For decades, nutritionists have advocated a diet low in fat. But investigative journalist Nina Teicholz says that recommendation is based on a single, faulty study. In her book “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet,” Teicholz says America’s obsession with diets low in fat and high in carbohydrates has actually made us fatter and less healthy. Teicholz is a former NPR reporter and has written for The New Yorker, The Economist and The New York Times.

Can a High-Fat Diet Be Good for You? 6 August,2014forum

Nina Teicholz, investigative journalist and author of "The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet"

  • ES Trader

    Animal rights issues aside, in finance and investing the rule of thumb is, “no risk, no gain” and ” if it seems too good to be true, it probably is “.

    With respect to your guest this sounds like it and the bottom line is consuming dairy products and meat is cruel and unhealthy for the creatures that produce them as well as add to environmental damages.

    • nobliss

      You stated the real point but ran over it…”Investing” The meat and butter/cheese that we ate pre-40’s was a natural part of our diet. Big food biz replaced the food we had eaten for centuries (animal fat, animals, animal by-products) with vegetable oils, corn products, etc. Remember the absolute terror back in the 70’s and 80’s about “Tropical Oils” ie., coconut oil? Coconut oil was smeared by the seed oil lobby (corn, etc) but when you do any real investigation of it, it turns out it is very healthy.

      • nobliss

        Wow…shortly after posting this I heard their same take on tropical oils. Our real problem is that marketing/lobbying / big agra biz has, in their honest attempts to grow more food for the billions on the planet, also skewed things in their direction. That doesn’t mean that all the “healthy” things we’ve eaten in the past are not, in some way, environmentally unsustainable.

    • maria

      Why put animals rights issues aside? These should be in the forefront and I think people just want to keep justifying their appetite for meat, despite the obvious cruelty.

      • ES Trader

        I agree, what I meant is exclude from equation of whether high fat is healthy only , commented without diligence to wording

  • L A

    This is from the blurb about the book from the link above:
    “For decades, Americans have cut back on red meat and dairy products full
    of “bad” saturated fats. We obediently complied with nutritional
    guidelines to eat “heart healthy” fats found in olive oil, fish, and
    nuts, and followed a Mediterranean diet heavy on fruits, vegetables, and
    grains. Yet the nation’s health has declined”
    I question this. I think we ate more carbs, mostly unrefined, and all sorts of polyunsaturated oils that aren’t good for us. We also ate trans-fats. We ate processed foods that used sugar to make up for the omitted fats.

    I look forward to hearing the audio of this Forum later today. I think the blurb may not represent the author’s actual views. The incomplete first sentence in the blurb set the tone for its accuracy. Proofreaders unite!

    • ES Trader

      We is not all inclusive, try visiting a In-Out Burger

      • L A

        Have always heard good things about In and Out burgers. Never had one. Don’t do fast food except Chipotle.
        Don’t understand your comment as a reply to mine except you are being clever which is fine.
        My point was most Americans did NOT follow a Mediterranean diet and maybe if they had the results would have been different.

        • ES Trader

          I concur apology if I misinterpreted your comment. Im a vegetarian but I stopped at In’Out for my Mom last weekend and the line rivaled CMG except their drive-thru was also very long too

          • L A

            My 92 year old mother loves In-N-Out but is on a low salt diet so we avoid it. I make her grass-fed beef burgers which she smothers with catsup. haha
            Had to look up CMG–never saw the acronym before.

          • ES Trader

            its the ticker symbol for Chipotle, which has been a monster stock since the W Recession in ’09

  • Elizabeth Finkler

    I lost my faith in dietary buzzwords the day I saw a bag of gumdrops labeled “FAT FREE.”

    • maria

      They are fat free but they are 100% sugar, and excess sugar in the bloodstream turns into fat.

  • ldemelis

    The problem is we replaced high-fat products, which are bad for you, with highly-processed junk food that replaced most of the fat calories with sugar, which turned out to be even worse. That suggests we should all eat less junk food. It doesn’t mean that butter is good for you.

    • L A

      Very little junk food contains butter. It is too expensive. I know of only a few kinds of cookies and one cracker (Akmak) that contain butter. So many cookies and crackers have partially hydrogenated oils (trans-fats).

  • ES Trader

    Hasn’t it always been “common sense” that fried foods, particularly deep frying was not healthy.

    As far as the change in American diets over the past generation and the continued over weight of Americans, “we” is not all inclusive and any visit to the buffet type restaurants will reveal a gathering of obesity, or a visit to In-Out Burger shows no lack of appetite for fat.

    Its like the growing wealth gap, the better educated and sophisticated have benefited from assets invested in the Dow wheras most of the 99% have not. To judge by average is not accurate. Why are Japanese age expectancy so high for instance, it’s low red meat high seafood and vegetable diet?

    Just considering the teeth structure of humans vs predators is self evident

    • Mom4in4

      Actually it hasn’t always been common sense. It’s an idea that’s been pushed on us for the last 50 years with a serious lack of scientific evidence. The fat in red meat actually contains over 50% monounsaturated fat…. the kind that has been found to be beneficial to us.

      • ES Trader

        Re-read my comment, I said fried foods not meat.

        But as long as you bring up red meat consumption, ask yourself if human teeth were designed thru evolution to tear thru skin and eat flesh or do they more resemble herbivores for grinding?

        But you choose.

      • maria

        Untrue – saturated animal fat blocks arteries. The beef industry wants you to think otherwise.

  • Lena Brook

    Fats absolutely belong in a healthy diet. Especially when they come from quality food sources that are sustainably produced. Unfortunately, too many people lack access to such food. We have to be careful as we debunk one myth – that low-fat is best – that t the pendulum doesn’t swing to the opposite direction where suddenly fats are the rage. The devil is obviously in the details. And junk food/processed food is the culprit in either case.

