Grass & Grain

Grass & Grain 12-16-14

Agricultural Newspaper

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By Donna Sullivan, Editor Ten years ago Nina Tei- cholz, author of The Big Fat Lie: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, was a "near-vegetari- an," eating mainly fruits and vegetables with a little fish and chicken thrown in on oc- casion. "I probably would have walked by this confer- ence and thrown kale at you," she told members of the Kansas Livestock Asso- ciation as they gathered for their convention in Wichita in early December. An investigative journal- ist who has written stories for National Public Radio and worked for the Econo- mist, Teicholz described her decade-long journey into the world of nutrition science that began when she wrote a series of stories about the food industry for Gourmet magazine. She was assigned a story on transfats, which led her to begin looking into the whole subject of dietary fat. For a theme as seeming- ly benign as nutrition, her exploration of it revealed in- stances of scientists being si- lenced or threatened with loss of funding and being un- able to get their work pub- lished. "I just realized there was a much, much bigger story here about all dietary fats and all of our nutrition poli- cy over the last fifty years. That's how I got started." "About a decade ago, I was like many of you and like most Americans, com- pletely confused about what to eat," she said. While there was a plethora of conflicting dietary information out there, the one thing that most people could agree on was the need to limit saturated fat in the diet. A healthy diet should consist of mainly fruits, vegetables and whole grains, with just a small amount of animal protein. The saturated fats in red meal were linked with heart disease and even cancer. "This has a special reso- nance for all the people in this room," she said. "Some of you remember, maybe your grandparents or parents felt proud about raising cat- tle. But now there has been, over the past 30-40 years, this feeling among people who raise cattle that maybe their product is hurting peo- ple – giving them cancer, giving them heart disease – which is a terrible thing to labor under." Teicholz explained that of the three macro-nutrients that can be consumed – fat, protein and carbohydrates – fat is the one that all dietary recommendations have been most obsessed with for the past fifty years. "Fat, non- fat, low-fat, good fat, bad fat… in my generation, that's all we've known and grown up with," she said. But delving into the studies behind those guidelines led her to believe that just maybe the science employed was flawed and the conclu- sions erroneous. "One of the fundamental rules of science is that it's supposed to explain what you're seeing in the world," Teicholz stated. "Immediate- ly when you enter into this field, you start realizing how our hypothesis that fat, satu- rated fat especially, is mak- ing people fat and giving them heart disease, doesn't seem to explain a lot of the observations out there." She compared two pho- tos, one of an overweight Pima Indian woman whose diet consisted mainly of grains and very little fat; the other, a Maasai warrior stud- ied in the 1970s by George Mann, a Johns Hopkins-edu- cated biochemist who was then on staff atVanderbilt University Mann discovered that the Maasai warriors had very low blood cholesterol and very low blood pressure that didn't rise with age de- spite the lessened activity levels of the tribe's elders. The warriors consume on av- erage three to five pounds of meat per day, with their only other food being blood and milk. "So he would receive a failing grade from the USDA food pyramid," Tei- cholz pointed out. "But he looks pretty good." Mann took 600 electro- cardiograms of the Maasai warriors and found only pos- sible traces of any kind of heart attack in two of them. One of his colleagues repeat- ed the results in a neighbor- ing tribe, which led the sci- entists to wonder if maybe there was some sort of genet- ic anomaly at work. So the researchers followed some of them who had migrated to Nairobi and adopted the diets of their new country- men. "And lo and behold, their cholesterol went up," Teicholz said. "Their blood pressure went up and they started looking like the peo- ple in Nairobi, so they weren't protected particular- ly by anything genetic." According to Teicholz, over the last thirty years Americans have cut their fat consumption by 8% and their saturated fat intake by 11% while increasing their carbohydrate consumption by 25% just as they've been told to do. Yet the obesity rate continues to climb. "How does the science ex- plain that?" she queried. "What you immediately think as a journalist or any normal person is, what is the story here? How do we ex- plain this?" So began her journey into the history of how saturated fat became the pariah of the food and nutrition world. Teicholz relates that back in the 1950s heart disease came on the scene, seeming- ly out of nowhere. In the early 1900s there were very few cases of heart disease, but by the 1950s it was the number-one killer in Ameri- ca. President Eisenhower himself had a heart attack in 1955 and was out of the Oval Office for ten days, sending the entire nation into a panic about heart disease. "At that point people didn't remem- ber their parents having this problem," Teicholz said. "What causes men to fall down in the prime of life?" While there were a num- ber of explanations offered, the one that caught on and quickly picked up steam was offered by a man named Ancel Keys, who Teicholz described as 'a very aggres- sive individual with outsized Kansas Livestock Associ- ation (KLA) members have elected Emporia rancher Jaret Moyer as president for the coming year. Matt Perri- er, a seedstock cattle produc- er from Eureka, was chosen as the new president elect of the 5,000-member organiza- tion. Both were elected by members during the annual business meeting December 5 at the KLA Convention in Wichita. Moyer's ranch is focused on growing light cattle using a combination of Flint Hills pastures and a background- ing facility. He also is presi- dent of Citizens State Bank and Trust Company, with lo- cations in Woodbine, Bre- men, Gypsum and Reading. Moyer serves on both the KLA Executive Committee and KLA Board of Direc- tors. He is a member of the KLA Stockgrowers Council and previously served as the KLA director for Lyon County. Before moving to the Emporia area in 2003, he was involved in the Phillips County KLA Committee. Moyer is a past chairman of the Kansas Beef Council. He is on the National Cattle- men's Beef Association (NCBA) Board of Directors. Moyer serves on the Federa- tion of State Beef Councils Domestic Consumer Prefer- ence Committee and Value Subcommittee. He is a past member of the NCBA Retail Committee. Moyer is the current president of Flint Hills Beef Fest, which is the annual celebration of the state's grass cattle industry. Moyer has been actively involved in leadership devel- opment programs. He is a past participant in the NCBA Young Cattlemen's Confer- ence. Moyer has attended the KLA Leadership Confer- ence. He also graduated from the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership pro- gram. He graduated from Kansas State University in 1992 with a degree in animal science. Moyer later com- pleted course work at the graduate school of banking in Madison, Wisc. Moyer and his wife, Shawna, have two daugh- ters. Arissa is a junior at K- State studying ag econom- ics. Sarah is a senior at Northern Heights High School in Allen. Perrier represents the fifth generation of his fami- ly's registered Angus and ranching operation in Green- wood County. Dalebanks Angus started as a sheep Rich Felts, a Mont- gomery County farmer, was elected president of Kansas Farm Bureau this month, replacing Steve Baccus, who served in the position since 2002. The Felts farm is a di- versified grain operation with wheat, corn and soy- beans. They also grow out breeding stock for a major swine company and main- tain a small cow herd. The partnership is operated by Felts' son, Darren, a broth- er, Larry, and Larry's son- in-law. "I'm looking forward to this opportunity," Felts says. "I'm passionate about agriculture and want to do all that is possible to provide a bright future for Kansas farmers and ranch- ers." Felts joined Kansas Farm Bureau's board of di- rectors in 2001. He was elected vice president in 2011. "Rich is a strong leader, and will do an excellent job leading the state's largest farm organization into the future," Terry Hol- dren, KFB CEO and gen- eral counsel, says. "There is no doubt Kansas Farm Bureau will continue serv- ing as the voice of agricul- ture and providing superi- or service and products to our members and county organizations." Felts serves on the Farm Bureau Mutual In- surance Company board of directors, is a 4-H commu- nity leader, served on the Kansas State Extension Advisory Council and is a past chairman of the Mont- gomery County Extension Council and Rural Water Board, in addition to serv- ing as president of SEK Grain. Kansas Farm Bureau represents grassroots agri- culture. Established in 1919, this non-profit advo- cacy organization supports farm families who earn their living in a changing industry. Felts elected president of Kansas Farm Bureau Members elect Emporia, Eureka cattlemen to KLA leadership Jaret Moyer, right, was elected president of Kansas Livestock Association at their convention in early De- cember. Matt Perrier, left, was chosen as president elect. Nina Teicholz shared the findings that led to her book, The Big Fat Lie: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, at the Kansas Livestock Association convention earlier this month. Teicholz corrects misinformation about saturated fat at KLA convention Continued on page 9 Continued on page 3

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