In the featured video podcast, Dr. Paul Saladino and science journalist and author, Nina Teicholz — who is also an adjunct professor at NYU's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and the executive director of The Nutrition Coalition — review the evidence against chicken, and why saturated fat really qualifies as a health food.
Teicholz' book, "The Big Fat Surprise," challenged the conventional wisdom on dietary fats, especially saturated fat. Saladino, meanwhile, is releasing the second edition of his book, "The Carnivore Code," August 4, 2020.
Why Conventional Chicken May Contribute to Poor Health
As noted by Saladino, while consumption of red meat is on the decline, thanks to the vilification of red meat and saturated fat, people are eating more and more chicken.
Long thought of as a healthier type of meat, primarily because it's leaner than red meat, the problem with conventional chicken is that they're fed corn — typically GMO varieties that are farmed with glyphosate.
Increasingly, we're finding that trans fats and polyunsaturated fat from vegetable oils are far worse for your health, and a greater contributor to chronic disease, than added sugar even. And what happens when chicken is fed corn? The meat becomes high in omega-6 linoleic acid, as corn is high in this type of fat.1
As Saladino points out, high chicken consumption actually adds to your vegetable oil consumption. While you need some omega-6, the amounts obtained from a standard American diet high in processed foods are far too high for health. High omega-6 intake also skews your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, which ideally would be close to 1-to-1.
As noted by Saladino and Teicholz, 60% of the U.S. population has chronic disease, nearly 70% are overweight or obese, and recent NHANES data2 reveal 87.8% of Americans are metabolically unhealthy, based on five parameters. That data is over four years old now, so the figure is clearly greater than 90% of the population today.
That means virtually everyone is at risk for Type 2 diabetes and all the chronic diseases associated with insulin resistance, which run the gamut from cancer to Alzheimer's. Simply assuming you are one of the 12.2% (from the 4-year-old figures) that are metabolically healthy would be risky business.
Will Saturated Fat Myth Soon Be Upended?
Part of why chronic ill health is so widespread is this persistent idea that saturated animal fats are unhealthy, and should be replaced with industrial vegetable oils.3
On the upside, Teicholz reviews a recent paper4 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, published online June 17, 2020, which actually admits the long-standing nutritional guideline to limit saturated fat has been incorrect. This is a rather stunning admission, and a huge step forward. As noted in the abstract:
"The recommendation to limit dietary saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake has persisted despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Most recent meta-analyses of randomized trials and observational studies found no beneficial effects of reducing SFA intake on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and total mortality, and instead found protective effects against stroke.
Although SFAs increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, in most individuals, this is not due to increasing levels of small, dense LDL particles, but rather larger LDL which are much less strongly related to CVD risk.
It is also apparent that the health effects of foods cannot be predicted by their content in any nutrient group, without considering the overall macronutrient distribution.
Whole-fat dairy, unprocessed meat, eggs and dark chocolate are SFA-rich foods with a complex matrix that are not associated with increased risk of CVD. The totality of available evidence does not support further limiting the intake of such foods."