The Big Fat Surprise, written by the experienced investigative journalist Nina Teicholz, is packed with the surprises proving that fats are a necessary part of our everyday diet. With eye-opening facts, this best seller explains everything that is completely wrong with the dietary science backing the ever-popular low-fat diet.
Nina Teicholz’s book has rightfully questioned the logic followed by the government committee that developed the US dietary guidelines. The Big Fat Surprise’s credibility is unquestionable as it has been praised by leading food scientists and nutritionists and has even been named a ‘must read’ as “nutrition thriller” by the esteemed medical journal, The EconomistLancet. In this post, we are giving few fat-related surprises that this book contains. So let us get started.
In The Big Fat Surprise, Nina Teicholz has presented a comprehensive history of saturated fats. That is not all, as the book also gives the scientific logic on why fats are an important building block of our diet. The book has covered nearly all the facts about why eating a low-fat diet is actually bad for your health. Because of such extensive research, the book has been praised by leading medical journals such as The BMJ and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which said, “All scientists . . . and every nutrition science professional . . . should read this book.”
The book explains how a leading, influential physiologist of the ‘50s, Ancel Benjamin Keys, influenced the eating patterns of the entire world. Keys was the author of the “diet-heart hypothesis” which erroneously linked saturated fats to heart disease. The Big Fat Surprise gives its readers the complete description of how Keys’s defective hypothesis gained entry to the American Heart Association and further, explains how this hypothesis finally became the foundation of the guidelines passed by the US dietary establishment.
To date, the world thinks that olive oil is one of the healthiest fats. Likewise, most people assume that the Mediterranean diet is one of the best diets to follow to stay healthy. However, these are mere assumptions that are not backed by rigorous science. Nina Teicholz has unearthed some hard-hitting facts that explain the fetishization of olive oil has along with the dubious origins of the Mediterranean Diet. The author in The Big Fat Surprise writes, “. . . when Walter Willett [a Harvard scientist] unveiled the Mediterranean pyramid in 1993, no controlled clinical trials of the diet had ever been done.”
Through The Big Fat Surprise, Nina Teicholz also sheds light on the disturbing graph related to soybean oil that the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition once published. The graph showed how the consumption of soybean oil has risen in the recent past. While researching the latest updates on trans-fat replacements, she met the Vice President, Gerald McNeill, of Loders Croklaan—one of the leading suppliers of edible oil in the US. McNeill told her about how leading fast-food chains such as Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and Burger King use regular vegetable oil in place of hydrogenated oils. He explained that when vegetable oils are heated, they create “toxic oxidative breakdown products.” Some of those breakdown products even include aldehydes and formaldehyde; Nina found that these are the same compounds that are used for embalming dead bodies. Now, this relation is the biggest explainer why vegetable oil is bad for anyone’s health.
So these are just a few of the surprises that The Big Fat Surprise gives away. For discovering other such interesting facts on sat fats and for exploring the bad science backing the low-fat diet, go through this brilliant dietary whodunit right away and find out what actually causes heart disease.