    • Menelvagor

      Some fat. Not Burgers and steaks and McDonalds, and donuts and krispy Krme and Burger king and Hardees and KFC and……..and potatoe chips, pringles, cheessits, and doritoes and hohos and twinkies… sorry-No. A little while milk cheese and eggs is good but not _NOT at the the proportions Americans eat it–sorry, jus tnot true. This woman is shamelessly shilling for big Ag corporations. Because they are under threat from enlightened americans. Eat more fruit and veggies. And lots of herbs–organic of course–nothing less. Avoid Monsanto and all pesticides and GM. Your food bill is killing you. Write your corporate representatives. And definitely eat like a Mediterranean. And dont buy this shills book. Never Palm oil. Eat less bread. make your cereal–dont buy it.

      the mass media never quits.. you people are a joke. Hey lets all go have a smoke and by and SUV

  • Guest

    Palm Oil is destroying natural habitats of the Orangutan!!! It’s a horrible product ecologically speaking!!! BOYCOTT PALM OIL!!!!!!

    • Hugh

      Right on. Nut & chocolate spreads, and other products that use Palm oil are leading directly to native habitat and entire jungles to be cut down. The Orangutan and other animals are suffering the consequences.

      Customers should look at food products on their shelves. If they see Palm Oil
      a) Return it to the store they bought it from; b) Call both the Store and the Manufacturer and tell them what they’re doing; c) Stop buying such products in future.

  • bluesgal

    What about ghee (clarified butter) and grape seed oil for deep frying and stir frying with?

  • Jessica Sobeck

    Thank you Phil for calling in that awareness of Palm oil!! I was just emailing about being aware of what foods are also environmentally sound. I don’t agree with the author about finding out what foods we can eat first, then figuring out what is good for the environment. People need to be aware of what they are putting in their bodies for health AND how it impacts the world. Blindly listening to whatever is put in front of us and being so removed from our food and how it affects us and others is a major problem that needs to change.

    • Hugh

      Both should be done at the same time! The author has her point but stating that we need to know about nutritional factors first or before we do anything about the environment is environmentally irresponsible. They might be separate but related subjects, but they ARE related and BOTH can be done together.

      After all, if something is healthy does that justify causing the extinction of a species? I think not!

  • Julian

    Great program so far. It should also be stated that in 1977, when the American Heart Association released the first Dietary Guidelines for Americans advocating for the reduction of fat and increase of carbohydrates, American obesity also began to rise. Obesity begins increasing precisely at 1977–when people start adopting a high carb, low fat diet:

  • Cathy

    What are your guests thoughts about diets like the Paleo diet which seems excessive.

    • meshcount

      Paleo CAN be excessive, people like to point out how extreme it can get, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve been on paleo for about a month — weight is dropping, I’m running faster, energy levels no longer dip during the day. Paleo does not require lots of red meat, I consume about 1/2 lb a month. I buy a whole chicken weekly and bake it, eggs, nuts, lots of vegetables, fruit, coffee, and coconut-based oatmeal make up the rest of my foods.

  • bluesgal

    What about ghee ( clarified butter ) and grape seed oil for deep frying and stir frying?

  • tacoboy

    My reading of the literature shows the primary issue is the processing of foods. Ms. Teicholz contention that food companies have trouble creating shelf-stable foods and what fats to use to achieve that is, in my opinion, deeply flawed. Human health is best served by eating fresh, unprocessed foods. To quote Michael Pollen, “if it doesn’t spoil, it’s not FOOD!”. Why would Ms. Teicholz not focus on the hazards of shelf-stable products versus fresh food / home cooked meals?

  • Mylena Dominguez

    I am a Registered Dietitian (RD) and for years I was taught the traditional dogma that saturated fat caused heat disease. I even became a vegetarian just like the guest. Thankfully, I met an RD that new about all what Nina is arguing. Now I believe in traditional diets that include whole fat dairy and meat. However, I think it’s important to talk about the quality of fats, that is, the difference between animals raised in factory farms and animals raised in pasture. Can the guest comment on this?

    • Lisa Wade

      Animal Dairy is not a natural food for humans. Cows do not produce milk unless they are pregant or lactating. When the calves are weaned they stop producing. All of our milk including grass fed, organic etc. comes from cows who are constantly kept pregnant (very unnatural situation). How can it be healthy for humans to drink milk that even calves only drink while very young. This is the reason so many people have issues with dairy. we arre supposed to drink human milk only until we are weaned.

      • Another Mike

        Wheat flour is not a natural food for dogs yet they can eat it, processed into biscuits.

  • Chris Routh

    Everything this author is saying fits with my personal experience after two and a half years of doctor-supervised high-fat diets under San Francisco-based physician Thomas Cowan, M.D. Along with nutritionist Sally Fallon, Dr. Cowan has published many articles online on his website and through the Weston Price Foundation, who was an early 20th century European who documented how very healthy our societies were before processed and refined foods were introduced. Meat and especially high fat dairy like butter was the key to healthy bones, teeth and overall health.

    • maria

      Huh!….read my comment Chris – you’re fooling yourself.

      • Chris Routh

        Sure Maria. My mistake. I’m wrong. The author and investigative journalist Nina Teicholz who did nine years of research is wrong. My doctor is wrong. Weston Price was wrong. And just about everyone else who posted comments today is wrong- according to you. You’re the only one who knows anything here…

        • maria

          I know a lot and eventually it will all be widely known. You think ingesting miserable animals is good for you? There’s absolutely no way that adds up…….hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, animals eating other ground animals: (hello Mad Cow?)….saturated fat……why don’t you have your body scanned for artery blockage?? I don’t care if you think I’m a know-it-all — maybe I am and then you’re out of luck right? Research can be skewed any old way you like depending on who the backers are and YES MDs are not Gods and do not know all. I know the truth is hard to swallow but for me it’s a lot easier than swallowing dead animals.

        • maria

          btw of course i agree with you that processed foods are awful for health too and that adds hugely to health issues. People used to add regular fresh foods to their meals but now rely on processing. The fresh foods counteract part of the damaging effects of meat. Animals are not farmed the way they were 50-100 years ago, and the meat, if it ever had any nutritional value, is now factory farmed and poisonous.

