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9 Reasons Why Your Doctor Is Wrong About Fat

I'm sure you've heard how eggs raise your cholesterol levels, saturated fat clogs your arteries and animal fats are bad fats that should be avoided at all costs...

You probably cut off the tasty fat on a piece of steak because your doctor has said it would lead to heart disease?

What if I told you that you're missing out. Not only from the simple please of eating a fatty steak, but from a health and nutrition point of view as well. 

What if I told you that your doctor might be wrong?

 

9 Reasons Why Your Doctor Is Wrong About Fat

Below I have 27 scientifically proven reasons why you may want to reconsider your doctors advice on fat, but first we need to learn why your doctor is feeding you misinformation.

Please note - I am not a doctor, and this blog is not intended as medical advice. Before making any dietary changes I recommend doing your own research and speaking to various health professionals.

 

Lipid Hypothesis

The lipid hypothesis arose from the findings of researcher Ancel Keys at the time when heart attacks in America were surging. The theory was that lowering blood cholesterol would reduce coronary heart disease events. This theory was implemented by governments and health boards around the world. However, we were wrong. Obesity & heart attacks haven’t decreased since people cut the fat from their diet, instead we’ve actually become sicker and fatter.

Numerous researchers have now shown that Keys was wrong, very wrong. Gary Taubes does an amazing job exploring the research in his book Good Calories, Bad Calories. So does Chris Kresser in his report ‘Diet Heart Myth’.

Unfortunately, fat still receives a bad rap in society. People are still very 'fat phobic' and low-fat food items are still common in supermarkets and restaurant menus.

The 'legend' says that high-fat foods will clog arteries, lead to cardiovascular disease, and, of course, will make everyone fat! However, we were wrong. Low-fat diets are not the key to health & lean bodies, just look at the consumers waddling around any mall on the weekend. The proof is in the (low fat) pudding!

Anyway, enough of a history lesson, let us look at the 9 reasons why your doctor is wrong about fat.

1. Fat Consumption Isn't To Blame If You Are Fat

Many thinking eat dietary fat will in turn make you fat. But this belief is wrong and there are many studies to show that this belief is wrong:

  • This 1998 epidemiologic science review concluded  “. . . there is no conclusive evidence from epidemiological studies that dietary fat intake promotes the development of obesity independently of total energy intake." 
  • Studies have shown that eating more fat while dropping carb intake down, lead to not only reduced body weight but also retained or increased lean mass levels. I.e. they lost body fat, not muscle mass.

 

2. Saturated Fat Doesn't Cause Heart Disease

Even those who preach the benefits of ''good fats'' still shun the idea of eating saturated fat (for example - the Australian Heart Foundation has a list of good fats - which noticeably excludes saturated fat). You know the type, this is the individual that is 'pro-fat', but then cuts the fat from their steak and drinks low-fat milk. Why? To avoid saturated fat of course?!


Well lets look at the facts when it comes to saturated fat (Saturated fat includes foods such as bacon fat, butter, cream, coconut oil etc):

  • A meta-analysis of 350,000 participants found "no association between saturated fat and heart disease".
  • This 2011 study found that “reducing the intake of CHO (carbs) .... is more effective in the prevention of CVD (cardiovascular disease) than reducing SAFA (Saturated fat) intake per se.” 
  • While a 2010 Japanese study concluded that 'Saturated Fat intake was inversely associated with mortality from total stroke' (meaning those who ate more saturated fat had a lower risk of stroke).

 

3. High Cholesterol Doesn't Mean Higher Risk of Heart Disease

Firstly, it's important to note that cholesterol isn't actually a fat. It is a sterol that is fat soluble. Cholesterol is carried around in the blood by proteins named lipoproteins. These proteins are classified by their density - for example, low density lipoproteins (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL).

Now there are numerous studies that break the common belief that high cholesterol is a direct cause of heart disease, for instance:

  • This 2011 study found that patients with high levels of LDL (regarded as the 'bad cholesterol') were at lower risk of heart disease than patients with low LDL levels. 
  • A study of 52,000 Norwegians found that those with a total cholesterol level below 195mg/dL at a higher risk of death than individuals with cholesterol above that amount.

4. Saturated Fat Doesn't Clog Your Arteries

Saturated fats doesn't clog your arteries. There is scientific proof to support this claim. 

Fat creates problems in our arteries when the wall of our arteries become damaged and inflamed. When this damage occurs a lesion (i.e. a 'scab') forms. The body doesn't want this scab breaking off and causing a blockage so the body aims to break down this scab bit by bit.

However, if we continue to live a life that creates these scabs in the first place (think highly inflammatory foods, stress, smoking etc) then the amount of these 'scabs' increase and the arteries narrow as a result.

