Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fat is Not the Devil

We watched "Fat Head" last night.  Or, I should say I watched it, while Mike dozed off next to me.  It's not that he wasn't interested... he was just so exhausted from traveling for work all day.  Sooo... tonight we're having a repeat performance of the second half.  LOL

It was awesome.  It's all this stuff I've been proclaiming for years... fat is not bad, not even (oh the HORRORS)... SATURATED fat!!!  Guess what??? We ate saturated fat for thousands of years and were lean, fit and healthy. It wasn't until the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago that we started getting fat. Our bodies are made to eat animal fat.  What's poisoning us and making us obese are all these hydrogenated vegetable oils, refined carbohydrates and processed crap.  It ain't beef. Seriously, we'd be much better off if we went back to eating REAL food, real fats... stuff like BUTTER, meat, coconut oil and LARD. (I know some of you are cringing... but just give me a minute...)

Guess what causes heart disease and high cholesterol?  It's not FAT as you have been brainwashed to believe.  It's stress, smoking AND... (drumroll) refined carbohydrates. YES, carbs. The type the government tells us to eat 6-11 servings of per day.  Do you really think the government has your best interests at heart when they're in the business of commodity, serving special interest groups and satisfying the powerful interests in the dairy and grain industry?  Grain, corn, wheat and the like are commodities. There's money to be made.  The goverment wants you to believe fat is evil and refined carbs are GOOD FOR YOU.  Did you know Cocoa Puffs bear the stamp of approval from the American Heart Association as a heart healthy food? WTF???

Ok, I know I am all over the place here... so let me try to break this down.  Here are some of the facts presented in "Fat Head." (Taken from the blog

No-Bologna Facts

There’s never been a single study that proves saturated fat causes heart disease.

As heart-disease rates were skyrocketing in the mid-1900s, consumption of animal fat was going down, not up. Consumption of vegetable oils, however, was going up dramatically.

Half of all heart-attack victims have normal or low cholesterol. Autopsies performed on heart-attack victims routinely reveal plaque-filled arteries in people whose cholesterol was low (as low as 115 in one case).

Asian Indians - half of whom are vegetarians - have one of the highest rates of heart disease in the entire world. Yup, that fatty meat will kill you, all right.

When Morgan Spurlock tells you that a McDonald’s salad supplies almost a day’s allowance of fat, he’s basing that statement on the FDA’s low-fat/high-carbohydrate dietary guidelines, which in turn are based on … absolutely nothing. There’s no science behind those guidelines; they were simply made up by a congressional committee.

Kids who were diagnosed as suffering from ADD have been successfully treated by re-introducing natural saturated fats into their diets. Your brain is made largely of fat.

Many epileptics have reduced or eliminated seizures by adopting a diet low in sugar and starch and high in saturated animal fats.

Despite everything you’ve heard about saturated fat being linked to cancer, that link is statistically weak. However, there is a strong link between sugar and cancer. In Europe, doctors tell patients, “Sugar feeds cancer.”

Being fat is not, in and of itself, bad for your health. The behaviors that can make you fat - eating excess sugar and starch, not getting any exercise - can also ruin your health, and that’s why being fat is associated with bad health. But it’s entirely possible to be fat and healthy. It’s also possible to be thin while developing Type II diabetes and heart disease.

Saturated fat and cholesterol help produce testosterone. When men limit their saturated fat, their testosterone level drops. So, regardless of what a famous vegan chef believes, saturated fat does not impair sexual performance.


Remember the whole "SnackWells" low fat/fat free craze of the 90's? I totally bought into it.  There was a period of time in the early 90's when I was fanatically obsessed with keeping my weight at 120 pounds.  This was not easy. In order to do it, I ate a steady diet of nutritionally devoid, junk carbs that coverted quickly into sugar in my gut because they were labeled "low fat" or "fat free."  I had no clue I may as well have just sat down and eaten a bowl of ice cream, which would've had the same effect. These foods had nothing good in them and were complete junk, but I ate them because I had been brainwashed to believe fat was the enemy, the root of all evil.  My diet consisted of low fat cereal, granola bars, pretzels, low-calorie bread, no-yolks egg noodles, fat-free Doritos "WOW" Chips (remember those, made with "OLean?") fat-free pudding, spaghetti-o's, SnackWells sandwich creme cookies, SnackWells brownies, fat-free cheese and bologna, Malt-o-Meal, SnackWells mini chocolate chip cookies, and, of course, fat-free frozen yogurt.  I made sure I kept my fat at 10% of my daily caloric intake. I did not exceed 1,000 calories per day. I did 45 mins of StairMaster or brisk walking per day. And, oh yeah, I popped pills like Xenadrine, Ripped Fuel or Dexatrim.

I was constantly irritable, depressed, anemic, lethargic and exhausted.  I was able to maintain my weight for about 18 months...but I was constantly living in a state of deprivation which drove me to binge on delicious, satiating, fatty foods from time to time. Slowly, I began to gain weight, and I could not figure out why.  (my insulin levels were spiking and packing my fat cells full because they didn't know when they'd get another dose of fat). I struggled harder to watch my fat grams, but still the weight was creeping on.  I couldn't understand it.   

This went on with me feeling totally out of control... something that had plagued me since the age of 9 when I first began battling my weight problems.  I hit my all-time high weight of 185 pounds in 2000.  No, I was not pregnant... and hadn't been for the past six years!

The next three years were a constant struggle to get the weight off. I tried many different things. In 2003 when I met Mike, I stumbled upon the Atkins diet and decided to give that a try.  Now, I know many people give Atkins a bad rap... but it really did work for me.  I lost 20 pounds pretty quickly, started running and lost even more.  Eventually, I got myself down to 125 lbs.

