It’s not often I receive a tip from a restaurant, especially as one as venerated as The Prime Rib, but this message appeared in Ye Olde Inbox today, titled “Good News for Meat Lovers!” The text of the message was short and simple :
N.Y. Times: New analysis of 80 studies, involving 660,000 people,
found no evidence linking fats in meats, butter, and cheese
to increased risk of heart disease.
- The N.Y. Times, March 17, 2014
Well, that IS good news for meat lovers, The Prime Rib! And, it’s obviously good news for all restaurants that cater to meat lovers, like The Prime Rib!
The email came with this helpful picture of a heart-healthy meal, though the health-food caption is mine:
Look at the size of that cut of prime rib! Cooked to a perfect slightly-above rare, and the beef is just wallowing in its own delicious juices…mmmmMMM! And those scalloped potatoes, paired with steamed asparagus and a glorious Napa Valley Cab Sav! *THAT*, my friends, is a meal, and if it’s good for my heart, well then, excuse me if I dump out this box of organic free-range quinoa, or, in the name of conserving this fragile planet’s resources responsibly, using it as a rather expensive kitty litter. “Reuse or recycle,” I always say!
So, The Prime Rib, you have me SOLD! I love meat, I love potatoes, I love red wine, I love asparagus covered in butter and with two little red pepper strips for fun and I sure as hell love highly-reflective silverware! The email came with a handy “Reservations” button to get my table for the next available opening. All I need to do now is get my suit jacket from the dry cleaners (they do have a proper dress code, you know!) and I will be masticating the hell out of that divine prime rib away from all you plebeians!
However, there’s another hyperlink on that email, this one going to the New York Times’ article. Surely a reasonable person would assume this article on the Old Gray Lady clearly states the benefits of a red-meat-and-buttery-starch diet. THE Paper of Record would have an extremely detailed article citing the numerous ways in which rich, succulent roasted cow crusted in garlic, black peppercorns and sea salt is good for you! Years of research by well-meaning, but obviously-idiotic scientists and nutritionists that concluded that red meat is bad for your heart would be wiped out by this new study, vindicating everything your overweight uncle and all those Texans have been saying for years! “Eat your steak!”
Except… it doesn’t really go that far. What the new study does state is that while saturated fat isn’t really the enemy, trans fats ARE as bad as we thought, and, this bit referring to low-density lipoproteins, a.k.a. the bad cholesterol, is key :
The smaller, more artery-clogging particles are increased not by saturated fat, but by sugary foods and an excess of carbohydrates, Dr. Chowdhury said. “It’s the high carbohydrate or sugary diet that should be the focus of dietary guidelines,” he said. “If anything is driving your low-density lipoproteins in a more adverse way, it’s carbohydrates.”
Wait…you mean, exactly what Dr. Atkins was saying for the last 40 years? Carbs, especially processed sugary and starchy carbs, are really bad? As in, for all these years, it wasn’t the sausage or the cheese or the egg but the humble McMuffin that was really so bad for us on the Sausage Egg McMuffin With Cheese?
The study also mentions an interesting tidbit about dairy products:
When the researchers looked at fatty acids in the bloodstream, for example, they found that margaric acid, a saturated fat in milk and dairy products, was associated with lower cardiovascular risk.
Let the fine citizens of Wisconsin rejoice, for their famous state export is much healthier than expected. Now, there’s some additional research to help demonstrate this – look at this link to how the states rank in the highest percentage of folks with heart disease – there’s Wisconsin, ranked #43, about 5% of the population has heart disease, pretty close to the bottom. Given the state’s relatively high obesity rate as the 15th fattest state in the US, maybe the cheese is saving their lives! Then go back to that heart disease page, and look where Idaho, the potato-making Mecca of `MURICA, ranks – #12! The twelve-highest heart disease rate in the USA! The 19th trimmest state has nearly 7% of its citizens with heart disease. That, Alanis, is irony.
Maybe if they put some cheese on those potatoes, they’d live longer.
So, dear The Prime Rib, if you are truly planning on considering yourself a restaurant full of delicious, healthy food, please, do all of us with a family history of heart disease a favor – get rid of those murderous potatoes immediately.