Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bacon is good for you

Woody Allen seems to have been only half right about dietary science. But who knows, hot fudge may turn out to be a health food too. "The misguided war on fat may be making us sicker":
.... Ultimately, saturated fat—named because it contains no double bonds, so all of its carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen atoms—may be neutral for the heart. Meanwhile, some mono-unsaturated fats (which have one double-bond and are found in many nuts) and some poly-unsaturated fats (which have multiple double bonds and are found in fatty fish) could be good for the heart. For instance, a meta-analysis published in PLoS Medicine this month reports that the substitution of polyunsaturated fat for saturated fat can cut heart disease risk.

If saturated fat doesn't adversely affect cardiovascular health, what does? Sorry, Nabisco: We should be giving a closer look to foods with a high glycemic index—a measure that reflects a food's influence on blood sugar levels, based on how quickly it is digested and absorbed. Typically, that means carbohydrates like cereal, bread, chips, and cookies. ....

...[I]t seems that processed carbohydrates are America's most deserving nutritional enemy. And our misguided war against fat has just made us more addicted to them, because when people cut out fat, they typically turn to "diet" foods high in carbs—SnackWells, Baked Lays, even low-fat Jif, which contains the same number of calories as the regular version, with less peanut butter and more "corn syrup solids." That's not to say that all carbs are bad; fiber is a carbohydrate, and an important one. And there is still a lot left to be desired about certain fats. Trans fats really are bad for you, and foods very high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats—such as corn oil and margarine—are not particularly healthy, either. But overall, Americans could stand to start replacing carbs with fat. More bacon, fewer Bacos. .... [more]
The misguided war on fat may be making us sicker. - By Melinda Wenner Moyer - Slate Magazine