St. Patty's Day Recipes
Eat Your Vegetables
Low Carb Sacher Torte
The Perfect Pedicure
St. Patty's Day Chuckles
Not Losing Weight?
Fat is Not the Enemy
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Back in the 70?s and 80?s some well meaning people
came up with the theory that the reason we were getting
too fat was that they were eating too much fat. Waistlines
were expanding and heart disease was increasing. The
good folks in charge of making health policy
recommendations decided that eating fat made you fat. In
short order, everyone got on board with what appeared to
be the obvious solution: stop eating fat.
Copyright © March 2006 Jonny Bowden and Low Carb Luxury
Well, look. It?s not like these experts got together and said,
"Hey what can we do to really screw up the health of the
nation?" These were well meaning people. They sincerely wanted to help us get on the
right track. Taking a page from current events, we might say that their hearts were in
the right place, but they had bad intelligence. Their information was just plain wrong.
As Professor Harlan Onsrud put in Science magazine, "Most of us would have predicted
that if we can get the population to change its fat intake, we would see a reduction in
weight. Instead," he added, "we have seen the exact opposite."
Indeed we have. While the percentage of calories from fat in our diet has actually gone
down over the last couple of decades, obesity has gone up. And up. And up. And folks,
its not because we?re eating fat. Fat is not the enemy, and cutting fat out of the diet is
not the solution.
So we, the experts, were wrong about the cutting out fat. In fact, for many people,
particularly those who have type 2 diabetes or are at risk for it, a low-fat diet can be
nutritional suicide. Fat, of all the macronutrients (the others being protein and carbs) has
zero effect on insulin, the fat storage hormone. Fat helps make you feel satisfied or
satiated. Many fats — omega-3?s from fish, for example — are anti-inflammatory. Some
saturated fats — like those found in coconut oil — are anti-viral. And when you remove fat
from the diet — as in a high-carb, low-fat eating plan — you generally replace it with
something else, usually carbs. This sends many people on a bumpy roller coaster ride of
mood swings and blood sugar dips, insulin spikes and increased fat storage. (The one
exception — where a high-carb diet might actually work — is when the carbs eaten are very
high in fibre and low in the glycaemic index.).
The death knell to the idea that fat was the enemy was sounded recently by Professor
Walter Willett of Harvard University, arguably the most prestigious nutrition researcher of
our time and lead author on both the Nurses Health Study and the Health Professionals
Follow-Up Study. In these studies, Willett and his colleagues examined the eating habits
of thousands of people over two decades. Here?s what he said: "We have found virtually
no relationship between the percentage of calories from fat and any important health
In other words, fat doesn?t make you fat. And, in my opinion, it also doesn?t make you
What does seem to matter, however, is the type of fat and the type of carbohydrate
eaten. Let?s look at the carbs first. Processed carbs — which are most of the carbs that
come in boxes and packages — are seen by the body as a big lump of sugar. Tthey drive
triglycerides through the roof. Carbs from vegetables and fruits — and the occasional
whole grain - are loaded with fibre, which are associated with a king's ransom of good
health effects, including moderating blood sugar and insulin. You can be on a controlledcarb
or low-carb plan and still consume a ton of these good carbs. What you can?t
consume — at least if you want to lose weight — is pasta, bread, baked goods and
You can however, consume fat. And you should.
Now if you?ve read even a minimum of information about nutrition and diet over the past
few years, you?re probably aware of the fact that there are "good fats" and "bad fats."
You?ve also probably heard that the bad fats are saturated and the good fats are
Bad fats are trans fats. Hopefully, you?ll see them listed on the label of foods in the next
year or so, but for now you have to be a detective to find them. Look on the label for
"hydrogenated oil" or "partially hydrogenated oil." If it?s there, put it back on the shelf and
step away from the food. Trans fats are associated with every degenerative disease you
can think of. Bad fats are also damaged fats. Fats can be damaged by high heat or
chemical processing, or by being used for frying multiple times (fast food chains are
notorious for this). And, contrary to popular opinion, omega-6 fats, which are a type of
polyunsaturated fat that everyone used to think was "healthy," are actually quite proinflammatory
and have been linked to increased risk of cancer, particularly when they
are not balanced in the diet with the friendly omega-3?s, omega-9?s and saturates.
The best advice: get a nice mixture in your diet of saturated fats (coconut oil, eggs, some
meat), omega-3?s (fish and flaxseed), and omega 9?s (macadamia nut oil, extra virgin
olive oil). If your calories are at the level they should be and you?re not eating more than
you need to keep your body healthy and in weight loss mode, the percentage of calories
from fat should be of no concern.
But the quality of your food should be.
Visit the Jonny
Bowden Solutions website.