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Monday, July 21, 2008

Fat Can Save Your Life

Fat has gotten a lot of bad press over the years, and as Gary Taubes points out so incisively in his new book Good Calories, Bad Calories, much of that bad press is so wrongheaded that it's well-nigh criminal. The monumental incompetence of the science behind fat bashers boggles the imagination. They ridiculed Atkins. The tarnished the image of fat. And they had us believing that cholesterol was something to avoided at all costs. Turns out that fat is not bad, fat will not cause clogged arteries, and fat will not increase your risk of heart attack. What will do all those bad things, however, is carbohydrates, which, when consumed, boost insulin levels, which leads to the shunting of fat into your poor adipose tissue (leading to obesity) and into the harried interior of your artery walls (leading to clogged arteries, stroke, and heart attacks). It's not how much fat we eat that causes these problems, it's how much carbohydrate we eat. In the absence of high levels of carbohydrates, fat is good. A must read is Taubes' controversial New York Times article "What If It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?" You'll never look at carbohydrates the same way again, and you just might start loving cheese, eggs, steak, and all the high-fat foods that can save your life.


Ruth said...

While we all need some fat to maintain our good health, and I'll agree with you that cholesterol has gotten a really bad rap, I wonder if we're not rushing too far to the other extreme once more. I think perhaps a better idea is the one of individual uniqueness and gene type having an effect on how we process foods that is put forth by Pamela McDonald in The APO E Gene Diet. She has created a true integrative approach to healthy eating that is better suited to healthy weight loss than a lot of the popular one-size-fits-all diet theories out there today.

David Brown said...

Ruth has made a good point here. The rush to demonize carbohydrates needs to be replaced with a more comprehensive explanation as to what causes obesity and chronic disease. In my opinion, the major factors promoting ill health include inadequate supportive nutrition, excessive omega-6 vegetable oil consumption, and too much fructose in the diet. In addition, biochemical factors, such as the way cells are genetically configured, will determine whether a person will thrive on or tolerate any particular configuration of fat and carbohydrate intake. Check out the Kitava Study at: