Oh, what a great morning!
The weather is absolutely beautiful in New York City and I wake up to a story from Time Magazine in which Harvard School of Public Health Chair Walter Willett (pictured at left) reminds us what matters most when it comes to weight gain and weight loss -- calories!
I have never been a fan of the scapegoating targeted at specific nutrients.
I do not think eating fat causes people to become fat, nor do I think carbohydrates are sent up on an express elevator from hell.
This is why, if you are a reader of Small Bites, you know that the recipes I share are not "low fat" or "low carb."
"From many kinds of studies conducted over years, we are quite confident now that a calorie from fat will cause a similar amount of weight gain as a calorie from carbohydrate," Willett affirms.
And, no, he isn't pulling this theory out of thin air; there are plenty of studies showing that diet composition isn't as important as caloric intake in determining weight.
"The best way to get to the bottom line is to look at long-term studies where we randomize people to a high-fat/low-carb diet or to a low-fat/high-carb diet and follow them for at least a year or more.
That kind of study takes into account the possibility that one kind of diet provides more satiety; so, over the long run you would see more weight loss on that diet.
But those studies — half a dozen or more such studies have been done — show quite clearly that the percentage of calories from fat has very little effect on long-term weight loss."
What Dr. Willett does stress is that the quality of fats and carbohydrates are important (i.e.: whole grains, monounsaturated fats, and Omega-3 fatty acids are nutritionally superior to refined grains, saturated fats, and trans fats).
Let's cap this off with another great quote: "We've now looked at over 250,000 men and women for up to 30 years, and we [also] haven't seen that the percentage of calories from fat or from carbohydrates in your diet makes any difference in relation to heart attacks, various cancers, or stroke."
Let the Gary Taubes fanclub hatemail begin...