Originally posted May 15, 2014.
In a review of Nina Teicholz’s The Big Fat Surprise, Michael R. Eades, M.D. writes that it is perhaps the most important book on nutrition ever written. As Dr. Eades asks, how is it that we went from “a meat-eating, butter-slathering, lard-cooking society to the fat-fearful, heart attack prone, constantly dieting people of today?” Furthermore, we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic, and, even worse, in a diabetes epidemic that is going to spell disaster for our country physically as well as fiscally if it is not reversed. Read more here from Michael Eades about why he feels Nina Teicholz’s The Big Fat Surprise is a life changer.
Based on my own research on Paleolithic man and his diet, I knew that early man ate mainly meat. And the meat he ate wasn’t what we today consider the choice cuts. Not T-bones and tenderloins, but viscera, marrow, brain, and fat pads—all sources of saturated fat were doubtless his foods of choice. I also knew that prior to the early years of the 20th century, heart attacks were rare. So rare, in fact, that they were almost nonexistent. Doctors could go through their entire careers without seeing one.
What I didn’t know was that during this heart-disease-free period, folks in the United States were up to their elbows in animal foods and saturated fat. Same in Great Britain. In fact, people ate more meat then than they do now. But today cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death. (Take a look at these two old papers (clickhere and here) Nina referenced to see the change.)
I had fallen victim to the myth that the agrarian pre 1900s America meant everyone ate grains and vegetables and a smattering of meat when they could get it. As Nina goes to great lengths to point out in The Big Fat Surprise, that ain’t how it was.