Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, doctors are on a mission of discovery. Sometimes we find the right path and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we stay on the wrong path way too long and winged monkeys threaten to carry us off.
Fats have been important to doctors since we discovered their role in heart attacks and strokes. Initially, we suggested to people that they cut out as much fat as they could from their diets. Low-fat diets were born that slashed the total intake of fat from 30% to 10%. Sounds good, right? The problem was that very few people could stick with it. And even now, we don’t know if it works!
We doctors like to sit like gurus on our sacred hills and suggest that we “know” this or that. The problem is that we really only know medical facts based on a probability of the research being true. What does this mean? It means that when a study is NOT a double-blind Radomized Controlled Trial (RTC), we have much less certainty about what we tell you is true. Most studies on fat are NOT RTC’s. That is why when you read anything written by a doctor you will hear “maybe” and “probably” an awful lot.
So here is the skinny on fats. Trans-fats are almost certainly bad for you and your heart. These are found in foods that are processed or fried. Saturated fats may be bad for you, but the jury is still out. Just don’t eat too much of it and you should be okay. Replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fats (fish, nuts, and vegetable oils) is probably good for you.
As we go through the holidays, use a little bit of common sense, discretion and willpower. And let me know if you see any of those dang monkeys!
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