I weigh about five pounds more than when I got married, eight years ago, and I have been pregnant and given birth twice (gaining about 50lbs each time). I was (and currently am) as slim as I could possibly have been without veering off into that “unhealthy” look. To be clear: I do NOT attempt to lose weight, ever. I DO attempt to eat in the way that I know my body needs, and let it do its thing – be that a size 2 or a 6 or whatever. I believe that if you are eating the way you should (HUGE difference of opinion on what exactly that is, I know), that your body will take the form that is best for you. In the early years of marriage I did begin to gain weight, and I noticed that my youthful slim figure was not as effortless as it once was. (I do happen to have a very slender build, but mine is not the only healthy body type.) It has only been in the last 5 months since we first went on the GAPS Diet that my body has returned to its natural slim shape, and I feel GREAT. (I’m currently working on *also* loving the stretched-out flappy skin that resides in the centre of my abdomen like a creature of its own…)
A Brief History Lesson
In the 1950’s, a researcher named Ancel Keys did a study that he claimed showed that eating lots of saturated fat leads to heart disease.
The Lipid Hypothesis:
1. Saturated fat raises blood cholesterol
2. Cholesterol clogs your arteries and causes heart disease
For the last several decades, the official recommendation from our dietary and health “authorities” has been to reduce our intake of dietary fat, particularly saturated fats. This recommendation is based on on this single (poorly executed and falsified-data) study. There have been NO others corroborating this claim. None. The hypothesis has never been proven because it is actually false. Saturated fats do NOT lead to heart disease, and the “low-fat” craze is actually quite unhealthy and dangerous. As it turns out, the terms “healthy” and “low-fat” have been mistakenly married, and now require a divorce due to irreconcilable differences (the only time I’d recommend a divorce for this reason!). They are not synonymous, and never were.
photo © 2009 Wesley Fryer | more info (via: Wylio)This article discusses the study’s shortcomings and misrepresentations: “Ancel Key’s findings weren’t universally accepted and were even widely criticized by some, even the American Heart Association (AHA) itself. In 1957, the consensus of the board from the AHA was that controlled studies needed to be done in order to prove that saturated fat and cholesterol consumption is correlated with heart disease… In 1961, the AHA suddenly had a change of heart, so to speak, and recommended to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol intake from foods such as butter, fatty meat, egg yolks and full-fat milk with low fat equivalents and seed oils. What changed between 1957 and 1961? Was there any controlled trial done to prove the diet-heart hypothesis? The short answer is “no”. A large scale study was initiated, but was terminated early because of a “lack of funding”. The only things that really changed between 1957 and 1961 is that some people were dropped from the AHA’s board and some were added, including Ancel Keys himself. Keys was also featured for his findings on the cover of the Times magazine that same year.”
So, if saturated fat is not the culprit, then what is? Why is our research and dietary “knowledge” increasing at the same rate as the chronic diseases that plague our modern society: heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. Why are we getting fatter and sicker, as a society? Surely it can’t all boil down to not enough people buying the low-fat sour cream over the full-fat version. What are we missing?
I intend to continue this discussion with a chapter by chapter review of Gary Taubes’ latest book Why We Get Fat, And What To Do About It. From the front dust jacket: “In his New York Times bestseller, Good Calories, Bad Calories, Taubes argued that our diet’s overemphasis on certain carbohydrates – not fats and not simply excess calories – has led directly to the obesity epidemic we face today.” His latest book builds on this premise and provides fresh evidence. In it, he “reveals the bad nutritional science of the last century, none more damaging or misguided than the “calories-in, calories-out” model of why we get fat, and the good science that has been ignored, especially regarding insulin’s regulation of our fat tissue.” (also from the front dust jacket).
I know this will be a stretch for some of my readers – many of you converted to the religion of low-fat years ago, and cannot imagine believing any other way. I hope that you will keep an open and sharp mind, as I attempt to share what I’m learning in the hopes that it may help you find better health, one piece of organic pastured bacon at a time...
Have you been a believer in low-fat? What do you think about the claims put forth in this post?
*The video clip above is from the documentary “Fathead“, and I have not yet seen the entire film, though I do have it requested at my library, and am excited to see it.
* This post is entered in Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.