Book Review: The Big Fat Surprise

In the book, The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz, the main idea is that there is no reason to fear fat in our diets. The author sums it up as saying that eating a diet high in fat, low in carbohydrates is preferable to eating a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet. In evaluating more than a century of studies and interviewing many people (doctors, RD’s, public health officials and more) she states that eating a diet that contains eggs, whole fat dairy, and meat has been shown to fight heart disease, cancer and diabetes. This contrast the low-fat, high carbohydrate diet that has been recommended due to politics, media and other pressures that has caused rates of obesity and diabetes to rise and heart disease to continue.

One nutrition point I found alarming was the discussion of putting four-year olds on cholesterol lowering diets and the drug, cholestyramine. I didn’t realize that Dr. Ornish’s study was based on only 22 subjects. That’s not so much a nutrition point, but certainly a scary point about how much influence someone can have with the power of misinformation. Case in point, when my husband will order an egg white only omelet because he “heard that was healthier.” The discussion on toxic heated oils and the thick gunk that they produce in fast food and mom and pop restaurants was beyond disturbing to me. I knew about the heating of the oils, but not this shellac factor and how it gets on walls and clothes and needs to be chemically dissolved because of the gunk it produces. It is beyond disturbing to think of the affects this is having due to ingestion, let alone on the skin of anyone working with it, or inhaling it. 

The author provides a compelling read on the subject of fat and how it relates to disease history in the United States. Knowing that it was so thoroughly researched over a nine-year period and done so with an investigative, unbiased approach makes the conclusions an even more credible and invaluable tool for personal benefit. It is a book I’d recommend to a nutrition enthusiast or knowledge seeker, not a casual reader. I personally enjoyed it and appreciate the efforts of the author to produce such a phenomenal book.