Why did America love the low-fat food trend? Ann F. La Berge, a science and technology scholar, explains how we got to the point where we thought eating that sort of thing was a good idea. By the s, magazines targeting middle- and upper-class women regularly featured diet columns and recipes. In this context, the goal was losing weight to look good and fit into fashionable clothes rather than for health. Dieting usually meant counting calories, and since fat is more energy-rich than protein or carbohydrates, that usually meant cutting fat. In the s, medical researchers began broadcasting a different anti-fat message. A number of studies suggested a big problem was diets heavy on saturated fat and cholesterol. Then the federal government got involved. In , the Senate created a committee to look into hunger in America. Over the following nine years, committee members became convinced that a bigger problem was that Americans were eating too much and too poorly.
Wayne D. Times, 18 January , Section F, 7, column 5. This report was important because it also singled out overweight Americans as a group that should lower the fat content of the diet as a way of reducing calories. On bread and its demise in the American diet, see also the lament of Michael Pollan in Omnivore’s Dilemma, 1—3. But as it turns out, La Berge writes, this was a product of medical and surgical interventions. In a breakthrough article , Brody moved away from the one-size-fits-all low-fat diet that she had promoted with a religious fervor for more than twenty years to suggest that perhaps different diets worked for different people. The low-carbohydrate diet appeared to improve the health profiles of some individuals with a variety of medical problems. Others declared the low-fat approach ineffective for weight reduction and maintenance. Nestle, Food Politics, 65— Marcos Cueto, Theodore M.
This is not my typical type of post or since I am really just getting started, what I intend my typical type of posts to be. Read on for the a brief history of the low-fat diet and what that means for you. These men all had one thing in common-high cholesterol. Keys did not choose countries at random, a violation of scientific norms; he selected only those likely to prove the lipid hypothesis correct. The data from these countries simply did not match the lipid hypothesis so they were excluded. Conversely, data from countries such as Chile where fat consumption was low, but heart disease was high, was also left out. In fact, in Ancel Keys landed a position on the nutrition committee for the American Heart Association. In that same year, the AHA began recommending that the American public reduce saturated fat and cholesterol intake from butter, fatty meat, egg yolk, and full-fat dairy, replacing them with low-fat polyunsaturated oils and margarine. This prompted physicians to encourage their patients to adopt a low-fat diet to prevent heart disease and sent food manufacturers scrambling to quickly formulate food products to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol. The marketing messages were clear.