Here, we explore 7 things that doctors got wrong about fat. For decades we were given the wrong information and we are still reaping the consequences to this day. Statements such as “fats are bad for you” and advice to stick to a low-fat, high-carb diet have seen fat consumption fall but incidents of diabetes and obesity double and continue to rise.
The good news is that doctors are slowly waking up and smelling the keto coffee. They’re revising their position on fat and are coming round to the idea that healthy fats are not only good for you but they are essential are proving to be a healthier way to live.
Now, it should be noted that throughout this post, when we’re talking about fat, we’re talking about healthy fats. There are healthy fats and bad fats (which should be avoided at all cost, e.g. hydrogenated oils, processed oils, margarine, trans fats etc.)
FAT PLAYS AN ESSENTIAL ROLE IN OUR BODY
- 0.1 FAT PLAYS AN ESSENTIAL ROLE IN OUR BODY
- 0.2 WHAT EXPERTS GOT WRONG ABOUT FAT #1: “FAT MAKES YOU FAT”
- 0.3 WHAT EXPERTS GOT WRONG ABOUT FAT #2: “FAT CLOGS YOUR ARTERIES”
- 0.4 WHAT DOCTORS GOT WRONG ABOUT FAT #3: “YOUR BODY DOESN’T NEED FAT”
- 0.5 FAT MISTAKE #4: “YOUR BRAIN NEEDS GLUCOSE, NOT FAT”
- 0.6 FAT MISTAKE #5: “FAT MESSES WITH YOUR HORMONES”
- 0.7 FAT MISTAKE #6: “FAT IS BAD FOR YOUR HEART”
- 1 Burn Your Fat
Poor fat. It has taken such a PR hammering over the years when it’s actually a major unsung hero of human health. Fat is essential for:
- Maintaining cell-structure integrity, repair and correct function
- Aids in the transit and absorption of vitamins
- Immune response, blood-clotting, wound-healing, inflammation response
- Omega 3 essential fatty acids promote heart health
- Offers insulation
- Boosts brain function
- Provides energy
(Not to mention… fat tastes delicious! Chefs are taught early on that “fat is flavor”!)
You need fat to be healthy. Period.
The seeds of what we got wrong about fat were planted in a deeply-flawed study, The Seven Countries Study. Suffice it to say this study – if you can call it that – has done a huge amount of damage to public health and has no doubt contributed to premature deaths and needless suffering.
WHAT EXPERTS GOT WRONG ABOUT FAT #1: “FAT MAKES YOU FAT”
The worst thing experts got wrong about fat is that “fat makes you fat” and should be avoided at all cost. The false idea that was being pushed is that eating fat will make you gain fat. This has now been completely and in multiple studies. Instead, doctors promoted calorie-restriction which just doesn’t work – your body will rebel against calorie-restriction as it goes against everything your survival mechanism is programmed to do. Yes, you may lose a few pounds at first by counting calories but it will eventually fail, without exception.
WHAT EXPERTS GOT WRONG ABOUT FAT #2: “FAT CLOGS YOUR ARTERIES”
The next thing that many got wrong about fat is that a diet high in saturated fat will lead to clogged arteries leading to cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack. This is completely false. Even the NHS says there is no link between saturated fat and heart disease.
The damage caused to arteries is not fat or cholesterol but inflammation and chronically-elevated insulin (brought about by a high-carb/sugar diet). In fact, in order to repair the damage to your arteries, your body needs fat and cholesterol. The actual hero of this process – fat – is getting the blame! How this misconception surrounding fat was allowed to run for so long is surprising when you consider the role of fat and cholesterol in the body. In order for cells to function properly, they need an adequate supply of fat and cholesterol.
WHAT DOCTORS GOT WRONG ABOUT FAT #3: “YOUR BODY DOESN’T NEED FAT”
Of all the things that experts got wrong about fat, this is perhaps the dumbest. Fat is the building block of healthy cells and it’s the essential ingredient that ensures so many vital processes in our body run efficiently and correctly. Speaking of “essential” – there are essential fats – fats that we cannot produce in our body and so must come from our diet.
Essential fats are needed in your heart, lungs, liver, bone marrow, kidneys, spleen, intestines, muscles, your nervous system and brain. In other words, your entire body! (Indeed, every cell membrane in your body, without exception, has to have cholesterol in it to even function properly. Cholesterol is not an essential fatty acid however, i.e. your liver produces about 3,000 milligrams a day on its own).
Fat also plays a vital role in maintaining the healthy of the myelin sheaths that wrap around our nerves to help them conduct signals quickly and correctly.
So, for anyone to say “your body doesn’t need fat” is just the height of ignorance. Your body needs fat.
FAT MISTAKE #4: “YOUR BRAIN NEEDS GLUCOSE, NOT FAT”
The next thing experts got wrong about fat is say it’s not a suitable fuel for your brain. The common belief was that your brain couldn’t burn fat, only glucose. This is absolutely wrong – yet it’s still a misconception held by many to this day. Incidentally, the brain is 60-70% fat.
So, you probably know by now that the keto diet works by triggering ketosis (the process where your body converts fat to “ketones bodies” – normally just called “ketones” – to use as fuel, instead of using carbs/sugar. Ketosis happens after you have depleted your body’s carb reserves and normally takes a few days). Every cell in your body can burn ketones and ketones are made of fat.
(It should be noted there are a few exceptions. Red blood cells and a few special cells in the brain do not burn ketones for fuel. The other 37,000,000,000,000 (thirty seven trillion) or so, do! So, these exceptions still rely on carbs for fuel. That’s not a problem. Remember, keto is a low-carb, not no-carb diet.)
So, your brain can burn fat for fuel, no problem.
FAT MISTAKE #5: “FAT MESSES WITH YOUR HORMONES”
The next lie about fat is that it “screws up your hormones”. This is truly bizarre when you consider that every gender-related hormone – testosterone, progesterone, estrogen (oestrogen) is made of… cholesterol! So the very thing that is being claimed to be damaging hormones is what hormones are made from!
It’s not fat that is screwing up your hormones. It’s eating a super-low fat diet and taking statins (cholesterol-lowing drugs) that is wreaking havoc on your hormones.
FAT MISTAKE #6: “FAT IS BAD FOR YOUR HEART”
As we’ve already seen in the introduction, the NHS disagrees. And they’re not the only one. A growing number of scientific bodies, organisations and institutions are recognising that they got this badly wrong about fat.
So how did fat get blamed for this? Over the years, post-mortems and scientific research no doubt found cholesterol and fat in a deceased person’s arteries and decided there must be a link. And, for decades, people just accepted this as truth. It isn’t. Cholesterol is often found in arteries as it’s actually trying to repair the damage to the cell walls caused by chronic crappy diets high in carbs and sugar. Such poor diets cause inflammation and chronically-elevated insulin levels and it’s these that cause artery damage. Cholesterol is actually trying to fix the problem but gets the blame!
Healthy fat is good for you.