The low fat, high carb diet that public health authorities began recommending in the 1980s was supposed to be relatively low in calories, and therefore help people achieve or maintain a healthy weight. Carbohydrates have fewer calories per gram of weight (4) than fat (9) and the same as protein (4). Consuming more carbohydrates than protein or fat was supposed to supply fewer overall calories in the diet and result in a healthy weight. But that’s not what happened. Instead, people have gotten fatter and fatter.
Public health authorities now blame the obesity epidemic on the public not following their advice. Gary Taubes argues that they have followed the advice, and cites food consumption statistics to back this up:
“Consider, for instance, that most reliable evidence suggests that Americans have indeed made a conscious effort to eat less fat, and particularly less saturated fat, since the 1960s. According to the USDA, we have been eating less red meat, fewer eggs, and more poultry and fish; our average fat intake has dropped from 45 percent of total calories to less than 35 percent”
Taubes, Gary (2007-09-25). Good Calories, Bad Calories (Kindle Locations 219-222). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Yet people, including children, have become fatter than ever:
“The prevalence of overweight in children six to eleven years old more than doubled between 1980 and 2000; it tripled in children aged eleven to nineteen.”
Taubes, Gary (2007-09-25). Good Calories, Bad Calories (Kindle Locations 4765-4766). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Why is the high carb, low fat dietary advice just plain wrong? Because it ignores what different types of foods do in the human body. Carbohydrates produce a different biological response than do fats or proteins. Specifically, they produce a response that stores food energy as fat. Fat and protein do not. However, the energy from fat and protein, if eaten in conjunction with carbohydrate, will be swept up in the same process and stored as fat. Eating fat and protein with too much carbohydrate (and for many individuals, “too much” is a very small amount), will make you fat.