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The Big Fat Surprise


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A groundbreaking study which reveals how decades of misleading science and policy unjustly demonized the high-fat diet, which might actually be our healthiest option.

About the Author

Nina Teicholz wrote on food and nutrition science for Gourmet and Men's Health magazines. She was a reporter for National Public Radio for five years, covering Washington, DC, and Latin America. She also contributed, on a variety of topics, to The New Yorker, The Economist, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Salon, among other publications. In addition, she served as the associate director for the Center for Globalization and Sustainable Development at Columbia University. Teicholz was a student of biology at Yale and Stanford universities and earned a graduate degree from Oxford University. She lives in New York City with her husband and their sons.


'A striking study ... which may well change the way you eat. I, for one, won't ever hesitate to order a steak again.'

-- Erica Wagner * Financial Times *

'Deeply disturbing in showing how overenthusiastic scientists, poor science, massive conflicts of interest, and politically driven policy makers can make deeply damaging mistakes ... This book shook me ... Teicholz has done a remarkable job.'

* Richard Smith , British Medical Journal *

'Hugely refreshing ... [The Big Fat Surprise] picks holes in old nutritional studies to reveal that a higher fat diet is almost certainly healthier in every way than one low in fat and high in carbohydrates. A fresh and thought-provoking outlook that will have you reaching for the creamy cheeses, sausages and bacon.'

* Daily Mail *

'For decades we've been trying to eat less fat, particularly animal fat. We've replaced that fat with vegetable fat, carbohydrate and sugar. And now look at us. This book is about a scientific mistake. It's important.'

* Evening Standard *

'Ms Teicholz's book is a gripping read for anyone who has ever tried to eat healthily ... This is not an obvious page-turner. But it is ... The vilification of fat, argues Ms Teicholz, does not stand up to closer examination. She pokes holes in famous pieces of research - the Framingham heart study, the Seven Countries study, the Los Angeles Veterans Trial, to name a few - describing methodological problems or overlooked results, until the foundations of this nutritional advice look increasingly shaky.'

* The Economist *

'Someone ought to hand a copy of The Big Fat Surprise to the Department of Health.'

-- Kate Spicer * Red *

'[Teicholz] has a gift for translating complex data into an engaging forensic narrative ... [The Big Fat Surprise] is a lacerating indictment of Big Public Health ... More than a book about food and health or even hubris; it is a tragedy for our information age. From the very beginning, we had the statistical means to understand why things did not add up; we had a boatload of Cassandras, a chorus of warnings; but they were ignored, castigated, suppressed. We had our big fat villain, and we still do.'

* Wall Street Journal *

'There aren't enough superlatives to describe this journalistic tour de force. I read it twice: once for the information and again just for the writing.'

-- Michael R. Eades, M.D., author of the New York Times bestseller Protein Power

'At last the whole truth about the luscious foods our bodies really need!'

-- Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of the New York Times bestseller Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom

'The Big Fat Surprise is refreshingly empowering. This wonderfully researched text provides the reader with total validation for welcoming healthful fats back to the table, paving the way for weight loss, health, and longevity.'

-- David Perlmutter, MD, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Grain Brain

'A page-turner story of science gone wrong ... Misstep by misstep, blunder by blunder, Ms. Teicholz recounts the statistical cherry-picking, political finagling, and pseudoscientific bullying that brought us to yet another of the biggest mistakes in health and nutrition, the low-fat and low-saturated fat myth for heart health.'

-- William Davis, MD, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Wheat Belly

'The Big Fat Surprise delivers on its title, exposing the shocking news that much of what "everybody knows" about a healthy diet is in fact all wrong. This book documents how misunderstanding, misconduct, and bad science caused generations to be misled about nutrition. Anyone interested in either food or health will want to read to this book.'

-- Nathan Myhrvold, author of Modernist Cuisine

'As an epidemiologist, I am awestruck. Nina Teicholz has critically reviewed virtually the entire literature, a prodigiously difficult task, and she has interviewed most of the leading protagonists. The result is outstanding: readable and informative, with forthright text written in plain English that can easily be understood by the general reader.'

-- Samuel Shapiro, retired, formerly at the Boston University School of Medicine

'Meticulous ... A historical treatise on how scientific belief (vs. evidence), nongovernment organisations, food manufacturers, government agencies, and moneyed interests promised more than they could deliver and, in the process, quite possibly contributed to the current world-wide obesity epidemic ... This book should be read by every nutritional science professional as a guide to risks of hubris and the unquestioning belief in whatever the conventional wisdom of the day is and to the consequences of basing public policy on belief as opposed to evidence of positive, beneficial effects. All scientists should read it as an example of how limited science can become federal policy, which may, in in the long run, be harmful when the basic tenets of science, skepticism, and consistent questioning are set aside.'

* The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition *

'This fascinating book raises important issues as Americans battle obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease ... Thought provoking and well worth purchasing.'

* Library Journal *

'Solid, well-reported science ... Like a bloodhound, Teicholz tracks the process by which a hypothesis morphs into truth without the benefit of supporting data.'

* Kirkus *

'Stories of shocking scientific corruption and culpability by government agencies are all to be found in Nina Teicholz's bestseller The Big Fat Surprise. This is a disquieting book about scientific incompetence, evangelical ambition, and ruthless silencing of dissent that has shaped out lived for decades.'

* The Lancet *

'Essential reading on the saturated fat debate.'

-- Malcolm Gladwell

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