Fat-Free Feeding Frenzy Flouts Facts. Part 1

Diet |

This could be fun, I thought, writing the head for this editorial. I started writing:

Famished Food Fanciers’ Fetish for Fat-Free Food Flunks Fitness Feasibility

But that wouldn’t fit. Neither would:

Flimflam Finaglers Flaunt Facile
Fat-Free Fantasy Fare for Feasting
Flabbies Fervent for Fat-Firing

Something as eccentric as the wacky ways we Americans deal with food and nutrition seems to call for a less than completely serious headline.

On the average, we Americans cut down our percent of calorie intake from fats from about 40 percent in the 1960s to about 33 percent in 1995 (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture). While we were eating less fat, the prevalence of obesity rose by a third from the late ’70s to the early ’90s. During a somewhat comparable period of time, our per-person consumption of sugar reportedly increased from 120 to 150 pounds per year.

A recent debate in the New England Journal of Medicine (Aug. 21, 1997) pitted expert proponents of a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet against experts who saw reasons not to reduce fat significantly below 33 percent, but to replace it with the “right” kinds of fats (principally monounsaturated vegetable fats). They argued both the disease and body-fat consequences of the dietary choices.

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