  • Rozalina Gutman

    Can you, please, talk more about the low boiling temperature of olive oil that makes it very dangerous for cooking, due to the high danger of process of hydrogenation for heart disease. (I was glad to learn about that in a consultation with the revered researcher Beverly Rubik.) Many cooking shows recommend using olive oil for cooking, giving a prescription of heart problem.
    Rozalina Gutman
    Розалина Григорьевна Гутман

  • Anup

    What are the options for a high fat, high fiber, low simple carbs plant based diet ? Will it help with reducing triglycerides ?

  • Mike M

    Are there any health benefits for osteoporosis? My 61-year-old wife recently suffered a hip fracture. Surprisingly the ED physician recommended a high-fat diet but I worry about the cardiovascular risk

    • maria

      Regarding Osteoporosis: Beef is especially high in Phosphorus. Several studies suggest that higher intakes of
      phosphorus are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. As
      the amount of phosphorus you eat rises, so does the need for calcium. The
      delicate balance between calcium and phosphorus is necessary for proper bone
      density and prevention of osteoporosis.It’s a LIE that any meat products are good for the human body.

  • maria

    Without hearing this discussion, the photo and blurb implies that animal fat is good for you which is a totally ignorant idea if that’s what’s being discussed. The good fats are essentially fatty acids, omega 3s and 6s from avocados, nuts & seeds, olive and flax oils, and perhaps some fish and goat milk products. Ideally there would be zero animal fats in our diet but the WORST of all the fats in the American diet are the TRANS FATS. Wherever you read “paritally hydrogenated oil,” that means that the item contains trans fat which is an artificial fat comparable to eating cement except that it also destroys cells so it not only clogs arteries and causes heart failure and diabetes but it can also cause cancer. It is banned in Europe. That should tell us something! Wake up people! If this discussion is about adding hamburgers and cheese to your diet then it’s obviously a grab for media attention by the author, nothing more than that and that’s pitiful.

  • Janice Meerman

    As a consultant for the Food and Agriculture Organization of
    the UN, and a graduate of UC Berkeley’s Schools of Public Policy and Public
    Health (the latter with a concentration in
    Nutrition), I found the comment your
    speaker made earlier re. 1st defining what is “healthy” for the
    American public and only then addressing
    the environmental /ecological implications of business-as-usual food systems
    irresponsible. This approach implies ignoring
    the devastating impacts of palm oil monocropping, industrial beef and dairy
    enterprise, and other harmful agricultural practices. The implications of an
    approach are to “eat first and worry later”. Even if red meat is good for us,
    the opportunity costs of producing it on a mass scale as per the status quo are

    • maria

      I also think ignoring the implications for factory farmed animals implies a complete lack of knowledge and/or empathy on the part of people. These animals live in misery before they’re slaughtered and then meat eaters eat all of the stress hormones: the cortisol and adrenaline released by these poor creatures! It’s so inhumane what “we” do for a buck. The meat producers have no conscience whatsoever. Why do you think all of these virus outbreaks are due to animal consumption: MAD COW disease, AVIAN flu (birds), SWINE flu (pigs), and now EBOLA (from monkeys!)………………….sure let’s keep the lies coming and the meat producers rich and the people dying.

    • Whamadoodle

      I share people’s concerns about the WAYS palm oil, beef and dairy are produced, regarding orangutan habitats and rainforest devastation in the case of palm oil, and other environmental concerns in the case of the other two.

      However, you may have heard the author mention that these were simply out of the scope of her work. She wanted initially just to publish the results of her and others’ research on nutrition. I think that the environmental implications of current food production are important, but maybe she’s just not an expert in that? On the other hand, your post seems to imply that we shouldn’t even discover what’s healthy for us in the first place. I think that’s a VERY important question.

      Think of beef and dairy production, at least (I’ll leave out palm oil for the moment, so for the sake of argument, let’s say we can do without that), like mining: there have indisputably been terrible effects from the WAYS mining has been conducted. However, anyone wanting to slam the brakes on it would have to acknowledge that everything from the eyelets on their shoes, to the metal in their buildings, to their bicycle parts, came from mines. Improvements, though, are welcome; with respect, since you ARE more expert in these questions, is anything preventing you from writing a book of your own?

      • maria

        My concerns are primarily with the horrendous treatment of animals who are at our mercy. If we farmed them humanely and let them live in a natural environment and then killed them swiftly, I still wouldn’t like it but it would be an improvement over the complete lack of compassion, empathy, respect, etc… that we have for these beings. It sickens me that people can be so cruel. Absolutely sickens me.

  • Olysan

    Please, all this nutrition information just gets people more confused and makes authors rich. Eat vegetables, and different types of meats as well as fruits. EVERYTHING IN MODERATION. All you need to do is stay in 3 sections of the supermarket: produce, dairy, meats and you’ll be fine. Cook at home don’t open up a can or package. It’s simple.

  • maria

    You might think you’re doing yourself some good by eating meats and cheeses now because it’s a temporary fix for weight loss but just wait a few years and have your arteries checked for blockages and you’ll be in for an unfortunate surprise. The best diet from loads of research IS the Mediterranean diet: lots of green vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, olive oil, spices, etc…. It’s just that it requires a bit of effort and I guess that’s the rub. People want an easy fix.

  • Tamara

    What about weight loss programs, such as Weight Watchers? I am following the tracking points plan, and am by choice eating fewer carbohydrates but also eat low protein and limited fats. I am losing weight on this plan. What does your guest know about this kind of program.

    • Julian

      You will always lose weight on a calorie-deficient (eating less than you burn) diet. While your weight will go down, you may introduce other health issues if you don’t consume a healthy ratio of whole fats, carbohydrates, and proteins–especially if you are not eating whole, natural foods.

      • maria

        Julian’s reply is 100% correct. Just because you’re losing weight doesn’t mean you’re getting healthier or doing your body, skin, brain, heart ANY good.

