Newsflash: Eating fat doesn’t make you fat.
Contrary to the popular belief of Special K cereal commercials, Subway foot-long sandwich marketing schemes, fat-free Yoplait yogurts and Lean Cuisines, the fat phobia is all a hoax…
A hoax that is hard NOT to believe.
After all…the word “fat” alone says it all…or does it?
THE BIG FAT LIE
Pop question: When (and how) did the whole “big fat” lie (fat scare) start anyway?
Yeah. No one really knows.
NPR traces Americans’ fear of fat to July 1976, when Sen. George McGovern called an urgent hearing to raise attention to the links between diet and disease. This hearing was spurred on by an increase in Senate member deaths at the time (8 total during the 1960’s and 70’s).
Sen. McGovern and others tried to explain the outbreak. With few answers, they concluded that Americans “must be eating too much fat,” based on a few early studies scientists had been conducting on the link between saturated fat (like eggs and meat ) and heightened LDL cholesterol. (However, there were still ALOT of things scientists did not understand and not a lot of data). In addition, increased smoking, and the consumption of processed foods and sugar were not addressed.
Nevertheless, the idea stuck…and what began as a discussion…spread like wildfire.
By 1977, the USDA released its FIRST set of Dietary Goals, changing the way Americans viewed food dramatically: Warning Americans against the consumption of fats and oils, while emphasizing the consumption of grains, fruit, dairy, veggies and some protein, and saying NOTHING about sugar.
The primary mantra of the era?: If it wasn’t fat, it wouldn’t make you fat.
Enter: The Low Fat War.
Buckle up, Americans, and keep your limbs inside the vehicle (by avoiding fat at all cost)—The war against fat had only just begun.
Ironically, during this time, the obesity epidemic also began (recorded as early as 1976), and three things NO ONE was looking at as triggers for this growing health issue?
- The increased intake and use of grains and corn in the American diet (specifically High-Fructose Corn Syrup as the primary sweetener)
- The reduction of red meat and full-fat dairy as staples in the American diet
- And the NEGLECT of any other foods with fat in it
Fast-forward to the 1980’s and the fitness careers of Richard Simmons, Jack LaLane, Suzanne Somers and Jane Fonda were in high gear. In face, in 1982, Fonda released her first exercise video (Jane Fonda’s Workout), and it became the highest selling home video over the next few years, selling over a million copies. These gurus led the way, not only inspiring Americans to move more, but to eat less (fat).
By the 1990s, the majority of TV marketing, grocery-store shelves and American consumers were “all aboard” the Low Fat Bandwagon—
Slim Fast came out on the market, Billy Blanks Taebo kicked our butts, Skim Milk was “the chosen one” to grace your Kasha Go Lean Crunch cereal, Frosted Flakes promoted its cereal as part of a “Greattttt, healthy, low fat breakfast,” and we TOTALLY FELL FOR IT.
“Fat must make me fat,” became our reasoning—based solely on these subliminal (and vocal) messages, ringing in our ears near daily…all the while, as we’ve been singing this tune, Diabetes, obesity and heart disease have CONTINUED to be on the rise.
Fat DOES not make you fat (or sick)!
What about you? What did you believe? When did you first believe it?
My earliest memories of my personal “fat free” and low fat era date back to 3rd and 4th grade, when I turned around a Poptart’s box for the first time, and saw the words: “Fat grams” on there.
My resolve? If I want to be healthy, I must eat 0-grams of fat.
And daily, my aim became just that—how close to ZERO could I get (Even counting the 0.5 grams in my apple toward my goal).
This went on for YEARS! In fact, it took me about 15 years to realize this one simple fact…Fat does NOT make you fat.
(Read This: You’ve been believing lies).
You don’t have to just take MY word for it though.
More and more studies continue to point to this new age enlightenment: Fat does NOT make you fat.
- A review of 53 randomized control trials comparing the weight-loss outcomes of 68,128 participants on a low-fat or higher-fat diet, revealed that low-fat diets were less effective than higher-fat diets for helping people lose weight and keep it off for a year or more (Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 2015).
- High-fat diets have been directly linked to increased brain function (and decreased neurologic decline). (Gasior, 2006; Kossoff, Wang, 2013; Henderson, 2009) Lorenzo et al, 2013)
- Another study on women revealed that women eating a low-carb, high-fat diet until fullness lost more than twice as much weight as women eating a calorie restricted low-fat diet (Brehem et al, 2002)
- In a study of 60 overweight individuals, those placed on a higher-fat diet (compared to low fat dieters) saw greater improvements in cholesterol and body composition markers (Aude et al, 2004); and another one of 102 participants found the same thing (Daly et al, 2005).
…Just to name a few.
WHY FAT IS GOOD IN THE FIRST PLACE…
Soooo…if fat is so “good” for you in the first place…what is it so good for?
I’m glad you asked! Here’s a hit list of the top 10 reasons fat is good for you:
- Optimal Brain Function (& Prevents Brain Fog)
- Decreases Inflammation in the Body
- Revving Digestion (eases up bloating and constipation)
- Absorbs Vitamins & Minerals
- Produces & Supports Hormone Health
- Boosts Your Metabolism
- Makes Your Skin & Hair Strong & Shiny
- Satisfies Cravings & Staves off Hunger
- Blood Sugar Balance Between Meals
- It Tastes REALLY Good
It’s easy to question, what does fat NOT do?
WHAT TO EAT
Alright…so you’re open to at least considering adding in some fat to your daily diet. Welcome to the world of diet liberation! And, oh there are so many wonderful, tasty options to fuel your bod, brawn and brain. *Aim to include 1-2 fats with every meal, along with some protein and veggies for a balanced meal that your body says “thankyou” for.
- Almond Oil
- Animal & Organ Meats, Organic (fatty, whole cuts; no need to always buy lean)
- Avocado Oil
- Bacon, Nitrate-free
- Chia Seeds
- Coconut Oil
- Coconut Butter
- Eggs, Pastured, Whole
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Cold-Pressed
- Fatty Fish, Sardines, Salmon (Wild-caught)
- Flax Seeds
- Grassfed Butter
- Grassfed Dairy (Whole; Cheese, Milk, Yogurt)
- Hempseed Oil
- Palm Oil
- Palm Shortening
- Mayo, (made with Avocado Oil or Olive Oil)
- Nutbutter, natural, raw
- Pumpkin Seed Oil/Pumpkin Seeds
- Raw nuts & seeds
Get it? Got it? Good!
The bottom line?
Fat phobia is soooooooooo 1990.
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