No more limits recommended for fat

When word gets around, many people who pay attention to eating healthfully will be relieved. Experts no longer recommend maximum levels of fat. Finally, without a guilty conscience, you can eat creamy soft cheese and enjoy a delicious steak with its fatty rim from the grill. No more fat-reduced diet products:  That's really good news!

Nuts, avocado, a glass of olive oil and raw salmon side by side.

American scientists now propose in the trade publication "JAMA" (Journal of the American Medical Association) that the US government should no longer recommend an upper limit for dietary fat in its guidelines on healthy eating. The guidelines of the rest of the western world are also based on these guidelines. Nutrition scientist David Ludwig and his colleagues from the Harvard Medical School in Boston offer a good argument for their demand: For decades, they observed the effects of limited fat intake and found that avoiding fat was not the answer.

Since the beginning of the low-fat era at the end of the 1970s, there has rather been a paradoxical effect: Instead of becoming healthier, as had been hoped, people have become unhealthier and developed more lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, stroke and obesity. As one of the reasons, it is assumed that consumers considered the low-fat products to offer a carte blanche for gluttony. Nutrition experts had to admit that they had wrongly blamed fat as the villain. People switched from healthy full-fat foods to unhealthy low-fat products containing additives.

"It is precisely these highly processed foods with added sugar that strain the metabolism and make us fat," says David Ludwig. The belief in low-fat doctrine has led to absurd excesses. For example, in the US recommendations for school meals, whole milk has recently been removed as an option, while low-fat, sweetened milk may continue to be offered. In particular, a diet with healthy fats such as found in nuts and fish benefits our health, and especially our cardiovascular system. Other fatty products such as cheese or whole milk, on the other hand, are considered health neutral, while many products with reduced fat content are classified as unhealthy. According to David Ludwig, the only thing that matters is the quality of the individual foods and not their fat content.

"Any form of one-sided nutrition is a sham," says Martin Reincke, metabolism expert at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany. "If one component of the diet is reduced unilaterally, it does not help, whether it's low-fat, low-carb or low-protein." The middle is the measure of all things: Eating what tastes good and is balanced and varied.

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