Nina Teicholz spent nearly a decade researching nutrition policy and dietary fat, culminating in the publication of her spellbinding book “The Big Fat Surprise.” In it, she explains the politics, personalities, and history of how we came to believe that dietary fat is bad for health. Her book was the first mainstream publication to make the full argument for why saturated fats–the kind found in dairy, meat, and eggs–are not bad for health.
In today’s episode, she discusses what initially propelled her to pursue this topic. You will be intrigued by the answers (and stonewalling) she encountered on her quest to find out more. What she discovered has led her to become an advocate for changing our diets to improve our health. Steps include avoiding vegetable oils and, of course, embracing saturated fats in their place.
Nina Teicholz got her start as a restaurant review columnist. She eschewed meat and fats, but noticed that the chefs preferred preparing dishes with plenty of both. To her surprise, as she ate their food, she began to lose weight, her cholesterol numbers were good, and her health improved. Plus, she was satiated in a way she hadn’t been by her former diet.
Intrigued, she began looking into the role of dietary fats. After nearly a decade of research, she published “The Big Fat Surprise.” The Economist called it the #1 science book of 2014! It was one of the first publications that made the case for why saturated fats—the kind found in dairy, meat, and eggs—are not bad for our health!
In today’s episode, Nina recounts:
- her journey as an investigative journalist
- her personal dietary habits
- scientists’ reactions to her probing questions, like “Do you think it’s true that maybe dietary fat is not bad for health?” and “Is it possible that saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease?”
- how fat came to be blamed for diabetes, heart problems, and cancer
- what happens to people who cut out fat (they increase carbs, and then become overweight and diabetic)
- why food companies do not want to embrace a message that would hurt their bottom line
- examples of people who eat a high-fat diet (the Italians and Maasai) and thrive
- how Americans have followed the dietary guidelines, to the detriment of their health
- how carbs turn into fatty acids in our blood, not fat
- that a healthier diet is the one that reduces carbs and increases fat
- how and why vegetable oils increase rates of illnesses today
- how meat, whole fat dairy are healthier than we’ve been told
- how “fat replacers” are used to make food taste better, but that often load our foods with sugars and grains
The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz