Eat Fat Lose Fat
Three Kinds of Fats (p.8)
While most other diet plans tell you to leave certain foods out of your diet—such as fat, dairy, grains, meat, salt, or desserts—the Eat Fat, Lose Fat plan tells you how to include all these foods in your diet, exploring the science behind your need for them, how to choose healthy versions of them, and how to prepare them for maximum nutrient benefit and digestibility.
In order to understand how such a diet works, you need to know the differences among the three basic types of fats found in food. Then, you must be aware of the dangers of trans fat: an artificially produced fat found widely in processed and packaged foods.
Fats (also called lipids) are a class of organic substances that do not dissolve in water. They are composed of chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms filling the available bonds and are called fatty acids because of their structure. Despite that terminology, they don’t behave like acids in the way that water-soluble acids such as vinegar do.
Saturated Fats (p.9)
Found predominantly in animal fats and tropical oils like coconut oil and in lesser amounts in all vegetable oils (and also made within your body, usually from excess carbohydrates), saturated fats are structured so that all available carbon bonds are occupied by a hydrogen atom, which makes them highly stable and also strait in shape, so that they are solid or semisolid fat at room temperature. As a result of their unique composition, they are less likely to go rancid when heated during cooking and form dangerous free radicals that can cause a litany of ills, including heart disease and cancer.
The monounsaturated fatty acid most commonly found in our food is oleic acid, the main component of olive oil and sesame oil, as well as the oil in almonds, pecans, cashews, peanuts, and avocados. Your body can also make monounsaturated fatty acids from saturated fatty acids when it needs them for various bodily functions.
Chemically, monounsaturated fatty acids are structured with one double bond (composed of two carbon atoms double-bonded to each other). Because this bond causes the molecule to bend slightly, these fats do not pack together as easily as saturated fats, so they tend to be liquid at room temperature but become solid when refrigerated.
Like saturated fats, however, monounsaturated oils are relatively stable. They do not go rancid easily and hence can also be used in cooking.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids have two or more double bonds. The two polyunsaturated fatty acids found most frequently in our foods are linoleic acid with two double bonds (called omega-6) and linolenic acid, with three double bonds (called omega-3). (The omega number indicates the position of the first double bond.)
Because your body cannot make these fatty acids, they are called “essential” and must be obtained from foods. Polyunsaturated fatty acids have bends or turns at the position of the double bonds and hence do not pack together easily. They remain liquid, even when refrigerated.
Unpaired electrons located at the double bonds make these oils highly reactive. When they are subjected to heat or oxygen, as in extraction, processing, and cooking, free radicals are formed. It is these free radicals, not saturated fats, that can initiate cancer and heart disease. As such, industrially processed polyunsaturated oils, such as corn, safflower, soy, and sunflower oils, should be strictly avoided.
The Dangers of Trans Fats (p.10)
Manufactured foods, such as baked goods, some frozen foods, margarine, chips, fast-food fries and countless other products, contain rearranged fatty acids called trans fats, which are produced artificially by bombarding polyunsaturated oils with hydrogen, a process called partial hydrogenation. This process makes the normally twisty polyunsaturated fatty acids straighten out and behave like saturated fats in foods. As a result, trans fats have a longer shelf life. They pack together easily so they are unnaturally solid at room temperature and can be used as spreads and shortenings. Because they can be made so cheaply and because their inclusion helps packaged foods to last nearly forever, the food industry prefers to use trans fats made from cheap soy, canola, corn, or cottonseed oil rather than more expensive animal fats or tropical oils.
These altered fats, which people are still told to eat to reduce their cholesterol levels, actually increase cholesterol and also the risk for heart disease.
Trans fats also compromise many bodily functions, including hormone synthesis, immune function, insulin metabolism, and tissue repair. What’s more, they promote weight gain. In fact, a person whose dietary fats are mostly trans fats is likely to weigh more than a person who does not consume trans fats, even if their caloric intake is the same.
The Scientific Turnaround on Fat (p.12)
What’s more, recent studies confirm that healthy fat consumption promotes sustainable weight loss (something we’ve been saying for years!). “Studies conducted in the past three years have found a moderately high-fat diet…to be more beneficial (than low-fat diets) in terms of adherence, weight loss, and weight maintenance, while also reducing cardiovascular risk factors,” Dr. Hu affirmed.
