The Dawn of Fat Phobia
If you have a few years under your belt, then you can still remember what I call the “Fat-Free 80’s.” Think back to a time when dietary fat was the enemy. Ah, yes… A time when fat-free products lined the outer shelves of the supermarket. A time when it was not a bad thing to get a box of Entemann’s cinnamon rolls, as long as they were the FAT-FREE cinnamon rolls. Health Valley made some positively disgusting fat-free cookies, along with a host of other fat-free products that tasted like sugary cardboard. And we can’t forget the 75% sugar weight gainer products, those were priceless. 1,000, 2000, 4,000 calories per serving, and all you had to do was mix about a cup of powder into your favourite drink. No worries though, these gainers were virtually fat-free! What we were led to believe was that fat-free products equated to fat-free physiques. Unfortunately, that was far from the truth.
During the 1980’s, a disturbing climb in national obesity rates occurred, and steadily kept its course. Large behavioral trend studies such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES II & III), the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), and the Calorie Control Council Report (CCCR) collectively showed a 31% increase in overweight prevalence from 1976-1991. The punch line? This increase in weight was accompanied by an 11% decrease in percentage of calories from fat (from 41.0% to 36.6%). The most recent report by the BRFSS shows a further decrease in fat intake to 33%, accompanied by an increase in obesity from 11.6% to 22.1%. This is a 90.5% increase in US obesity from 1990-2002. It’s obvious that dietary fat is not the evil culprit in the expansion of the population’s waistline.
A Brief Evolution of Our Knowledge of Fats
As indicated by the fat-free product boom a couple of decades back, there indeed was the widespread belief that ALL fats were a substance to be minimized, or avoided altogether. But with the forward march of research, we came to understand that different fats had different effects on health….Read the entire article