Jan loves to eat! Working puts bread on the table, but home-cooking makes it so much more delicious – and nutritional. In this space, we’ll talk about development of efficient software (with an emphasis on SIMD-augmented C++) and appropriate fuel along the way. It has become increasingly clear to me that good food really has noticeable effects on mood, productivity and overall well-being.
This post coincides with some recent reading on the effects of dietary fat intake. I have long felt that low-fat (or worse, fat-free) food does not compare favorably with “the real thing”. Now, the question is, can we find some hard facts on whether a reduction in fat is helpful or desirable?
We have public access to a helpful article: http://www.jacn.org/content/20/1/5.long
Here’s the first surprise: short/medium chain saturated fatty acids (FA) are not “associated” with coronary heart disease (CHD), but trans FA are. That is bad news, because previously used animal fats with saturated FA have often been replaced by partially hydrogenated vegetable oil containing trans FA. Fortunately there has been a backlash and this is decreasing: http://www.bantransfats.com/
Second, eggs are also not linked to increased risk for CHD, provided the baseline cholesterol intake was not “very low”. Welcome news.
Finally, the total fat intake is less important than the type of fat. This contradicts prior guidelines, but rests on more solid footing (a larger set of studies). I feel it is therefore reasonable to outright reject simplistic measures of total “fat”. How many things in life are worth having and completely effortless? Quick fixes such as low-fat milk (resulting in reductions of only a few grams of fat, which as we now know are even less important than they might appear) are clearly inadequate. Given the lack of health benefits, and unknown downsides due to artificial additives, I will even more than before avoid unnatural low-fat junk.
There is plenty more to read. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy eggs – but later I hope to understand the reasons behind the misguided advice to avoid them.
PS: one of the catalysts for finally starting to write was
I hope to increase the signal:noise ratio and disseminate some quality information. Although this post is yet another written by a non-specialist – after all, I am a doctor of engineering (or rather informatics), not nutritional medicine – it is a good way to accompany the learning of something new, and I hope this and future articles prove useful.