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Fact or Fiction: Does Eating Fat Make You Fat?

Of course eating fat makes us fat, right? Not so fast. The answer is actually a bit counterintuitive, but not too difficult to parse out. We don’t feed our livestock butter or lard when we want them to quickly reach market weight. Instead, we fatten up our farm animals — pigs, chickens, cattle, and even fish — on grains like corn and soy. So then, it’s reasonable to ask, why are Americans so fixated on cutting fat to get skinny? Go to the grocery store and the labels are covered in a sea of slogans such as “fat free", “low-fat”, “zero-fat”, and “no fat,”. Much of this fear of fat began when doctors rushed to explain the cause of President Eisenhower’s massive heart attack in 1955. By the 1970’s the government started promoting dietary guidelines that warned against animal fats and promoted the increased consumption of carbohydrates like bread and pasta. Sugar, it’s important to note, was also considered an empty calorie. So, we started eating a lot less animal fats and a lot more grains and refined sugar. Not coincidently, obesity and diabetes rates skyrocketed.

Fast forward to today where science – and common sense – is starting to topple the infamous “food pyramid." Carbs are no longer king, and if you want to get skinny, eat more fat! If you want to get fat, load up on refined carbohydrates and sugar.

Don’t believe this theory? Buy a one-pound steak and see if you can eat it – all of it. It’s nearly impossible. Now, grab a loaf of bread or a bowl of pasta. Anyone for seconds?

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