The fat doesn't cause the issue, its the rubbish food we eat with the fat.

 

 

5. Fat Is Actually Very Nutritious 

Many vitamins are 'fat soluble', meaning they are locked up in the fats we eat (or don't eat if you eat low fat)

  • Vitamin K2 - an essential - meaning the body cannot make it - vitamin that provides benefits for cardiovascular and bone health - is found in high levels in saturated fat such as grass-fed butter.
  • Choline, a B vitamin that is important for neurotransmitter production and detoxification of the cells, is found in high levels in egg yolks - yes the fatty part of the egg that is often tipped down the sink!
  • Natural Tocotrienols (vitamin E) is a fat soluble vitamin found in the fat of meat, fish, eggs and palm oil. The funny thing is that vitamin E acts as a repair tool for damaged arteries. It is a potent anti-oxidant.
  • And while we're on the topic of repairing damaged arteries, cholesterol itself helps heal damaged artery walls. So when a patient dies of a heart attack, and the doctor finds a ton of cholesterol located at the blockage it takes the blame. It's like blaming a first responder for car accidents.

 

6. Saturated Fat Is Very Stable and Clean Burning

Many people would shake their head in horror if they saw a big fatty steak being cooked in lard, dripping or butter. But surprisingly, saturated fats are actually relatively stable at high heat compared to other fats like vegetable oils.

You see oxidation is a leading cause of heart disease risk, and heating fats is one of the most effective fats to create oxidation, something people do every day - they cook their food in fat or oil.

But saturated fats - animal fats for example - are stable at higher temperatures and less likley to oxidise.

 

7. Fat Is Beneficial to Brain Health

Your brain is 60% fat. Many already appreciate the importance of omega 3 fats for brain health, but often people over look the importance of saturated fat. 

People who ate more saturated fat reduced their risk for developing dementia by 36 percent. Whereas DHA (an Omega 3 fat) is critical for proper brain function. And researchers hypotheses that it was the abundance of DHA in our diet that led to humans enhanced cognitive function.

8. Fat Is Protective of Heart Health

I touched on this above, but fat is actually protective of heart health.

  • Omega 3 fats from oily fish and grassfed meats have an anti-inflammatory affect on our body, lowering inflammation and decreasing our cardiovascular risk.
  • Cholesterol found in saturated fats can help reduce inflammation in arteries and improve blood flow. The key is avoiding the foods that create the damage and inflammation in the first place.

 

9. The Body Can Run Perfectly Fine Off Fat 

A typical adult will store about 2000 calories of glycogen in their body (sugars), meanwhile the amount of energy stored as fat is 100’s of times higher than this. Saturated fats (what we store as body fat) are also clean burning. If the body was designed to run off carbs all day, wouldn’t we store more carbs? 

  • Research has shown that the body operates perfectly off fat metabolism. And that the body can manufacture glucose if required.

The way I like to think of it is with the analogy of a street race car. The car runs perfectly fine off regular fuel (body or dietary fat), but when it wants a big performance boost for a short period of time it can run off nitrous oxide (carbs/glucose).

 

Bonus Reason: Good Fats & Bad Fats - Some of the Bad Guys Are Actually Good Guys

Finally, many people are starting to realise the importance of fat for optimal health. You see them eating plenty of fats like olive oil or avocado. They will talk about good fats and bad fats. 

But lumped in the 'bad fat' category will be saturated fats (butter, animal fats, coconut oil etc).

These fats are chemically stable compounds with no toxicity (unlike Polyunsaturated fats that oxidise easily and man-made fats such as trans-fats). Saturated fats are the main form of energy storage in the body and the safest to eat in large quantities. Also, saturated fats make up 70-80% of the fatty acids in most cells and are burned cleanly (leaving only carbon dioxide and water) by the body, unlike other sources of energy such as fructose, protein or even glucose.

Not to mention all the benefits of consuming saturated fat that I have outlined above...

 

Saturated Fats - Not so bad after all!

 

Will You Eat More Fat Now?

Next time your doctor tells you to cut back on your fats, especially saturated fats, tell him or her to read this article and all the studies referenced within. Start the conversation with your medical provider. They may be stuck in the past, working off outdated medical literature.

Alternatively, you can take action into your own hands. Do some of your own research, read some books, find another doctor.

But please don't feel bad for eating eggs, butter, avocados or even dark chocolate for breakfast!

Heck, one of my recommendations for guys who want to increase their testosterone is to eat more saturated fat!

If you are confused about what to eat and what not to eat, I recommend checking out my FREE Diet report that can be downloaded HERE.

If you learnt something from this article I ask that you kindly leave a comment below or share this blog on social media. If you have any questions, please leave them below and I will respond.

 

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