While we’re on the subject of those Dietary Guidelines…
This fat phobia all started with the late Sen. George McGovern.
Back during a really hot July in 1976, while we were all busy celebrating our bicentennial, McGovern had other things on his mind.
Namely Senate members who were dropping like flies.
He probably was worried that all those heart attacks were caused by their diet.
Well, McGovern wasted no time in calling a hearing on this. He found a professor from Harvard who put the blame on eating too much fat. But remember, this was over 30 years ago when people still smoked in movie theaters and elevators.
And that hearing with the Harvard expert led to the very first official “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” in 1980.
That 1980 “guide” featured 7 ways to eat and be healthier.
Now, not all 7 were bad advice. Things like “eat a variety of foods,” or “avoid too much sugar,” and “maintain ideal weight.” Those sound pretty good.
But the rest was the starting point for the next 35 years of bad advice.
Number 3, for example, “avoid too much fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.” And then there’s number 6, something that could be responsible for killing untold numbers of people: “avoid too much sodium.”
Gary Taubes, who wrote Why We Get Fat, says that once fat was falsely identified as a dietary villain, we thought that anything that got the fat out was the thing to do.
And so we ended up replacing all that fat with pasta and potatoes and other carbs.
Now, over three decades later, we’re still eating that way.
Which just goes to show you that nothing good ever comes out of Washington on a hot summer’s day.
And that nothing in Washington ever really changes, no matter who’s in charge.
“Why we got fatter during the fat-free food boom” Allison Aubrey, the salt, npr.org