For the past 30 years, there has been a prevailing fear of full-fat products among American consumers. Doctors, advertisements, and even Michelle Obama tell us if we want to maintain a healthy weight, we should eat low-fat products and avoid foods high in fat and cholesterol at all costs. Despite all the nay-say about dietary fat, a new report released this week found that American opinion about the widely criticized nutrient is changing.
The report, which was published by the Credit Suisse Research Institute, found that sales of butter rose 14 percent in the United States, and climbed another 6 percent in the first three months of 2015. Similarly, sales of whole milk rose 11 percent in the first half of this year, while skim milk purchases fell 14 percent. Though data had not been collected for red meat and eggs, researchers predict that consumption of these foods will also increase in the next few years.
Stefano Natella, the Global Head for Equity Research at Credit Suisse and one of the report’s authors, told the New York Times that these new findings reflect a general shift in the way Americans think about food. “I think this is part of a trend towards more natural foods- more organic, unprocessed, and simple foods,” he said. “All these foods have a natural characteristic attached to them. Full fat-milk sounds a lot more natural to people than 2 percent or skim milk. Cows don’t produce skim milk. You have to process it to take out the fat.”
Now that we know Americans are embracing more full-fat foods, the question remains: is this healthy? Nutritionists would argue that it is. Those who stick to a low-fat diet often end up carb-loading to compensate for the nutrients they are missing. Additionally, studies show that when people replace saturated fat- the kind of fat found in cheese, eggs, butter, and meat- with carbohydrates, there is no reduction in heart disease. While it’s wise to monitor your intake, dietary-fat, just like carbs and protein, is a vital source of fuel for the body and is essential to good health.
The accompanying slideshow is provided by fellow Daily Meal special contributor Emily Jacobs.