NYT : Consumers are Embracing Full-Fat Foods

Consumers are Embracing Full-Fat Foods
Health News - Public health authorities have long urged Americans to cut back on foods high in saturated fat like butter, meat and whole milk. But a new report on dietary-fat consumption suggests that the public is increasingly eating more, not less, of these foods.

The new report, which was published last week by the Credit Suisse Research Institute, found that sales of butter in the United States rose 14 percent last year and climbed another 6 percent in the first three months of 2015. Sales of whole milk rose 11 percent in the first half of this year, while skim milk purchases fell 14 percent. The report also predicted that consumption of red meat and eggs would climb in the coming years.

The trends reflect what appears to be a shift away from processed foods and toward those that are considered more wholesome, even when they contain saturated fat and other macronutrients that were once vilified as unhealthy, such as dietary cholesterol, said Stefano Natella, the Global Head for Equity Research at Credit Suisse and an author of the new report.
“I think this is part of a trend toward more natural foods — more organic, unprocessed and simple foods,” he said. “All these foods have a natural characteristic attached to them. Full-fat milk sounds a lot more natural to people than 2 percent or skim milk. Cows don’t produce skim milk. You have to process it to take out the fat.”
In recent years, a number of studies have cast doubt on the health benefits of the traditional low-fat diet, suggesting instead that eating more fat — with the exception of trans fats — and less sugar and refined carbohydrates might be better for overall health.

But there is still debate over the health effects of saturated fat. Most public health authorities recommend steering clear of it and eating mostly unsaturated fat, like the kinds found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and avocados. Others say this advice, which stems from the notion that eating saturated fat promotes heart disease, is not supported by scientific evidence.

The trends identified in the new report suggest that Americans have not been embracing the advice on saturated fat long dispensed by the federal government and groups like the American Heart Association, which for decades have told Americans to cut it from their diets.
The federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which were first issued in 1980 and are updated every five years, recommend that people limit their saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of total calories. The guidelines encourage people to replace butter, cream and tropical oils with the unsaturated fats in soybean, corn, olive and canola oils. And they also advise people to choose low-fat or nonfat dairy foods instead of cheese and whole milk, allowing them to get the vitamins and minerals in milk without the saturated fat.

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