December 7, 2016

AHA Treats Press with Poor Food

I needed to reread this article a second time. While this is not meant to be funny, I did laugh out loud and basically at the American Heart Association.

At the recent American Heart Association meeting the press room was well stocked with margarine, skim milk, and sugar. This alone does not say much for the dietary advice the cardiology doctors promote. Most of the time it is very confusing and much of the time it has been wrong.

The author of the article clearly suggests that the health reporters at the AHA meeting in New Orleans may end up as collateral damage. Larry Husten, writer for Medpage Today said, “Breakfast this morning included low-fat cream cheese, margarine, and preserves.”

You won't find much saturated fat. But there's plenty of sugar around. And don't think about putting whole milk or half-and-half into your coffee. So, what's the problem here? It's important to remember that, in its earlier dietary advice, the AHA played a big role in elevating margarine and other trans-fat products over butter and saturated fats, though they are now completely against them. So, the presence of margarine and low-fat cream cheese is a sign of the long-lingering effect of the AHA's past bad advice.

The AHA continues to label saturated fats as "bad" and you won't find butter or whole milk or half-and-half in the pressroom. This decision, the food services people told me, came directly from the AHA. The food service employees were specifically ordered not to serve half-and-half during this meeting. A kind food services employee surreptitiously smuggled out a few half-and-half containers stowed away in the back for the duration of the meeting. The main point here is that there is considerable scientific controversy about this topic, and many nutrition experts now believe that saturated fats pose no danger at all and may even be beneficial.

And then there's the sugar. Many believe the big jump in sugar consumption was an inevitable consequence of the war against saturated fat. More recently, the AHA has focused some of its attention on the dangers of sugar, and it is supporting efforts to tax sugared soda. So, it seems a bit crazy to me that the pressroom bans whole milk and butter but has sugary desserts. (Please note that I am not suggesting that the AHA ban desserts.)

(I'm also told by confidential sources within the AHA -- for now I'll just refer to them as "Deep Stent" -- that there is a secret resistance network active at AHA headquarters in Dallas involving furtive smuggling of half-and-half and butter into the building.)

Note that meat, cheese, butter, and other saturated fats are labelled as "bad." Along with exercise, saturated fats raise HDL, the so-called good cholesterol, although there's a lot of controversy right now about that term.

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