“It takes fat to burn fat.”

 ~Barry Sears

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Where did the idea that eating fat makes you fat come from?

How did low fat diets become the standard for reducing body fat?Let us begin this step with a brief history lesson.  To answer these questions we must go back in time to the 1950s when biochemist Ancel Keys published a research article entitled “The Seven Countries Study.”   Keys hypothesized that the increasing rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD) amongst americans were due to the high fat consumption of the american population. In order to prove this hypothesis, he performed a prospective epidemiological study comparing the dietary patterns of various countries called “The Seven Countries Study.”  The study concluded that countries that consume low-fat diets have much lower rates of CVD than countries that consume high-fat diets.  By now you’re probably thinking, “if diets low in fat lower my risk of heart disease, then why are you telling me to increase my fat consumption?”

     This is where it gets interesting. “The Seven Countries Study” should have been called “the twenty-two countries study” if Keys had included all of the twenty-two cohorts he had originally reviewed. This is what Gary Taubes, author of “Good Calories, Bad Calories” would call “bad science.”  Since the data from the twenty-two countries contradicted his hypothesis, keys decided to only include the seven countries that supported his hypothesis.  So apparently what is known as the french paradox (the french consume high amounts of fat and have lower rates of CVD) isn’t a paradox at all,  because the lipid hypothesis is nothing but a mistaken assumption.

     To make matters even worse, a group of lawyers (not doctors or scientists) published the McGovern report listing the dietary recommendations for Americans based on the lipid hypothesis.  The food industry took this opportunity to create products with little to no fat.  This wouldn’t matter as much if they didn’t already add sugar to everything to improve texture and palatability.  the creation of low-fat/high-carb, highly processed foods, has caused diabetes, obesity, andcardiovascular disease to grow at ever increasing rates.

 

Big Fat Lies

 

 

The truth is, our bodies need fat to survive.  According to the most current research, it’s not the amount of fat that’s important, but rather the type of fat that is affecting our health.  Why do we need fat and what purpose does it serve our bodies?  Fat intake is important for producing various hormones, including testosterone and estrogen.  It also aides in transporting certain vitamins, such as A,D,K, and E.  It’s no wonder that more than 60% of the American population is deficient in vitamin D.  We drink skim milk that is fortified with vitamin D, but without the fat we cannot absorb this nutrient.

Essential fatty acids are important structural components of every living cell in our bodies.  They are also crucial for regulating blood pressure, blood clotting, sleep/wake cycles, body temperature, and inflammatory responses.  They are essential because our bodies cannot produce them and we must get them from the foods that we eat.

 

For most of our evolutionary history, fat has been our primary energy source for most activities.  A single gram of fat yields more energy in our bodies than any other macronutrient.  since we consume very high amounts of carbohydrates in our diets and very low amounts of fat, we never use these fat reserves for energy. When we consume more fatty acids and fewer carbohydrates, our gene expression changes and tells our bodies to start utilizing fat for energy.  SInce we always have excess body fat available, it will produce a steady, more efficient, and reliable fuel source.  We can use energy more efficiently, and ultimately burn more body fat by adding the fat back into our diet.

Foods to Avoid on The Paleo Diet – Trans-fats