ZDF series “Nelson Müller: The Fat Compass”

For years, public opinion has been getting fat, well, it is getting fat. But is fat really as bad as it seems? Star chef Nelson Müller answered this question Tuesday night on ZDF in his “Fat Compass”. The bottom line: fat is important, as long as you pay attention to a few things.

Christian Vock.

Macrobiotic, low carb, freegan, pescatarian, paleo, fruitarian, anthroposophical, fast food, raw food, vegetarian, junk food, pegan, clean eating, vegan, food combining, Mazda, intermittent fasting, or of course the popular food of convenience, that is, list meals. There are many diets. So many that some people wonder: What is really normal? Of course, there will be little success with an answer, because the junk food lover will consider his diet as normal as that of a vegetarian.

TV chef and star Nelson Müller already cares about nutritional issues as a profession, but in his new ZDF series, nutritional styles are only of secondary interest to him. In the three-part series “Kompass,” Müller looks at “the building blocks” of our food. It started on Tuesday night at 8:15 p.m. on ZDF with the “Fett-Kompass”, followed by the “Eiweiß-” (on TV May 4 at 1:45 a.m. and now in the media library) and the “Zucker – Kompass” (on TV on May 10 at 8:15 p.m. and already in the media library).

Because it is?

It’s all about the fat. To be more precise: the fat contained in food. Because fat has a bad reputation. Nelson Müller wants to straighten this reputation out a bit: “Good nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated at all,” he says, although no one initially claimed that.

Therefore, this sentence should be understood more as an introduction to Müller’s real motivation behind the program: “I will show you how to live well with fat.” Not surprisingly, the episode is subtitled “Living Well on Burgers, Fries, and Margarine”; so Müller wants to find out for the viewer why people like to eat fat, for example, what diet is “healthier” or what oils to cook with.

How does Nelson Mueller do that?

“Star chef Nelson Müller shows the way to good nutrition,” the speaker promises, and Müller heads to where the food is produced. For example, to a potato chip manufacturer in the Allgäu. “Today I’m going to take a look at the role of fat in french fries,” says Müller, explaining the purpose of his visit.

In addition, the team interviews experts such as food manufacturers, doctors, and consumer advocates, and provides additional information through an outside speaker, such as what saturated fatty acids are. To clarify the question of which fats are “better”, Nelson Müller organized a test questionnaire in which he tested burgers in meat, vegetarian and vegan versions.

What are the perceptions?

It’s all a smorgasbord of bits of knowledge that Müller presents in his “Fat Compass.” For example, the quality manager of the French fries manufacturer explains the difference between his “Kesselchips” and classic French fries: “Normal French fries are cut much thinner and fried at much higher temperatures, so they take a long time to cook.” more fat”. The outside speaker does the math: Classic French fries are made up of 34 percent fat, French fries “only” 24 percent.

But why fry in fat? “The fat gives flavor,” says the quality manager and the voiceover adds that the fat traps the flavors in such a way that they are well perceived. Without oil, the fries wouldn’t get crispy either. Müller’s conclusion: “The danger of frying is simple: it tastes delicious, but you don’t feel the fat.”

Also read: Healthier and more delicious: this is how an Airfryer works

But where is the problem? Thomas Budde, medical director of the Alfried Krupp Hospital, explains: “You need fat, in small amounts. That’s why it’s important that we burn it off through physical work if we’ve eaten more.” But since you don’t do this while you sleep, fatty foods are unfavorable not only because of their digestibility, but also because of the way they are processed.

But this is exactly where manufacturers don’t make it easy for you, as the speaker explains. Because 15 percent of the daily recommended amount of fat would already be reached with a serving of French fries. But this portion of chips corresponds to ten individual chips for the tested brand. “Of course, that’s the manufacturer’s trick. Here they count their portions as healthy because they are particularly small,” explains Britta Schautz from the Berlin consumer center. Show Tip: Don’t eat the fries straight out of the bag, pour them into a small bowl instead.

The problem: French fries and other fatty foods are designed to make it difficult to eat just the recommended amount because, according to the show, they’re based on what’s known as the “eating formula.” When a food is half carbohydrate and one third fat, it activates the craving and reward centers in the brain.

The example of the cards is a very practical introduction because it is close to reality, since it probably affects many people in their day to day. But “Fat Compass” offers even more information and advice. A general vision:

  • In the self-test, vegetarian and vegan diets show better results than animal-based diets in terms of cholesterol levels.
  • Processed foods that are high in saturated fat are not good for you.
  • In Germany, 6.3 kilograms of butter are consumed per person per year.
  • With nine kilograms of CO2 per kilogram, butter has a large carbon footprint. Plant-based alternatives work best here.
  • Margarine contains a large number of artificial ingredients, flavors and nutrients.
  • Products made from palm oil or palm fat are problematic, with alternatives like coconut oil/fat it is important to remain critical because they are less productive for example and the rainforest is sometimes cut down for them.
  • Domestic fats such as sunflower oil have many advantages, such as their vitamin content, if they are cold pressed and unrefined.
  • Refined oils are better for frying, while cold-pressed oils are better suited for cold dishes like salads.
  • Sunflower seeds are 50 percent fat.

The conclusion

Conclusion of Nelson Müller: “Fats are important for a healthy diet. (…) As long as we know how many and, above all, what fats are in our food. Then we can eat healthy quite easily.” Our conclusion about the program: Nelson Müller does not present any investigative news in his “Fett-Kompass”, but basic knowledge that many have already heard in one way or another, but many may not, otherwise Fett would not have this yet. bad reputation. .

Basic knowledge isn’t too bad, after all, more at 45 minutes of broadcast time would also be a challenge. It is enough to get an overview of the most important aspects. However, it becomes critical when Müller lacks the sharpness of definition and instead uses terms critically and unquestioningly. For example when he asked: “But now there are animal fats and there are vegetable fats. Which ones are healthier and better, which ones are worse?

Here the counter question arises: What does “healthier” mean and what does “better” mean? And for whom? A cow, for example, would certainly like to keep the fat for herself and the milk for her calves. This is not meant to be moralizing, but it is part of the discussion about food quality. It’s like looking beyond the horizon of your own health. For example, when it comes to the question of the effects of food production on the environment and the climate, because ultimately the climate crisis is also about your own health.

This is where the “Fat-Kompass” manages to think outside the box when addressing the effects of industrial agriculture on the climate or the consequences of managing palm oil plantations. It is not exhaustive information, but invites the viewer to address it with greater intensity. A show like this really can’t do much more than that.

You can find more TV and streaming news here

fats, healthy, source, food, fatty acids, vegetables, animals, health

Good fat, bad fat: Fat is not just fat. What matters is what you take. Discover the best sources of healthy unsaturated fatty acids in the image gallery. Note: This is a gallery of images from our archive.


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