be aiding and abetting the real bad guys and framing the good guys?)
MYTH: Eggs are bad for you.
Speaking of good guys being falsely accused of being bad for you, let’s look at the much-maligned egg.
Eggs are bad for you? Wrong! This myth could hardly be further from the truth. Again, a little detective work is in order here. So put on that detective hat again, Sherlock; here are some facts to consider:
First, you don’t have to be afraid of eggs. Eggs are a life-giving food. Eat them. Eat the whole thing (including the often-tossed-away yolk).
Second, eating eggs does not significantly raise your cholesterol levels. According to a study from the University of Surrey published in the Nutrition Bulletin of the British Heart Foundation, factors such as obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and smoking have greater effects on cholesterol levels and risk of cardiovascular disease than egg consumption.
Third, even if eggs did raise your cholesterol levels appreciably (which they don’t), cholesterol is not necessarily as worrisome as some people make it out to be. To find out why, see our blog series on cholesterol and statins, Confusion, Not Cholesterol, May Be Our Enemy, Parts 1 to 3, then crack open a delicious free-range egg or two, and cook up the yummiest omelet or frittata that you can create.
Oh! And just one more thing:
Even though we’re all for eating delicious and nutritious free-range eggs, we’re not saying you should eat them every day. After all, eating any food every day sets you up for an inflammatory response and potentially dangerous chronic inflammation.
Say—did you notice that? We’ll say it again: Eating any food every day sets you up for an inflammatory response and potentially dangerous chronic inflammation.
So, all of you out there who are eating yogurt (or whatever) every day because you think it’s healthy, please stop it. It’s not that you shouldn’t eat yogurt; it’s just that you shouldn’t eat any food every day. However, a couple of servings of yogurt or a couple of eggs or a couple of servings of most natural whole foods a couple of times per week should be absolutely fine for most people.
Well, it turns out we’ve opened the door to a really great breakfast, here—which will please Jerre to no end because he’s an egghead about breakfast. Yup, you can relax about eggs and serve them up with a slice of whole grain toast spread with a pat of butter or coconut oil. You might even want to wear your Sherlock Holmes hat while you eat.
Here’s to healthy super-sleuthing,
Gloria and Jerre