  • Joseph Ortiz

    several years ago I participated in a nutrition study for Children’s Hospital of Oakland Research Institute.the study had me on a high milk fat diet for 16 weeks. The purpose was to monitor cholesterol. At the end of the study I had lost 20 lbs and my cholesterol had improved. Apparently some people produce a kind of cholesterol that is unaffected by milk fat. So I’m the poster child for a high fat and low carb diet being healthier.

    • maria

      They are finding now through studies that just because cholesteral is low does not mean your arteries are healthy and free of plaque. MDs are not caught up yet. They’re only now starting to teach nutrition in medical schools.

  • Another Mike

    There has been no genetic manipulation of dairy animals. Ordinary breeding techniques does not constitute genetic manipulation.

    • Usedtobelieve

      I think what the caller meant to say was that animals raised for milk and for meat are feed GMO corn (maybe other grains too). This is not natural food for cows…

      • lonelymoa

        there are no other GE grains. Cattle do best on pasture products.

        • Usedtobelieve

          I agree they do best in the pasture, but who knows all the “stuff” that may be fed to them…. The pasture is the only food that is natural to them!

  • maria

    Regarding Osteoporosis: Beef is especially high in Phosphorus. Several studies suggest that higher intakes of
    phosphorus are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. As
    the amount of phosphorus you eat rises, so does the need for calcium. The
    delicate balance between calcium and phosphorus is necessary for proper bone
    density and prevention of osteoporosis.It’s a LIE that any meat products are good for the human body.

    • Another Mike

      Consider the Inuit and the Sami. What shortens their lifespan is not their all-meat diet, but injuries and suicides among the men, and smoking-induced diseases among the wormen.

  • kathy

    She sounds similar to Gary Taubes and his “Why We Get Fat” and “Good Calories, Bad Calories”

  • LaurenAyers

    Weston A. Price, DDS, wrote Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, published in 1939, which reports on his 10 years of traveling to 14 communities where the people were incredibly healthy: Northwest Indians, indigenous Australians, the Outer Hibrides Islands, the Loetschberg Valley in Switzerland, the Wakamba tribe in Africa, and others. These groups no longer consume their traditional diet because of the expansion of processed foods, but he found them eating what their ancestors had eaten.

    Even in the Swiss village, where the children had green slime on their teeth because they didn’t brush, there were no cavities.

    Sally Fallon helped bring more awareness to Dr. Price’s great research when she co-founded The Weston A. Price Foundation (local doctor Tom Cowan, MD, was another co-founder) with her book Nourishing Traditions, which includes directions for the food Dr. Price advocated:
    Fermented foods

    Butter, cream, lard, etc.
    Organ meat
    Bone marrow
    Raw Milk
    Lots of veggies
    Very low added sugar
    Pre-soaked seeds and grains (to remove phytates that block absorption of nutrients)

    There are chapters of the Weston Price Foundation in all the counties in the Bay Area where people can meet others who care about nutrient-dense foods. Many people with ailments or who want to raise healthy children, or to boost nutrition during pregnancy have benefited from Dr. Price’s work. Chapters can be located at

  • Maida Taylor

    I do agree that high refined carb diet has poisoned the US population for the past 30 years, and shows that one cannot cut saturated fat and substitute refined carbs. But keeping all other variables stable, sat fat unequivocally increases vascular disease rates, cancer rates, etc. Citing data from isolated populations like Japanese dairy farmers, or the Masai, or Eskimo populations with high sat fat intake does not account for the very high levels of physical activity and calorie expenditure in these groups.

    • Whamadoodle

      Well surely the French aren’t an “isolated population,” but they have high saturated-fat consumption, but low incidence of heart disease, don’t they?

      • maria

        The red wine helps but they still have heart disease from all of the animals they eat.

        • Whamadoodle

          In fact, they have a low amount of heart disease.

  • maria

    Sorry if I’m overdoing the comments here but regarding olive oil and other healthy oils: when sauteeing, add a little water so that the oil doesn’t heat up to very high temperatures. The best way to eat healthy oils is AFTER steaming/cooking vegetables, you add it on top, such as on salads, etc….this way the fatty acids are retained and not damaged by the heat. It’s simple really. Look up Robin Keuneke’s book on Total Breast Health, written in 1997. It’s the best book ever on nutrition! And No i’m not related to Robin Keuneke.

  • The ONLY time I ever gained any amount of excess weight was when I was a vegan for 6 long and tedious years during and after university. I went from 6′ tall, 132 lbs (I’m a female), my current weight, which hasn’t otherwise changed in the 25 years after university, to a chunky 175 lbs. I’m an excellent cook (tooting my own horn a bit) raised by an excellent cook, and food is very important to me–an intrinsic part of my inner happiness. I tried many approaches to “gourmetizing” a vegan diet, employing my arsenal of vegetable, tofu, and whole-grain cooking skills, but found myself with nearly obsessive cravings for my beloved meats and cheeses that led to overeating, constant worry about getting “enough” vegan food, and the depressing weight gain.

    In my exploration of veganism, I also encountered the too-common phenomenon of the chubby “junk-food vegan” who subsists largely on highly processed meat and dairy analogues. I myself was never fond of fake meat and cheese–they weren’t even close to the satisfaction of the high-quality “real thing”, and I limited my processed intake to tofu.

    I now eat meat and dairy, with as much butter and full-fat dairy products as I desire. (IMO, low-fat dairy products, especially low-fat yogurt and cheese, are a huge waste of food calorie space and valuable gustatory enjoyment. Full-fat Fage greek yogurt and a nice wedge of Stilton are essential to my dietary pleasure.) My total meat and dairy consumption turns out to be a rather moderate amount–maybe two meat-dominant meals a week, and I use meat as more of a flavor device in most meals.

