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Has Fat Come Back?

Gila Arnold

We’ve been told for years that fat is the enemy, but recent studies indicate that thinking might be skewed. Sugar, it turns out, also contributes significantly to weight gain, the star ingredient in so many “low-fat” diet plans. In the frum community, both sugar and fat star prominently on our dinner tables. Is there a healthier way to eat, one in which taste isn’t substituted for health? We found out

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Picture this: You. A thick, juicy, grilled-to-perfection steak. And a fork and knife. Mmmm... And a little party crasher inside your head, howling: Fat! Fat! Saturated fat! Marching into your arteries, setting up camp! Hmmm. There’s nothing like breaking down a food into its biochemical components to take the fun out of eating. But, according to new research, you might be able to silence that internal nagger once and for all. “Butter Is Back,” screamed recent headlines in the New York Times; “Eat Butter,” proclaimed Time magazine. Is this return to fat a real reversal of decades of conventional wisdom, or merely a new swing in the ever-oscillating pendulum of scientific research? And how do we Jews measure up on a report card of healthy diets?   The Good, Bad, and Tasty The food of our grandparents’ childhoods, replete with greasy kugels and chicken shmaltz, was, like most of the traditional cuisine at the time, heavy on the fat. “Fattening up” was considered a positive thing, as it demonstrated that you had enough to eat; the skinny and scrawny raised alarms of malnutrition. When President Dwight Eisenhower suffered a heart attack in 1955, the issue of heart disease was thrust into the national limelight. Nearly half of all deaths in the US at the time resulted from heart disease, and, to add to the fear, very often the heart attacks happened suddenly, with seemingly no advance warning, to men in their prime. A spate of scientific research followed, and by the 1970s, the results were in: cholesterol was the villain, and cholesterol was produced by a diet too high in saturated fats. 

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