Healthy fats include omega-3 fatty acids (found in cod-liver oil, egg yolks, and flax oil), medium-chain fats (found in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and butter), and long-chain saturated fats (found mostly in meat and dairy products). They’ll help you lose weight, increase your energy, boost your immunity to illness, and optimize your digestion.
So the real, scientific way to lose fat is to eat fat—especially the fats you’ll learn more about in this book.
A Closer Look at How Overweight Happens (p.13)
Eating excess calories is only one reason for overweight. Listed below are the factors most commonly responsible for fat buildup, and how the Eat Fat, Lose Fat program addresses each one:
High-calorie, nutrient-empty foods: When you get all the healthy fats (and allied nutrients) that your body needs, you’ll eliminate cravings that lead you to foods like soda, cookies, and breads.
Low thyroid function: When your thyroid is sluggish, you can’t lose weight no matter how little you eat. On our program, you’ll enhance thyroid function and upgrade your metabolism by consuming energy-boosting, thyroid-supporting coconut oil.
Excess sugar and carb consumption and insulin sensitivity (a condition in which your cells cannot process blood sugar properly): Emphasizing nutrient-rich protein, dairy, and vegetables, you’ll bypass excess consumption of weight-inducing and insulin-activating sugars and grains.
Consumption of renegade fats such as trans fats: You’ll cut out all trans fats, which interfere with numerous biochemical processes in the body and can contribute to weight gain.
We’ll lay out several strands of evidence to clear up prevailing misunderstandings about fats and their role in human health:
. • Historical: World populations on four continents, subsisting on the coconut and other natural, wholesome foods (without heart disease, weight gain, or other chronic illnesses), provide the world’s longest epidemiological record of the safety of saturated fat.
• Scientific: Analysis of studies used to indict coconut oil and other saturated fats will reveal the faulty reasoning underlying the “lipid hypothesis,” the theory that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease. Other studies clearly demonstrate that saturated fats do not “cause” cardiovascular illness, and that coconut oil’s medium-chain fatty acids actually make it an all-systems healer. (See Chapters 2 and 3.)
• Anecdotal: We’ll provide case stories from a wide range of people who’ve used coconut oil and coconut products to lose weight and heal serious illnesses, including digestive disorders, diabetes, and hypothyroidism. • Nutritional: We’ll explain why the important nutrients contained in coconut and traditional fats like cod-liver oil and butter are vital to your health.
• Culinary: We’ll show you how to use coconut in all its forms in recipes that satisfy your taste buds and put an end to food cravings and hunger. (See menu plans in Chapters 6, 7, and 8, and recipes in Chapters 9 and 10.)
(p.14) Once and for all, Eat Fat, Lose Fat will clear away the misperception that fats are bad, and arm you with a concrete program and culinary tools that support this dietary change. Whether your goal is losing weight or gaining health, you’ll get great results through eating coconut products and other sources of healthy dietary fats as part of an eating program based on wholesome, traditional foods.
Breaking the Boom-and-Bust Diet Cycle (p.58)
The nutritional abundance we so fortunately enjoy today in the West, day in and day out, is an anomaly. In contrast to our plethora of food choices, most people who’ve lived on this earth (including the majority today) have gone through periods when food was scarce. In response, humans developed underlying patterns of energy use and fat storage. Even in this time of plenty, the body’s tendency remains the same: to store fat for times of famine or want.
That’s why going on any form of severely restrictive diet usually backfires: it triggers the body’s biologically programmed tendency to store fat. Severe calorie restriction, fasting, or subsisting on juices gives your body the message that a food emergency lies ahead, creating a boomerang effect. When you return to normal eating, you find that your body stubbornly rebuilds its fat stores, ready for another crisis. This is the boom-and-bust cycle unwittingly engineered by other weight-loss programs. It’s the reason why prolonged fasts and cleanses do not result in long-term weight loss or overall well-being. Instead, severe calorie restriction leads to fat conservation, hunger, and bingeing, as the body desperately seeks to obtain and retain needed nutrients.
When you nourish yourself well, impose a healthy (but not too harsh) discipline, and exercise, your body will start to feel confident that it can let go of that extra weight it’s been carrying around for a rainy day. Follow our path, and you’ll find successful weight loss ahead.