    But I simply allow myself to eat whatever and whenever I like until I am just sated, not full; lots of small snacks/meals throughout the day. I was raised with excellent nutrition, so this dining approach comes quite naturally. In contrast, the entire time I was very restrictive and eating the vegan diet, I found it very difficult to listen to my body and eat with a natural appetite. Very rich cheeses and dairy, and high-quality, protein-dense meats immediately signal fullness to my body; they are very easy to eat with moderation. And voila, my cholesterol is pretty darned good: LDL-68; HDL-92; TRI-G: 117. (I do “cheat” a bit with daily fish oil supplements, and psyllium husks.)

    The whole paleo craze is interesting, but it’s another restrictive diet that would most likely result in cravings for grain-based carbs. MODERATION, of food groups and portion sizes–that’s the key to my dietary existence.

  • korny249

    Fat has been vilified for close to three generations so expect it to take a long time turn the wheel around, but it is clearly happening. Carbohydrates was the problem, not (natural) fat.

  • Another Mike

    From what I have read about the changing American diet over the years, the biggest change was an abrupt drop in egg consumption after the 1950s. I wonder where eggs fit in this puzzle.

  • maria

    I also think ignoring the implications for factory farmed animals implies a complete lack of knowledge and/or empathy on the part of people. These animals live in misery before they’re slaughtered and then meat eaters eat all of the stress hormones: the cortisol and adrenaline released by these poor creatures! It’s so inhumane what “we” do for a buck. The meat producers have no conscience whatsoever. Why do you think all of these virus outbreaks are due to animal consumption: MAD COW disease, AVIAN flu (birds), SWINE flu (pigs), and now EBOLA (from monkeys!)………………….sure let’s keep the lies coming and the meat producers rich and the people dying.

  • Lisa Wade

    Many studies show the negative effects of a diet high in animal products including a recent study linking animal protein with increased cacer rates

    Also, the clinical evidence clearly shows that vegans have much lower rates of heart disease and diabetes. Anyone can do a simple search to find these peer reviewed studies.

    The effects of animal agriculture on the planet are devistating. It was very irresponsible of Nina to say that the environmental concerns can wait. This shows that she has no answer to these critical time sensative concerns.

    Here is an interesting article on a Harvard study

    • Whamadoodle

      Agreed, as I mention below, that it is important to address the environmental impact of meat production. I also find it essential to raise food animals in humane conditions, such as free-range farms do.

      However, the Scientific American link you provide shows increased cancer rates _for some age groups only_. It specifically says that this is true of high-protein diets in middle-aged people, but that for older people, this sort of diet made them LESS likely to die of cancer. The study’s authors recommend moderate protein intake (high protein means 20% or more of one’s calories coming from protein, whereas moderate protein means 10-19%, and low protein 0-9%), with most of the protein coming from vegetables. It’s important that you cite studies like these, but it’s also very important not to distort what they say. The object should be to arrive at the truth.

      • Lisa Wade

        In regards to the study, I didn’t distrot anything. I put the study up for people to see themselves.
        I think your comment is distorting things by trying to get away from the basic conclusion of the study which is that a mediterranean diet is the best for longevity.
        The study states that older people should have more protein compared with middle aged folks who should have low amounts. However, even middle aged people can eat moderate or high amounts of protein as long as it is plant protein and not animal protein. It is animal protein that is the problem. Therefore, even older people can get their protein from plant sources and be healthier.
        Also, the findings are dramatic with animal protein being as dangerous as smoking.

        As far as raising animals humanely. That is very tricky. Free range is not nearly as glamarous as the industry would have you believe and is often an outright lie. If you are going to eat meat, then please do eat the most humane meat you can find. However, realize that there really is no humane meat. I can’t list all of the abuse here but will list just a few. Humanely raised male pigs are always castrated without anesthesia. Free range birds are almost always cooped up in tight indoor spaces with a tiny outdoor area that they can’t access. They are debeaked without anesthesia. All male calves born in any dairy (even free range or family farms) are sold off to the very cruel veal industry. Male calves are born every year since females must be pregnant to produce milk.
        All male chicks are killed upon hatching. Usually they are ground up alive, sometimes they are smothered as they are piled up in trash cans. This applies even to so called free range facilities since the males can not lay and are of no use to the farmer.
        It is just not profitable to keep animals in a humane way.
        I suggest reading The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat by Hope Bohanec to find out much more.

        Beyond the animal wellfare issues, there is not enough space to have free range animals anyway. The world population is increasing rapidly and we would need more than 3 planet earths to free range all the animals. It is just not sustainable, which is why Bill Gates invested in Beyond Meat a plant based alternative to the meat that is destroying our planet.
        It would be better to eat plant fats like nuts, avocados, olives etc. if we want to increase our fat intake.

        • Whamadoodle

          Well yes, but saying “Many studies show the negative effects of a diet high in animal products including a recent study linking animal protein with increased cacer rates,” and nothing else about it, implies that the study reported ONLY increased cancer rates, whereas in truth it reported increased cancer rates for middle-aged people, but DECREASED rates for older people.

          Also, although the study’s authors concluded that people should get MOST of their protein from vegetable protein, they didn’t advise getting ALL of it from vegetable protein, only most (i.e., more than 1/2).

          As to humanely raising meat, I am satisfied that there are producers who don’t represent the horror story you’re giving me about it. They are out there, and it is possible to do.

          As to whether it’s sustainable, I agree that our resource consumption isn’t sustainable, but 1) I think this applies to other foods besides meats, and to water, for that matter, and 2) is largely because of our own overpopulation. Again, though, I agree that LESS meat consumption makes for greater sustainability, although neither I nor the human race are prepared to be entirely vegetarian at the moment, so it is probably silly to argue.

          • Lisa Wade

            There is much more I could say about the study but I will focus on the animal issues and environmental issues. I used to think like you that it is possible to buy humane animal products however I learned better. Again I suggest you read The Ultimate Betrayal:Is there Happy Meat? by Hope Bohanec. You clearly have not researched the issue of “humane meat, eggs, and dairy” when you are educated on the issue we can have a conversation.
            Same with the environmental issues. I suggest reading Comfortably Unaware by Richard Oppenlander. I could explain if I had time, but I don’t have the time. Others have written books that would be eye opening for you. I know that you have good intentions. Like I said, I used to feel that way too, but in all fairness you must educate yourself if you are going to consume these products.

          • Whamadoodle

            Thanks Lisa, I appreciate the reading recommendations. I certainly agree that it’s important to educate oneself further (and I haven’t read those particular books, though you seem to be assuming a lot of unfounded things about what I have or haven’t read–I have certainly read about the conditions that you describe, and don’t doubt that they exist in factory farming, but have also observed other conditions on farms near me, that simply don’t bear out what you’re claiming, that it is true for ALL farms).

            But in that same vein, as far as your own self-education, I would ask: have you visited the farms that advertise themselves as humane? A lot can be gained from reading, but not everything. I grew up in a place where occasionally you would see many farmers at work (though not factory farms, which, as mentioned, I don’t agree with). Without ever visiting the farms that advertise themselves as humane, a claim to be far better “educated on the issue” than I am seems a little bit arrogant, although I see that you don’t mean to be. On the other hand, if you have made such visits, I’m open and interested to hear what your experience was there?

          • Lisa Wade

            I’m glad to hear that you are skeptical. The best thing for you would be to call your local humane farms and ask some key ?s.

            I have done a lot of research on this and have visited farms looking for humane alternatives and have been unable to find any. That was when I decided to give up animal products about 7 months ago. So very recently I was just like you a concerned, compassionate consumer looking for a humane way to consume animals.

            Visiting local farms is great, but there is a lot that happens behind the scenes and it is improtant to know the right kinds of ?s to ask that will reveal the hidden abuse.

            I would suggest you call you dairy and ask

            1.How often do you impregnate your cows?

            They will say every year.

            2. Do you seperate the baby calves form the mothers?

            They will say yes because they need to sell the milk not feed it to the babies. BTW The mother cows bellow in distress for days after losing their babies. It is heart breaking to hear.

            3. What do you do with the male calves?

            They will say we sell them at auction.

            This means they will be sold to the very cruel veal industry. No one else is in the market for male calves.

            So the cows we see grazing “happily” on the rolling hills are exhausted, constantly pregnant grieving mothers who will be killed themselves at 3 to 4 years to become hamburger meat.

            Also, these “humane” farms directly supply the veal industry .

            If you are able to find a dairy that does not send the male calves to auction please let me know. The veal industry does not even have a humane alternative, it is inherently one of the most cruel of factory farming practices.

            As far as a free range egg farm. I would call and ask.

            1.What do you do with your male chicks?

            They kill them.

            2.Ask how they kill them.

            Most are ground alive at hatcheries. If they tell you they get their chicks from a hatchery you can be sure they are ground alive or suffocated in garbage cans. you can call the hatchery to confirm .

            I could write so much more but that’s all i have time for now. Here is a link to a talk called The Humane Hoax. It is the 2nd talk. It will give you much info faster than reading a book. I still recommend reading the book though.


            Of course if you do buy animal products it’s still way better to buy from the more “humane” farms although they are full of hidden abuse they are still much less abusive than factory farms.

          • Whamadoodle

            Thanks for the thoughtful responses, Lisa. I will start by looking into the books that you recommended. I think you are a good spokesperson for what you’re trying to accomplish, and I would urge you to share your knowledge with people who need to know, even if they’ve done less research than you have. Have a great weekend.

          • Lisa Wade

            Thanks for your kind words and encouragement. Have a great afternoon!

          • maria

            I wish i could be as calm and composed as you are in presenting this information. I know it’s not doing me any good to get so angry but this is absolutely heartbreaking to me and I have little regard for people who do not care.

        • maria

          Yeah Bill Gates!!! I will forever love the guy now. Eventually the rest of the population will catch up, but probably not for another 100 years. Evolution is moving toward more enlightened beings, but it will take a while for sure. I appreciate your input; I get very passionate about this and have no patience for people who don’t get it.

          • Lisa Wade

            Hi Maria,

            Yes, it’s wonderful that people are starting to get it. I realy do think that most people just don’t know the truth about animal agriculture. These industries hide things really well.

            Have you ever listened to Colleen Patrick Goudreau? She has a wonderful, free podcast that discusses these issues and how to share this important info.

            On the health front here is another great study that just came out. Showing that vegetarians and vegans live longer than others.

            I share your pain about the animals and the environment. Let’s do our best to share the truth. We need passionate, compassionate people like you.

  • maria

    Your children defend bacon?? Have you shown them the pictures of pigs trapped in tiny pens, with their vocal chords silenced so the handlers don’t have to deal with the noise they make when they are suffering???? What a short-sited report this is. How about healthy VEGETABLE fats if you want to avoid all carbohydrates even complex carbs?? (which is ridiculous – anyone who knows anything about nutrition knows the body needs carbohydrates as well as fat and protein) What an irresponsible point of view which takes only the human population into consideration! Sure — bring on the Swine flu, Avian Flu, Mad Cow disease, and now Ebola — all related to consumption of animals! We should be so proud of ourselves. You can get all the good fats you want from nuts, seeds, avocados, flax, hemp, and good oils like olive oils. You do not need to eat animals and you certainly shouldn’t be eating animals who were tortured while they lived. I’m really surprised at kqed for not having a more balanced discussion of this issue.

    • Lisa Wade

      Yes, this was a very one sided view point.
      Although thankfully meat consumption has dropped over the past few years, Americans still eat huge amounts of meat. Most eat meat at all meals and this is causing major health problems. Our ancestors were not as obsessed with meat as we are.
      People in Asia have traditionally eaten very little meat. Now days their meat consumtion has increased rapidly and so have their rates of heart disease and diabetes.
      This author has been irresponsible on 3 very important counts:
      1. Leading people down a path that is not balanced or healthy.
      2. Incouraging more meat eating will create an increase in unimaginable suffering for innocent animals.
      3. Animal agriculture is having a devistating effect on the planet. Not just with methane gas but much of the carbon dioxide is created trucking food to animals (many trips) and trucking animals to slaughter. Then finally trucking the meat to stores. Most of the rainforest devistation is caused by clearing land to grow crops to feed livestock.
      The guest said we must figure out health 1st then the environment. Well, there simply isn’t time to put the environmental crisis on hold.

