The fear of fat meant a dramatic turn away from pork. As pork consumption plummeted and poultry consumption skyrocketed, agribusiness bred skinnier pigs that it tried to market as “the other white meat.”In other words, not the dangerous heart-attack red meat! But fewer people liked the taste of fatless pork chops, and pork production fell further.
The government’s war on saturated fats also led the food industry to rely on trans fats. Decades into this experiment on human diet, the science on trans-fats started to look bad, and the FDA scrambled to adopt a policy mandating warning labels for foods containing trans-fats. The food industry couldn’t move back to butter, lard, and tallow because of ingrained consumer habits. So it instead came up with an entirely new set of “interesterified fats” and gel-like fat replacements like lecithin. There is also sorbitan tristearate, which isn’t a fat but a “nonionic surfactant.” One other problem that Teicholz discovered: sometimes when the newer vegetable oils aerosolize, the white gunk that gets into cooks’ clothes can spontaneously combust.
The health effects of these fats and fat substitutes are entirely unknown. But after decades of teaching people to reject foods with high saturated fat content, there was no way to sell the public the stuff they “knew” was bad. Much easier to sell stuff that no one really knows about one way or the other.