Why Diets with Healthy Fats Help You Lose Weight (p.59)
The Zone and Atkins weight-loss diets have been popular because they provide adequate amounts of protein and, in the case of the original Atkins diet, plenty of saturated fats. However, on our weight-loss plan, you’ll be eating a more balanced, well-rounded diet, consisting of a wider variety of higher-quality foods without the difficult restrictions on fat that characterize the Zone diet or the extreme limitation of carbohydrates of the Atkins diet. Our moderate-calorie diet adds the magic ingredient of coconut oil to kick-start your metabolism. We feature moderate protein (less than Atkins), lots of vegetables, small amounts of whole grains, and a wide variety of healthy fats, with coconut oil leading the pack.
Most people mistakenly believe that low-fat diets are the only way to lose weight. They do not realize that the right fats, such as coconut oil and other healthy oils in synergistic combination, not only encourage weight loss but also help you heal from a wide range of ailments. Built upon a variety of healthy traditional foods, our diet will provide the right
Years of consuming trans fats, deep-fried foods, and other harmful fat sources can make it hard for some people to digest good fats, at first. But that’s where coconut is key. Coconut oil is easy to digest because most of the fatty acids it contains don’t require bile for digestion. What’s more, the body turns these fatty acids directly into energy, making it terrific for losing weight. All this makes coconut oil the perfect oil for transitioning into healthy fats if you haven’t been eating them up until now.
What the Research Shows (p.60)
Our program rests on a large and growing body of research that demonstrates why coconut can help you lose weight and boost health. Recent studies show that eliminating fat is not an effective dietary strategy. The low-fat foods you eat instead are nearly always high-carb foods, which trigger the release of insulin, causing your body to store fat. What’s more, carb consumption can cause blood sugar surges and drops. As a result, you lack sustained energy levels and instead experience hunger. In contrast, the research confirms that eating the right fats at every meal keeps your blood sugar stable and maximizes your metabolism by providing a steady fuel supply throughout the day. You have more energy for work, exercise, and social activities, keystones of a healthy lifestyle.
(p.61) MCFAs (the type of fat found in coconut oil) actually use up energy when they are metabolized, and thus can act as weight-loss agents! That’s right, eating these kinds of fatty acids can help you lose weight. This is because the amount of energy used by the body to oxidize them is greater than the amount of energy they provide. The most rapidly oxidized fatty acid, these scientists found, is the medium-chain fatty acid lauric acid. Coconut oil contains almost 50 percent lauric acid. Coconut oil has a “thermogenic effect,” which means that it raises your body temperature, thus boosting your energy and metabolic rate.
Coconut and Your Metabolism (p.63)
Hypothyroidism (thyroid deficiency, resulting in a low metabolic rate), which is characterized by weight gain, lethargy, dry skin, depression, and lack of mental clarity, is on the rise in America, affecting an estimated 12 million people. (Some endocrinologists suspect the condition affects many millions more.) Hypothyroidism is a serious condition in its own right, but also a precursor to other ailments, such as heart disease, breast cancer, and chronic fatigue. While no studies have investigated how coconut oil affects the thyroid gland specifically, the fact that it raises body temperature and causes weight loss indicate that it supports thyroid function. In fact, many dieters report that they are able to reduce or even eliminate their thyroid medications when they add coconut oil to their diet.
(p.64) Coconut Oil: Used in the tropics for cooking and also topically (on the skin), coconut oil is white when solid, creamy colored when liquid. It melts at between 71°F and 76°F. High-quality coconut oil is now widely available in national supermarkets, such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Wild Oats, in health food stores, on the Internet, or by mail order. Look for virgin coconut oil, which means that it has been extracted by a careful method that does not involve high heat and harmful chemicals.
(p.69) The glycemic index indicates how quickly and how much a food raises the blood sugar.
Diets based on low-glycemic index foods usually overlook one important point: fats lower the glycemic index! Putting butter on a high-glycemic food like bread will lower its glycemic index, meaning that the food is absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream rather than in one quick burst. In fact, when testing foods for glycemic index, researchers found that a sugar-laden Mars bar had a lower glycemic index than cornflakes or potatoes…because the Mars bar contains lots of fat. That’s why using butter as a spread, or including coconut oil in every meal, can further lower the glycemic effect of both high-glycemic foods, like potatoes, and low-glycemic foods, like vegetables.