  • Another Mike

    My one friend was concerned about the suffering of all life, so she became a vegan. A dozen years later, she was morbidly obese. Her doctor and she tried everything. Finally he said she had two choices: start eating animal products or prepare for the end.

    She started eating dairy and eggs, with the occasional cheeseburger, and is now merely obese.

  • L A

    I have seen no discussion about grass-fed and pasture-raised animals. The author didn’t mention this topic either. Corn (invariably GMO) is not a natural food for cattle; grass is. Grass-fed beef has more good fatty acids. The E. coli thrive in the gut of corn fed cattle. Not so in grass-fed animals. Pasture-raised chickens (as opposed to free-range) really are outside eating bugs and other stuff and make the healthiest eggs. Chickens are not vegetarians. The companies bragging about vegetarian feed are only trying to reassure you that there are no animal products from other industries in the feed which of course is a good thing.

    Grass-fed cows produce a healthier butter. Can be hard to find. Kerry Gold from Ireland makes grass-fed and best price is $3.19/8 oz at Trader Joe’s. And it tastes really good–much better than regular butter. Seems crazy to import butter from Ireland, I know.

    • lonelymoa

      Buy NZ butter if you can. We pay less than half that and ALL butter is from mainly grass fed cows here.

      • L A

        Will look for it. But you are in NZ it sounds like so of course it will cost less there. Thanks for the tip and good to hear about all the grass fed cows!

        • lonelymoa

          About NZ$ 7/kg here, It’s so good…

          • L A

            That’s about $5.93 US. Is that for a pound? Not really much cheaper than the KerryGold sold here. Surprising.

          • lonelymoa

            7/kg is roughly US$ 3/lb; you paying about six and a half dollars for a pound of highly subsidised product. NZ is very constricted by trade limits as to the product and amounts that we can export to the land of “free trade and laissez faire” capitalism.

  • vfran

    Ms. Teicholz asserts a preponderance of evidence that high fat/high protein diets are good for people. This flies in the face of much evidence to the contrary I have read. Did she not look into T. Colin Campbell’s “China Study”? John McDougall’s on-going research and summaries of research stating high carb/low fat diets have been shown to decrease inflammation, improve immune system functioning, decrease heart disease, etc. The National Institute of Health has studies stating the same. If this person is a journalist – is this good research? Don’t forget that Dr. Atkins – who pedaled the high fat/high protein diet also died and was found to have congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, etc. (I could go on naming MD’s in support of low fat/high carb diets: Joel Fuhrman, MD, Caldwell Esselstyn, MD; Neal Barnard, MD; etc etc. Not to mention that these types of diets are not sustainable – even to the hardest core meat eaters.

  • Pia Christensen

    It’s been interesting to read all the comments, I did listen to the interview today but only partially. I would like to add something as I’m currently studying Ayurveda the old ancient medical science which certainly has caught my attention, we are all so unique and what is good for me may not necessarily be good for you. I would join in and say eat things of good energy (fresh) nothing stressed, don’t be too restrictive in your diet, avoid old stale or processed foods, try to eat regularly, do regular/daily not too straneous activities, limit sress and enjoy life,,, these are things that can result in good health.

  • menloman

    The author seems to have read and re-written Gary Taubes’ book Good Calories Bad Calories. Gary is also a Bay Area author.

    • lonelymoa

      That’s a point I have noted in all the interviews of NT I have heard. She hasn’t really noted that she is standing on he shoulders of science literary giants. Indeed, one of Taubes’ first works was “what If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie”. I have been eating an ancestral style diet since I first read that.

      • L A

        I agree. I was very surprised she did not mention Gary Taubes in the hour long interview.

        • lonelymoa

          I think I recall Jimmy Moore sort of asking her overtly about his influence. She acknowledged same. Interesting how a science journalist put all this together by 2002, but he did, and does, reference his predecessors.

  • rsweetland

    Has anyone considered how systemic the problem of “nutritional science” is? Food companies are in the business of selling food, not making healthy people. Our medical system is compensated for healing sick and (only slightly) for making people healthy. Mix in capital markets, a few public companies (whose goal is shareholder value, not morality), a few lobbiests and some “sponsored” studies, and you have our current situation: Addictive unhealthy food, skyrocketing diabetes and a medical system that costs almost more than any other medical system in the world. Healthy pepole are not nessarily profitable. I hope studies like this continue to shine light on true nutritional breakthroughs.

  • lonelymoa

    I am concerned with the myopic vision of some regarding meat, dairy and tropical oils. I raise beef and lamb wholly on sustainable pasture, as do all beef producers here in NZ. Our dairy producers are slipping in their environmental performance, but no one here is allowed to use growth hormones of prophylactic antibiotics, dairy or beef. We have no farm subsidies here and have become the largest, by country, exporter of dairy products. We also undersell US beef producers in the American market. One contributor to this column seems to have very little knowledge of how dairy husbandry is practiced.

    • Whamadoodle

      Thanks for contributing, lonelymoa–I have reading suggestions from another poster, who believes that it is impossible to have humanely-raised meat and dairy. I am open to reading the books she suggested, and I am convinced of the greater harmful impacts of raising meat on the environment, compared to vegetables. But for alternative points of view, what is your experience of humanely-raised meat? Is it indeed possible to raise meat or dairy without painful 1) confinement, 2) maintaining the constant state of pregnancy for lactation, as posters below say is endemic practice, or 3) practices such as castration of livestock without anaesthesia, or other painful practices?

      I understand that as a producer of livestock, you will have your bias just as everyone here does, but I am interested in whatever facts or perspective you can provide. Also, if you know of reading matter or scientifically-based studies of livestock suffering that we can see, or anything else to bring it out of the anecdotal and your personal experience, and into the realm of the facts of the current practices for your industry, that will be helpful. Thanks again.

