Back when I was health coaching full-time, I had to explain many times that fat doesn’t actually make you fat. That eating a whole avocado every day ain’t no thang.
It’s hard to grasp though, after decades of the nutrition world telling us that a low-fat diet is the only way to stay healthy and protect ourselves from obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc. But that’s just not true. And thankfully a lot of research in the past few years has begun to prove it (and convince the public of it as well).
The low-fat diet of yesteryear is just not working. In fact, it has a lot to do with why we’re gaining weight and getting sick.
Let me explain real quick.
Sometime back in the late 50s this dude named Ancel Keys thought he discovered the fact that fat causes weight gain and heart disease – the findings were first published sometime in the 70s. He was really pumped about this and decided to exclude a bunch of other research findings that did not promote the same conclusion. However, he got his message out there somehow, convinced some serious influencers, and everyone started avoiding fat like the plague.
And of course, food companies jumped right on the bandwagon and low-fat foods became a huge, smashing, market success.
Yet none of this was successful in actually combatting obesity and disease.
Because in order to make foods that normally contained fat taste good without it, food companies replaced it with sugar and other processed ingredients – so they didn’t taste like shit. Which we then bought and consumed in massive quantities. Whole wheat bread, breakfast cereals, pasta and fat free dairy products became the new health foods.
And we got even sicker and fatter because these are the foods that actually make us fat and sick.
Here’s the thing, fat doesn’t make you fat. In fact, the fat you eat has very little to do with the fat around your belly and on your butt. Sugar and processed grains are what actually make you fat. And we’re consuming both of them in unprecedented amounts. The explosion of obesity, diabetes and heart disease directly coincided with the explosion of processed, sugar-laden grains being consumed.
We’re just not eating real food anymore. That’s the real reason we’re fat.
Fat is actually really important, and as Dr. Mark Hyman (Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Integrative Medicine) points out in his new book Eat Fat, Get Thin, eating more healthy fats is what we all should try if we want to lose weight, avoid getting sick and just feel better in general. Because one of the big problems in our nutrition world, is that we’re just not getting enough healthy fats.
It’s not just about what we avoid in our diets, we have to actually nourish ourselves as well.
- Tablespoon of olive oil on your salad
- A whole avocado
- Pastured eggs
- Wild-caught fish
- Nuts & seeds
These are just a few examples of nourishing, healthy fats. And they also happen to taste really good and leave you feeling satiated after your meals. And don’t worry about the calories, either. Calories don’t mean all that much but, that’s a topic for another post.
[Of course there are some unhealthy fats that we should avoid, like hydrogenated oils and such. Those are, you guessed it, processed. They’re not naturally occurring fats and they are harmful. But if you stick with our go-to nutrition philosophy of eat simple, whole foods – you should be able to avoid them without much worry.]
We consumers are starting to catch on now, thanks to the work of folks like Dr. Hyman. People are really starting to heal themselves by cutting out the crap and adding in natural foods, including healthy fat.
The popularity of the Wild, Paleo, BulletProof and Caveman diets are examples of this. And they basically all suggest the same dietary shifts; cut out processed crap, avoid sugar and processed grains and eat real, whole, foods like pastured eggs and organic vegetables.
Essentially just cut the crap, and eat more real food, including fat.
We’re both big fans of this kind of eating here at Crop Tops & Kale. We’re trying not to get caught up in demonizing one food or another and we just try to eat a variety of healthy, whole foods. And we believe eating real, whole fat is good for everything from our skin & nails to our nerves. We love it. Bring on the GAUC, yo.
What do you think? Have you experimented with eating more fat or tried any of the diets above? Have any questions? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.
And if you liked this post, please share it with your friends on Facebook.
If you’re looking for some more wellness tips, check out The Simple Cleanse. It’s totally free!
Also published on Medium.