Book Review: “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet”

The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz

“The Big Fat Surprise” by Nina Teicholz is a research-driven, anthropologic, narrative history on how we have come to be entrenched in our misguided belief about fat, our diet, and our health. Although Teicholz references studies and clinical trials, and meticulously shows the reader the actual results and not just the pieces that have been lifted and manipulated, this book reads like a novel. There is a protagonist (the health of the entire U.S. population), antagonists, plot, and drama. It is sad that this is a true story—one which we do not yet know the final outcome.

Unbeknownst to us, fat, specifically saturated fat, has been proven time and again to not be the villain as it has been portrayed. For example, it is known that “LDL-cholesterol…is a largely unreliable predictor of heart disease risk.” Yet we are told to curb our fat intake for the sake of our cholesterol levels. Saturated fat actually increases our good cholesterol level. Further, studies show a link between eating carbohydrates and sugars (not animal fat) and obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

The author pulls the curtain from the studies and clinical trials that for 60 years have proven the low-fat diet to be a failure in weight loss and in good health. Still, the idea that fat begets fat is so ingrained in our belief system that credentialed scientists and our own government have turned their backs on real data. Add to that Big Food and the media, and you end up with a food pyramid prescribed to everyone and healthy for no one.

Nina Teicholz did her homework for nine years reviewing existing studies and trials, interviewing the scientists who conducted them, and researching our own history and the history of other countries–those who are healthier than the U.S. and those who are not. There is one constant: fat is not what we’ve been told it is. I found this book fascinating and incredibly informative. I couldn’t put it down.


If you’d like to purchase this book via my link to Amazon, click here.