America’s Changing Attitudes on Fat Consumption

New Survey Shows Changing U.S. Attitudes Towards Fat

For nearly half a century, the low-fat diet has cautioned Americans against eating fat. Yet according to a recent Gallup survey, the fear of fat is melting.

Gallup recently surveyed Americans between the ages of 18 and 65, with results below.

Attitudes about fat consumptionOver the past five years, the proportion of people who say they actively avoid eating fat has decreased from 64% to 48%. This is a stark change from previous years. People are clearly learning the message that diets higher in fat and lower in carbs are good for health

The poll also reveals a dramatic increase in the proportion of people who are actively trying to incorporate fats into their diets. Meanwhile, the people who just don’t bother to think about fat in their diets has also increased in recent years. The overall headline is clear: For Americans, fat is no longer taboo.

 

Millenial views on fatSince the low-fat diet craze began in the 1970s, people who were then in their formative years and are now aged 65+, still clearly have a preference for that diet. Younger people coming of age in an era where fat is no longer a dietary villain, however, are developing different attitudes. Generation X is the first group in which less than half of the population is opting to avoid fat.

 

Sugar consumption and education chartAbout two-thirds of college graduates avoid sugar, compared to less than half of non-graduates. When it comes to the dangers of sugar, education clearly makes a difference.

 

Beef and red meat diet chartIn recent years, many health experts have focused on the potential dangers of eating red meat. The majority of Americans, however, aren’t buying it–and have recently  been increasing red meat in their diets. Perhaps people have heard the news that saturated fats do not, after all, have any effect on cardiovascular mortality–as reported in multiple meta-analyses and systematic reviews of the data. Since saturated fats were always the main reason that people avoided meat, the de-vilification of this type of fat is very likely the reason that more people are now eating meat without fear.

 

Attitude on fat consumption bar graph

Over the past 15 years, the number of people actively avoiding fat consumption has steadily declined. Correspondingly, we see that more people are actively including fats in their diets, as shown below:

 

Americans who actively include fat in their diet

Clearly, a paradigm shift on dietary fat is underway. As I wrote in an op-ed for CNN.com, “The Fear of Fat is Melting.

To read the full survey results, visit the Gallup website.

4 thoughts on “America’s Changing Attitudes on Fat Consumption”

  1. Nina, I guess you have contributing to this improved choices.

    Keep working!

    Thanks, from Brasil (yes, we’ve met here in a Congress!)

  2. I am back eating unsalted Butter and enjoying it.
    Haven’t missed Potatoes, White Rice, Bread and Pasta in quite a while.
    Oh, wait a minute, just returned from a 3-week trip to Germany, and indulged in some of the typical German food. Just had to try potatoes again (how come they taste so different from the ones in the U.S.?), indulged in some whole-grain bread, and even tasted some delicious fruit tarts with coffee in the afternoon. No, the Germans haven’t gotten over that habit just yet. Just wanted to let you know that I stopped eating any of those foods upon my return to the U.S. After three weeks of German food, however in moderation, I returned weighing 2 pounds less, than before my trip. That is why I am a believer in the LCHF and/or Keto diet. I am so grateful that my son recommended Nina Teicholz’s fist book to me. I am convinced that LCHF works. Lost 10 pounds trying it.

  3. I guess I am one of those 42% of boomers that don’t avoid fat, but actively include it my diet. Gary Taubes convinced me long ago with “The Soft Science of Dietary Fat”, (2001). I have also been educated about which fats will make me healthy and ones to avoid from others. Easy to eat good meat and dairy here in NZ… beef land lamb in our home comes comes with a certainty of being raised on good pasture, as we grow that herb, legume and grass mixture for our mobs ourselves.

    I loved your book and quite enjoy your articles popping up on FB. Thanks Nina.

  4. Fat consumption generally declines with age (or should) for at least two reasons: basal metabolism slows so there is a lower caloric intake need, and there may be greater digestive sensitivity to fatty intake.

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