Farmers and ranchers are really good at what they do…they’ve done it for generations and continue to adapt to changing technologies that enable them to grow more food with less inputs. The hardest part of their work is the reality that consumers are two and three generations removed from farming and ranching. This makes it tough when those consumers want to regulate farming, ranching and food.You’ve all heard the quote: “When people have food they have lots of problems, but when they don’t have food they only have one problem.” Eat this but not that For the last sixty plus years, we have been told what to eat and what not to eat. Dr. Gary Sides delivered a keynote presentation at the 2018 Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer & Rancher Conference. According to Sides, it all started with bad science from a survey on death rates post World War II conducted by Ansel Keys. “He said countries with high levels of saturated fats from animals had higher rates of heart disease, so he convinced our government to recommend a low fat, high carb diet,” Sides explained. “The problem is he surveyed 16 countries, but only included seven that fit his bias.” “After 60 years of recommending a low fat, high carb diet, obesity has gone from 15-35 percent, two-thirds of adults are overweight, and Type II diabetes has gone from less than one percent to greater than 14 percent,” Sides explained. What does science say about fat “Fat has become a four-letter word, yet fatty acids are required in your diet,” Sides said. “What if it has all been a big fat lie (referring to the bias that has been introduced in this country). What does the science say about the fat in milk and in beef?” “How much fat is in whole milk? Four percent. That means whole milk is 96 percent fat free,” he said. “Looking at the fat in beef, forty percent is stearic acid and thirty percent is oleic acid. Both decrease LDLs and triglycerides and increase HDLs, which is really good for you. Ruminant fat is the only compound in nature that does all three of these,” he continued. “The remaining thirty percent fat in beef is neutral. Fat in beef is actually heart healthy. Beef is also the best source of iron, essential amino acids and B vitamins that are needed in one’s diet.” Dr. Sides referenced a study conducted by Harvard University in 2010. According to Sides, the study was a meta-analysis of 21 clinical studies to see if there was an association between saturated fat intake and heart disease. “The study found no association,” Sides explained. “The study found refined carbs are the link.” According to Sides, the average American eats 130 pounds of sugar each year. “That is what drives insulin high and drives your body to store fat,” Sides explained. “It is not the total calories you consume that makes you gain or lose weight; it is the source of those calories and what they do to your insulin.” “Don’t fear fat; just change the source of your calories,” he recommended. While you are enjoying your favorite meal remember to “Celebrate Agriculture” and its people that care for the animals and the land seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. Thanks to agriculture and technological advances, we don’t have to worry about not having food to eat--Agriculture is Food for Life! We proudly celebrate Wyoming agriculture and its people every day of the year and specifically on Wyoming Agriculture Day, March 20, 2018. By Kerin Clark, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation