In the aftermath of his commentary about butter in the New York Times, Mark Bittman and I -- along with several others, including Dr. Dariush Mozzafarian from Harvard, one of the authors of the study that set this all in motion -- were invited to discuss the health effects of butter on the NPR program, "On Point," this morning.
No, it is not suddenly good to eat more saturated fat -- and the new study grabbing headlines showed no such thing. The study, a meta-analysis in the Annals of Internal Medicine, shows the following two things in particular: (1) you cannot get a good answer to a bad question; and (2) there is more than one way to eat badly.
Improving food labels, as planned by the USFDA and much in the news over the past week or so, is a welcome thing. But I do think we have cause to wonder if all the fanfare and media hype are really warranted. When all is said and done, what improvements are in the works, and how much will they really matter?
Fortified junk food is still junk food. It isn't only what a food doesn't contain (i.e., those nutrients) that makes it dubious. It's what it does contain. The addition of vitamins and minerals does nothing to exonerate junk foods of their standard provisions of added sugars, added salt, artificial flavorings, artificial colorings, inflammatory fats, high glycemic starches, and willfully irresistible calories.