If you’ve seen Fat Head, you know I’m no fan of the American Heart Association, which has been one of the leaders of anti-saturated-fat hysteria ever since Ancel Keys joined their board of directors. I’ve heard rumors that they’re changing their tune on saturated fat … but if so, you certainly can’t tell by reading their web site. Here are some dietary guidelines I pulled from the site today:
- Fiber-rich whole grains: At least three 1-ounce-equivalent servings a day
- Saturated fat: Less than 7% of total energy intake
Eat your mutant grains and avoid saturated fats, folks. And in case those general guidelines aren’t enough for you, they also offer specific shopping advice:
- Select fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk.
- Choose fat-free, low-fat or reduced-fat cheeses.
- Use egg whites or egg substitutes instead of egg yolks. (Substitute two egg whites for each egg yolk in recipes that call for eggs.)
- Choose soft margarines that contain “0 grams trans fat” instead of buying butter. (These margarines usually come in tubs.)
- Choose cuts of red meat and pork labeled “loin” and “round”; they usually have the least fat.
- Buy “choice” or “select” grades of beef rather than “prime,” and be sure to trim off the fat before cooking.
- When buying or eating poultry, choose the leaner light meat (breasts) rather than the fattier dark meat (legs and thighs). Try the skinless version or remove the skin yourself.
- When you must use oils for cooking, baking or in dressings or spreads, choose the ones lowest in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol — including canola oil, corn oil, olive oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil.
- Stay away from palm oil, palm kernel oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter. Even though they are vegetable oils and have no cholesterol, they’re high in saturated fats.
Great advice: skip most of the fats created by Mother Nature and go for the chemically-processed frankenfats instead. Yes, the key to heart health is to buy a tub of canola-oil margarine. That’s why heart disease was at such a screamingly high rate 100 years ago – we didn’t have the industrial technology back then to extract gray, foul-smelling oily mush from rapeseeds and turn it into dedeodorized, artificially-colored, artificially-flavored margarine.
Naturally, the site also encourages shoppers to look for the Heart Association’s seal of approval, which they’ll happily put on any low-fat processed grain food if the manufacturers are willing to pony up the license fee.
Thanks to their lousy advice, I believe the quacks at the American Heart Association have caused more heart attacks than they’ve prevented. So imagine my amusement when I received this email at my job:
Lace up your sneakers and please make plans to join us on Saturday, October 1, for the Heart Walk — the American Heart Association’s premiere event that brings communities together to raise funds and celebrate progress in the fight against this country’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers, heart disease and stroke. This year’s walk will start at Vanderbilt University at 8 AM with fun activities planned throughout the day for you and your family members – even your four-legged family members! And we have a month of fun activities leading up to the Heart Walk including those listed below. More specific information regarding each will be provided closer to time.
September 5 – heart sale:
We will sell hearts for a nominal donation that can be made in memory or honor of a loved one, and the hearts will be posted in the break room for the month of September. All donations will be contributed to American Heart Association.
Awesome idea. We should definitely post the names of everyone who died of a heart attack while following the AHA’s dietary advice. Sort of a wall of shame.
September 12 — lunch and learn: Hosted by American Heart Association.
Lunch? Too bad it’s not breakfast … then we could all snarf down some Frosted Mini-Wheats or one of the other sugary cereals that sport the AHA’s seal of approval.
September 19 — health fair:
American Heart Association will participate in our annual health fair, scheduled for September 21, by hosting an informative booth. Be sure to stop by!
Only if I’m carrying a concealed weapon. But wait … here’s the best activity of all … wait for it …
September 26 — bake sale:
Team members are encouraged to bring in baked goods that will be sold for a nominal amount, with all proceeds donated to American Heart Association. Get creative and bring in copies of your recipe if you’re willing to share. Heart healthy recipes encouraged, but not required!
Now you’re talking. Bring in some sugary grain-based foods and sell them, then give the money to the American Heart Association so they can do a better of job of telling us to eat more grains.
But since heart-healthy recipes are encouraged, maybe I’ll participate after all. I’ll bring a big pan of baked bacon.