I've been bouncing between 120-125 for the past couple of years. During that time, I'd go back and forth with the low-carb thing.  I knew it worked best for me, yet sometimes I would stop doing it and go back to my sugar-eating ways.  Whenever I'd resume sugar and grain consumption, I'd again start feeling like crap again...tired, lethargic, depressed.  Once I went back to low carb, adequate protein, no sugar, clean eating... I would feel awesome.  I would feel so much better, did not feel deprived, my BRAIN worked better (your brain is mostly made up of fat and cholesterol - IT NEEDS IT TO FUNCTION). Hello? Maybe I needed to start paying attention!? ow-fat= feel like garbage, no energy; fat and protein= feel great, lots of energy, no cravings.

Let's review: FAT by itself does not make you fat. Fat and protein TOGETHER, do not make you fat.  Sugars, starches and refined carbohydrates combined with fat...MAKE YOU FAT.

Also, eating saturated fat doesn't give you heart disease. Try finding a study that supports this. I have known this since reading a book a few years back called "UltraMetabolism"  High cholesterol levels are directly correlated to the amount of sugar and refined carbohydrates in your diet.

Remember how your grandparents ate "REAL" food? Stuff they grew in the garden and canned, animals they raised and slaughtered... eggs and milk they got from their own animals? That's what we need to get back to.  Let me be clear: meat and dairy should come from QUALITY sources, and should not be processed crap... stuff loaded with nitrates and preservatives is NOT good.

I found this phenomenal website about 5 years ago called This woman is amazing, she has maintained her weight for going on ten years through low carbing, has awesome cholesterol and low body fat, is super healthy and helps others live low carb. I went back to her site and started relearning what had worked for me in the first place.  I dropped 5 pounds in one week by cutting out the crap once again and was back down to "fighting weight."  During my pregnancy this time, I have been doing the "maintenance" phase, eating mainly protein, lots of vegetables, eggs, dairy, soy milk, seeds, nuts and some fruits. Recently I started having oatmeal in the morning and found it does not raise my blood sugar.

Remember my recent post about the blood sugar monitoring?  I have been doing it about a week now and it's been interesting and fun to see how my blood sugar reacts to different foods. If you watch "Fat Head," you will learn that excess insulin is what makes people store fat and put on weight. As long as you keep your blood sugar levels in the optimal range, you will not gain weight/store fat.  It's that simple.

You want to keep your blood sugar between 70-120 ideally.  Many people consume WAY too many simple carbs and are elevating their blood sugars all the time.  A baked potato might jack your sugar levels up to 200!

So far, nothing I eat regularly has raised mine over 100.  I found a couple of things I need to be careful with though: eating 2 sugar-free puddings with Reddi-Whip raised it to 127, but on a different day I had one pudding with no Reddi-Whip and it was only 95. I am pretty sure it was the Reddi-Whip. Even though the label says it has less than a carb per serving, it still contains sugar. (And if you're like me, you can't help tipping the can back and squirting some into your mouth...haha)  Also, tonight I asked Mike to get me some sugar-free hot chocolate from the store.  An hour after 2 cups of it, my blood sugar was 131! Another hour later it was down to 87, which indicated my pancreas was very effective at releasing insulin to mop up the excess sugar.  It's funny though, because the label says "no sugar added." Still, sugar alcohols can have an impact on glucose levels, too.

Back to "Fat Head." It's great, if you haven't seen it, you should. The guy goes on a high saturated fat/low carb diet... LOSES weight and lowers his cholesterol. How do you explain that???

The other day at work, I was eating a hard boiled egg, which I often do.  One of my co-workers glanced over at my pile of peeled eggs and said, "You're going to eat THREE eggs?" I laughed... and responded, "Yeah, I just might," to which she responded "How many eggs per week do you eat anyway?"

I had to laugh... eggs have really gotten a bad rap.  Remember when this nonsense came out a while back saying you should only eat 3 eggs per week or something? It has since been rescinded... eggs are NOT the enemy, they are a perfect protein food, and they raise levels of GOOD cholesterol!

READ ON if you want to learn more about eggs!

For many years now, eggs have been vilified as a bad food because they have a high cholesterol content and thought to promote heart disease. It is true that eggs contain cholesterol - approx 215 mg per egg - and saturated fats. But the truth is that the cholesterol you consume in your diet has little effect on your blood cholesterol level. Most of the cholesterol in the body is produced in the body.

Many studies have shown that egg consumption is not related to the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke in men or women. In fact long term studies have shown that there is very little difference between people who consume a lot of cholesterol in their food to those who ate much less. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that siginificantly reducing your dietary cholesterol consumption will only lower blood cholesterol levels by an average of 1%!

Eggs cholesterol will not build up in the body the way it was once thought to do and it is a safe, and heart healthy meal if eaten in moderation. However eggs can become problematic if the cholesterol inside them gets oxidized. This can happen if the eggs are cooked at high temperatures where the york is broken as in frying or omelets. The cholesterol in eggs should not become oxidized if boiled or poached.

In summary, eggs are not the villain. It is an excellent source of protein and a useful addition to a low carbohydrate diet. Eating eggs for breakfast will help to keep hunger at bay for hours and reducing craving for sweets in the mid morning.

By the way, the last time I had my cholesterol checked, which was about a month ago, it was 155!

I guess the moral of the story (and all this rambling I have been doing) is that you have to do what works for you. Since I've been "dieting" since the age of 9 and have done and tried everything from fasting to the cabbage soup diet, I am thrilled and empowered to have FINALLY found a lifestyle that works for me where I do not have to feel hungry, irritable or deprived.

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