      • lonelymoa

        We grow beef. Our animals live on the pasture in a herd. We supplement the pasture in winter with hay harvested from our farm in summer. The beasts have room to run, plenty to eat and companionship of kind.

        We kill them in the pasture. Painless, and non-stressful, for the ones killed and the rest of the herd. Nobody stops eating but ones taking the bullet to the brain.

        No cattle here are grown in feedlots (other than one that’s like a resort for angus to send to Japan) in NZ. Same for sheep. These are outside living creatures. That is what their genes expect.

        As for dairy, cows do need to calve (yearly) to produce milk. Most cows are bred with a meat breed bull here (a dairy cow might be productive for more than a decade) and their prodigy are weaned and sold to people like us that raise them to prime cattle.

        Dairy cattle are free ranging here although a few barns are being built for winter shelter as the national herd grows. No growth hormones or prophylactic antibiotics are allowed. Mistreatment of livestock here brings serious consequences to the offender.

        Castration of sheep and cattle do not seem to be particularly painful for them. Ram lambs and young bulls show little or no discomfort after the process. The painful animal procedure is harvesting antlers for velvet. the deer are anaesthetised by a vet for that,

        • Whamadoodle

          Thanks lonelymoa, I appreciate the response. Where I grew up, there were many people keeping cattle and other livestock, but only a few head; however that may be, I never observed anythinig torturous to the livestock going on.

          I think that in the end, it might be good for me (and probably anybody else) to visit the farms from which my store sources their meat, and we can see for ourselves what the conditions are as well. Thanks again.

        • maria

          If at least this amount of respect were shown for the animals in the U.S., I would feel slightly better about the meat industry. I don’t know why these horrible cattle/pork/poultry producers over here have absolutely no conscience and care nothing about animal suffering nor a thing about human health. They are beyond contempt.

          • lonelymoa

            I don’t condone animal confinement and poor husbandry, but there are many livestock farmers in the US that raise animals with welfare in mind. Grass fed beef, free range pork, free range chickens and eggs, plus a variety of other species is a healthy contribution to the diet. Humans have eaten meat from the beginning; that’s how we evolved.

  • lonelymoa

    The author actually didn’t mention palm oil specifically. Coconut oil is a healthy and tasty “tropical oil” (an ideal source of saturated fat) and seems to be quite a sustainable product.

  • maria

    Only a very few people here have said anything about concern for the animals! If we can’t get Liberals in Northern California to care we’re really in trouble. What is it? Is it seen as too naiive, touchy-feely?? Do you need to see the inside of the slaughter houses in order to feel anything?? WOOOOW!! This just tells me that people who profess to be vegetarians in person are probably lying just to pose as caring people.

  • Danny

    Whether palm oil is good for human is a scientific research matter. This is separate from the discussion of consumption vs environment. One cannot use preference to deny scientific facts about palm oil’s health effect.

  • James Snyder

    In this interview, food critic journalist Nina Teicholz characterized herself as
    going from a vegetarian diet in one breath and in the next breath said
    that she transitioned from her chicken and stir
    fried vegetarian diet to one with lots of meats, cream sauces, and
    cheeses after her experience writing as a food critic in New York. She
    said that she was able to lose those last stubborn 10 pounds on this new
    high fat diet which got her interested in writing
    her book.

    I do not believe that she made the case for her premises on the
    radio show, but perhaps she does a better job in the book. Some of the
    study results that she sites seem to contradict findings from similar
    studies with which I am familiar. Of course, I am also
    biased from weight loss performance of the diet that I adopted, but I
    must say that I lost more than a stubborn 10 pounds on my new diet.

    Teicholz is advocating a diet that is 50% fat, 20% protein and
    restricted in carbohydrates which I suppose means 30% or less. In
    comparison, my whole food plant based diet with nuts and seeds runs
    about 25% fat, 15% protein and 60% carbohydrates. She advocates
    for Trans fats over vegetable oils which are both refined foods in one
    breath and advocates for a diet consisting on whole food in the next.
    She calls meat the perfect food package, but it has no carbohydrates,
    very strange for the perfect food package.

    I believe people like to hear good things about their bad diets so
    her book should do well. Her messaging sounds quite like that of Gary Taubes.
    Perhaps Teicholz should consider renaming her book “The Big Fat Lie: Why Butter,
    Meat and Cheese Should be Part of Your Suicidal

  • Menelvagor

    lets see–do i believe the industry reporter? …. or, scientists? hmmm. hmmmmm. i dont know. Reporter works for mainstream media — corporations owned by food industries (junk food industries)… or scientists. hmmmm. Well, because I’m a bloated fat lumbering processed food saturated American on a processed diet and no fat in my news information–or analysis –as we’ve seen on Palestine — um, yeah, i will believe the reporter working for the junk food industry because she works for corporate person-hood, and corporations never lie–proud to be an American (emm, capitalist), where at least i know corporations control my thoughts on everything…. Thanks for reporting this lady– You’re a true American. Hey kids, lets go to Micky-D’s–its good for us now! Yeaaahhhhh!!!!!!

  • Menelvagor

    She totally dismisses the environmental problems with an almost snide contemptuous tone–if subtle–it was there. She is an abomination.

  • Menelvagor

    now she criticized teachers–maybe she’ll go start a private charter school for rich people sponsored by Monsanto and McDonalds. The host rudely disregarded the child with her haughty elitist tone. Bad form.

  • Paul

    The serious flaw in this argument is that the author defines a low-fat diet as one adhering to the recommendations of the American Heart Association–35 to 40% of daily calories from fat. For decades, Dean Ornish has been saying that the AHA diet is not low-fat. No medical benefit can be expected from such a diet. Ornish has measured actual benefit from a diet with 20% of calories from fat, and he’s observed reversal of arterial deposits from a diet with 10 to 15% of daily calories from fat. Krasny should ask Ornish (whom he knows) to respond to this book’s assertions.

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