Quantcast

Fat Is Not the Enemy

Food

There are so many myths about fat floating around. I’m sure you’ve heard all of them: Fat makes us fat, contributes to heart disease, leads to diabesity; saturated fat is bad; vegetable oils are good … I could go on, but I think you know what I’m talking about.

None of these beliefs about fat are true. In my latest book, Eat Fat, Get Thin, I combined the latest research with my several decades of empirical evidence working with patients to prove what I’ve long discovered: The right fats can help you become lean, healthy and vibrant.

The fats in a fast-food bacon feedlot cheeseburger will have an entirely different effect than saturated fat in coconut oil. Let’s stop classifying it all as the same. Photo credit: Stocksy

There’s a lot to say about fat, but for now, let’s look at these eight take-home fat facts.

1. Sugar, not fat, makes you fat. Consuming a lot of sugar means your cells become numb to insulin’s “call.” Your body pumps out more and more insulin to pull your blood sugar levels back down. You can’t burn all the sugar you eat. Inevitably, your body stores it as fat, creating insulin resistance and overall metabolic havoc among other mayhem.

2. Dietary fat is more complex than sugar. There are some 257 names for sugar, but despite very minor variations, they all create the same damage. Fat is more complex. We have saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and even trans fats, not to mention subcategories within each group. Some fats are good; others neutral; and yes, a few are bad.

3. Low-fat diets tend to be heart-unhealthy, high-sugar diets. When people eat less fat, they tend to eat more starch or sugar instead and this actually increases their levels of the small, dense cholesterol that causes heart attacks.

4. Saturated fat is not your enemy. A review of all the research on saturated fat published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found no correlation between saturated fat and heart disease. As with all fats, quality becomes key here. The fats in a fast-food bacon feedlot cheeseburger will have an entirely different effect than saturated fat in coconut oil. Let’s stop classifying it all as the same.

5. Some fats are unhealthy. They include trans fat and inflammatory vegetable oils.

6. Everyone benefits from more omega 3s. About 99 percent of Americans are deficient in these critical fats. Ideal ways to get them include eating wild or sustainably raised cold-water fish, omega-3 rich eggs and taking an omega-3 supplement. 

Read page 1

7. Eating fat can make you lean. Healthy cell walls made from high-quality fats are better able to metabolize insulin, which keeps blood sugar better regulated. Without proper blood sugar control, the body socks away fat for a rainy day. The right fats also increase fat burning, cut your hunger and reduce fat storage.

8. Your brain is about 60 percent fat. Of that percentage, the biggest portion comes from the omega-3 fat called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Your brain needs DHA to spark communication between cells. Easy access to high-quality fat boosts cognition, happiness, learning and memory. In contrast, studies link a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

I eat fat with every meal and I’ve never felt better. The right fats can improve your mood, skin, hair and nails, while protecting you against Type 2 diabetes, dementia, cancer and much more.

Among my favorite sources of fat include:

  • Nuts—walnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia nuts, but not peanuts (one study showed a handful of nuts a day reduced death from all causes by 20 percent)

  • Fatty fish, including sardines, mackerel, herring and wild salmon that are rich in omega-3 fats

  • Grass-fed or sustainably raised animal products (I recommend the Environmental Working Group’s Meat Eaters Guide to eating good quality animal products that are good for you and good for the planet).

  • Extra virgin coconut butter, which is a great plant-based source of saturated fat that has many benefits. It fuels your mitochondria, is anti-inflammatory and doesn’t cause problems with your cholesterol. In fact, it may help resolve them. 

The take-home here is that most of your fat-cell biology becomes controlled by the quality and type of the food you eat. That explains why we should eat a quality fat, whole-food diet that’s lower in refined carbohydrates, low-glycemic and high in fiber.

Want to learn more? Watch my Q&A video on fat. Here are just some of the questions I answer in this video:

  • If its not fat, what is the true cause of heart disease, diabetes and disease?

  • How can we differentiate between good and bad fats?

  • Is butter really good for you?

  • And how did we get into this big, fat mess?

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

What’s the Difference Between Probiotics and Prebiotics?

What Is Nutrient Timing and Why Does It Matter?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Why Scientists Now Call Alzheimer’s ‘Type 3 Diabetes’

Eating More Slowly Can Help You Lose Weight

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Logging state in the U.S. is seen representing some of the consequences humans will face in the absence of concrete action to stop deforestation, pollution and the climate crisis. Mark Newman / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images

Talk is cheap, says the acting executive secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, who begged governments around the world to make sure that 2020 is not another year of conferences and empty promises, but instead is the year to take decisive action to stop the mass extinction of wildlife and the destruction of habitat-sustaining ecosystems, as The Guardian reported.

Read More
The people of Kiribati have been under pressure to relocate due to sea level rise. A young woman wades through the salty sea water that flooded her way home on Sept. 29, 2015. Jonas Gratzer / LightRocket via Getty Images

Refugees fleeing the impending effects of the climate crisis cannot be forced to return home, according to a new decision by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, as CNN reported. The new decision could open up a massive wave of legal claims by displaced people around the world.

Read More
Sponsored
The first day of the Strike WEF march on Davos on Jan. 18, 2020 near Davos, Switzerland. The activists want climate justice and think the WEF is for the world's richest and political elite only. Kristian Buus / In Pictures via Getty Images

By Ashutosh Pandey

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg is returning to the Swiss ski resort of Davos for the 2020 World Economic Forum with a strong and clear message: put an end to the fossil fuel "madness."

Read More
Protesters attend a rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court held by the group Our Children's Trust Oct. 29, 2018 in Washington, DC. The group and the plaintiffs have vowed to keep fighting and to ask the full Ninth Circuit to review Friday's decision to toss the lawsuit. Win McNamee / Getty Images

An appeals court tossed out the landmark youth climate lawsuit Juliana v. United States Friday, arguing that the courts are not the place to resolve the climate crisis.

Read More
The land around Red Knoll near Kanab, UT that could have been razed for a frac sand mine. Tara Lohan

By Tara Lohan

A sign at the north end of Kanab, Utah, proclaims the town of 4,300 to be "The Greatest Earth on Show."

Read More