My position is that fat is NOT the enemy. I know it sounds crazy. If you’re like me, you were taught that it was. If we want to be fit and healthy we need to keep fat to a minimum or so we thought.
My Big Awakening
I was away on a business trip last spring when I received a call from my doctor’s office in NY. I was in sunny California relaxing at a coffee shop. I was shocked that they wanted to see me to discuss my routine blood work. I was even more shocked when my doctor informed me that at 35 years old I had diabetes. WHAT!?! How could this be? I was always so healthy.
After going to the typical stages of grief I accepted it and began to move on. I read books and consulted with experts.
What I learned was shocking.
You may be having the same initial thoughts I had about dietary fat. Let me address them one by one.
Opposing view #1: Consuming a higher fat diet will make you fatter – It seems we have been wrongly advised to stick to a low fat diet. Back in the 70s a low fat diet was recommended even though there wasn’t any good research to support this idea. Coincidentally the obesity and diabetes epidemic rose to dramatic proportions. In the last 30 years, low fat diets have been studied more closely and have shown to be ineffective and in some cases harmful. When I thought I had diabetes I stuck to a higher fat diet and became leaner than I have in years.
Opposing view #2: Consuming fat causes high cholesterol – Not exactly. While there isn’t any cholesterol in plant products, consuming animal products can have an effect on our cholesterol. However, our diet won’t have as much of an effect as our genetics do. Mush of our cholesterol is produced in our liver and our bodies do a pretty good job figuring out how much to make.
Opposing view #3: Consuming fat causes heart disease – This is what I was taught during my schooling of nutrition science. I now know that science is a best guess at any given time. Consuming healthy dietary fat (even saturated) does NOT cause heart disease. Harvard researchers actually found that the more SFAs (saturated fatty acids) people ate the less plaque they had in their arteries.
While changing our beliefs about something as personal as the food we eat is extremely difficult, it is sometimes necessary to improve. This information hit me right between the eyes as I was of the low fat mindset. I now believe I was falsely diagnosed with diabetes so that I could ultimately help others, perhaps YOU! Stay tuned for part 2 where I will discuss the benefits of eating fat as well as an example of its effectiveness.
Billy Hofacker, BS, CSCS
In part I of Fat is NOT the enemy I discussed 3 common myths regarding this misunderstood nutrient.
Today I want to discuss a few of the benefits.
Benefit #1 – Support of internal organs – Fat acts to cushion our organs. For example, fat surrounds our intestines and helps protect them from injury.
Benefit #2 – Absorption of fat soluble vitamins – Some vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K require fat to be absorbed in the body
Benefit #3 – Energy – Fat contains high amounts of energy. While carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram, a gram of fat yields 9. That’s more than double! While adding butter or cream cheese bombs to your food may add unnecessary calories, consuming the right amount of fat can help provide the energy you need.
Benefit #4 – Fat burning – Say what! Eating fat can help you burn fat? Sounds counter intuitive but it’s true. Consuming EFAs (essential fatty acids) will increase your metabolism.
What we agree on
Whether you decide to consume more healthy fat or not, here are some points I think we can agree on.
We need to eat less – Regardless of the types of foods we eat, most of us are eating too much. Believe it or not, increasing fat and reducing carbs will leave you feeling full longer thus preventing overeating.
We need to move more – We need more activity. We need to exercise more and we need to move more throughout the day. Sitting all day at a computer is as recipe for disaster.
We want to be healthier – We know that if we make better health choices, we will have a better life. We’ll feel better, be more productive, and enjoy improved relationships.
It worked for Andy
I don’t really believe in coincidences. I think things happen for a reason. I believe I (like everyone) was put here to make a positive difference in others.
Soon after I was falsely diagnosed with diabetes, I met Andy.
Unlike me, Andy did have diabetes. He was 51 with 2 kids and a demanding career. The weight crept up over the years and he found himself almost 50 pounds overweight. He was not happy with his health and it was affecting other areas of his life. It always does.
What Andy might not have realized was that he was about to embark on the best year of his life (his words).
I convinced Andy to let me help him with his nutrition. I told him he had to be ready to follow the plan. No excuses. After getting the OK from his doctor, we went to work.
Andy is down 40 pounds and his “diabetes” is a thing of the past. If I didn’t see his transformation in front of my own eyes I’d have trouble believing it. In a few short months he completely changed the trajectory of his life.
Andy believed in himself and the system. He then took action. The rest is history.
What actions do you need to take to make this your best year?
Scribble them out and make a plan.
If you need help with that plan, you know where to find me.
Billy Hofacker, BS, CSCS