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.
great post 🙂 found it through the fat party post you posted on FB 🙂 want to watch the fat head video with my husband…I have no weight problems…and I eat a lot of mayo and bacon, etc…but I partially think it is metabolism, but my husband has issues, so would love to find what he needs and a good fat diet sounds so much more fun 🙂
Beth, I can’t wait to see what you have coming up for is in this series 🙂 This is something I have been incorporating back into our diets about the last 4 months. Now I just have to get the grains weeded out! Great job!
I ate a “healthy” low fat vegetarian diet for 17 years. In all that time I had terrible food cravings and my weight kept going up up up! Now I have metabolic syndrome, my cholesterol is messed up, and my blood sugar is WAY messed up. I dieted, I made sure I was eating “slow carbs” and exotic whole grains and crap. RUBBISH. I gave that crap up and eat meat. DOUBLE meat. With cheese. I still eat my veggies, but I am so angry that this BS HCLF diet advice ruined my health that I will probably never eat grains again. I have lost 35 lbs in 3 months and my blood sugar is stable for the first time in ages. My doctor keeps and eye on me and after my epic positive turn around she has given me her blessing. I’m even off my diabetes meds! I wish I could shout about this from the rooftops. High carb vegetarian diets ARE NOT the cure for diabetes/PCOS/Syndrome X!!!!
I, too, was raised/indoctrinated into the low-fat food philosophy. As I started to battle more and more with weight problems, I wondered why I would eat a meal that checked all of the right boxes — including sufficient calories — but would remain so unsatisfied that I would constantly be seeking out snacks between meals. About a year and a half ago, I decided to try incorporating more fat into my diet, and the change was instantaneous and dramatic: I filled up faster at meals and stayed that way (gone was the mindless desire to snack) and effortlessly starting losing weight until I reached a healthy weight, which I now have no trouble whatsoever maintaining. I realized that in all the FAT IS BAD propaganda, they were leaving out two key bits of information: natural fats are delicious and they are extremely satisfying, unlike refined carbohydrates, which leave you ravenous again within minutes. You’re one of the only other people I’ve come across that seems to embrace fat as a good and desirable thing in the diet, so thank you for boosting my dietary morale today!
LOVE that documentary. seriously. gave me all the freedom i needed to have bacon and eggs every morning for breakfast:)
Hey Beth, great stuff here. While I was at my in-laws last week I noticed my MIL was reading “eating right for your blood type” so I flipped through it and the basics are that only type O should have a diet w/ lots of red meat and type A’s (me) should basically be vegetarian w/ the exception of a little bit of fish and chicken being neutral but not beneficial and the main bulk of my diet should be carbs (healthy whole food carbs) . Have you done any reading on diet and blood type?
I was just today referred to an Alberta doctor’s website to look up some questions I have, and when I read his “About Me” I was dismayed to note that he says “2.Watching fats is more important than watching sugars, although both matter a lot.” After our discussions and some reading I’ve done, I can’t see how natural fats are worse than processed sugars. That being said, I wonder what our cholesterol level does when we have so much fat in our diet…just very curious!
Crys, seriously?!? That right there is exactly why there are so many sick people in our country. Sad. Let’s chat more about the cholesterol thing – I have answers for you, but need to collate my research 🙂
I always dream of having foods that do not come with labels. High fat foods do have a great aroma wafting in the kitchen. Interesting that a normal North American diet is chock full of carbohydrates, just by being mislead to believe, we are eating healthy. A very informative post, Beth.
mmm, real food with NO labels. that’s the way I dream too.
as you know i was big into the low fat stuff but once i started reading ingredients i started buying the regular versions because i could at least recognize the name of what i was eating
the low-fat stuff is nasty – usually with added junk and sugars to make it taste half-decent.
My partner and I really enjoyed reading this blog post, I was just itching to know do you trade featured posts? I am always trying to find someone to make trades with and merely thought I would ask.
You are positively brilliant Beth! I love the way you challenge your readers to really consider what they think is healthy eating! So many people blindly accept what they are told by the media and accept it as truth without really investigating for themselves. Keep up the great work, you are such a trooper!
Thanks Kim 🙂
As a vegan I was eating a really low fat diet. I felt pretty awful eventually. Now I weigh 118 lbs (I’m 5’3″) eating a high saturated fat diet and zero vegetable oils (occasional raw olive oil). Excess sugar and grains cause weight gain from my experience.
Definitely the grains and sugars… but the mainstream media/doctors won’t admit it. No wonder we still have an obesity epidemic.