Most of the employees where I work wore red last Friday to honor Heart Health Month. For decades, cardiac research has been discovering new and innovative methods to reduce the risk of heart disease. Millions of dollars have been donated and dedicated to learning more.

People often complain to me that the medical profession is dedicated to confusing the public, not helping. One day, it is forbidden to eat eggs, and the next, it is encouraged to eat one daily. At one time, people were advised to eat only margarine and that nuts have unhealthy fats. Not true these days.

It is difficult for the general public to stay informed with all of the latest and cutting edge data. Thus, frustration grows to the point of distrust of new research and recommendations. Often this suspicion leads to inaction and apathy. Some folks just don’t care anymore about heart health because of conflicting medical recommendations.

My response to people who complain about new health claims and facts is usually a question. I ask them if they carry a rotary telephone around on their hip or in their purse. Often the answer is that they have a rotary phone at home or that their Grandma still uses one. I ask them to pull out their cell phone and question if they want to go back to only using that rotary phone still attached by a cord to a hole in the wall, to a box on the house, to a pole near the street. Their reply is always, “No.”

So with millions and even billions of dollars spent on ways to prevent heart disease, where are the complaints coming from? Medical research is not a stagnant profession. Its mission is to study, learn, recommend, and do it all over again until a cure, an effective treatment, or helpful guidelines are developed.

Hold onto your hats because the latest recommendations concerning a heart healthy diet have brought butter back. Ever since the medical community announced the low Ffat, no saturated fat diet back in 1977, the obesity rate has increased. The rate of diabetes is going up, too.

This fat restriction is not the only reason for these increased rates, but odds are that it didn’t help. Asking whether saturated fat, aka animal fat, is good or bad for your heart is too simple of an answer to a complicated issue. Forty years ago, the recommendation came from the best and brightest research scientists and their equipment. We have learned a lot in 40 years.

Dietitians, doctors, and other health professionals are not out to kill the general public. But there are changes to the traditional cardiac diet that need to be studied. The guidelines need an open mind and an honest attempt to compliance.

There are no good foods. There are no bad foods unless poisonous or full of harmful bacteria. Nutritionists are searching for the best method to teach the public how to be as heart healthy as possible. Work with us, don’t close your mind just because the rules have changed. Stay tuned for next week.


Bobbie Randall

Contributing columnist

Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator, registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a Diabetes Self-Management Training Program at Dunlap Community Hospital, Orrville, Ohio. Contact her at [email protected].

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