Getting Used to Coconut Oil and a Traditional Diet (p.74)
If you have been on a low-fat diet for many years, you may need to transition slowly into a higher-fat traditional diet. Occasionally, someone reports a feeling of nausea, especially after taking the one to two tablespoons of coconut oil that we recommend before meals. This is probably due to the body’s inability to produce enough fat-digesting bile after so many years of not needing it. (The short-and medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil don’t require bile for breakdown; but coconut oil contains smaller amounts of longer-chain fatty acids that do require bile for digestion, and butter and other animal fats require even larger amounts.)
If this is the case, simply cut back on the amount of coconut oil you are taking. Start with one teaspoon and build slowly from there to the suggested one to two tablespoons. You can also take the coconut oil with your meal instead of twenty minutes before. And, be sure to eat three meals a day at regular intervals so that the body learns to produce bile on a predictable schedule. Some dieters have actually reported that they want a very slight feeling of nausea because it suppresses their appetite.
In a similar vein, several individuals have reported that they gained weight at first when they started taking coconut oil. They persevered because they liked the increased sense of energy they experienced. Then after a few weeks, they found that they had started losing weight. Of course, moderate restriction of calories and carbohydrates is also important for successful weight loss.
(p.79) If any two words can sum up the characteristics of healthy traditional diets, they are nutrient dense. In this chapter, we’ll survey some of the common nutrient-dense foods that Dr. Price discovered formed the basis of the health and well-being of people in traditional cultures.
(p.83) Although long demonized by the vegetable oil industry and the industry’s spokespeople in the universities, government agencies, and the medical establishment, butter is actually one of the healthiest fats on the planet, and certainly the most important fat in traditional Western diets.
Looking more closely at butter, we see that it has a perfect fatty acid profile. Most of the fats in butter are saturated or monounsaturated, making it very stable. You can sauté foods in butter, even at relatively high temperatures, and it will not break down. Like coconut oil, butter contains medium-chain fatty acids, although in lower amounts. Uniquely, butter contains short-chain fatty acids with immune-stimulating and antimicrobial properties. Butter also contains the right amount and the perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Despite butter’s many health benefits, Americans have been taught to avoid it because it supposedly raises cholesterol. Instead, people have been told to consume margarine. Is that a healthy change? Margarine actually provokes chronic high levels of cholesterol and has been linked to both heart disease and cancer, studies show. And do not be fooled by the new soft margarines or tub spreads. Although they are lower in partially hydrogenated fats than their predecessors, they are still produced from rancid vegetable oils and contain many additives.
On the Eat Fat, Lose Fat program, you can feel free to add butter (ideally an organic, grass-fed variety) to vegetables. Spread it on sprouted whole-grain bread or crackers. Add it to meat dishes and sauces. This will help ensure proper assimilation of the minerals and water-soluble vitamins in the vegetables, grains, and meat you eat—and also make your food satisfying and great-tasting!
Cod-Liver Oil (p.99-100)
Cod-liver oil supplements are critical for redressing the widespread deficiencies in vitamins A and D in the modern diet. Unless you have access to whole dairy products from pastured cows and also eat liver several times per week, you will not be getting the levels of fat-soluble vitamins that Price found in the diets of healthy traditional peoples.
Traditional peoples made a practice of consuming special nutrient-dense foods before conception and during pregnancy and lactation and of giving them to growing children, to ensure the health of everyone in the village or tribe, generation after generation. For modern Westerners, then, taking cod-liver oil for several months before conception is particularly important for women and their male partners, as well as for women during pregnancy and lactation, to ensure the optimal development of the child and prevent birth defects. Growing children will also benefit from a small daily dose.
Cod-liver oil is also rich in DHA and EPA, the long-chain fatty acids critical to neurological health and many other processes in the body. Cod-liver oil work synergistically with saturated fats. To increase its effectiveness in treating serious medical conditions, Dr. Price always gave cod-liver oil along with high-vitamin butter oil.
How Much Cod-Liver Oil Do I Need? (p.100)
An optimal maintenance dose of cod-liver oil provides 10,000 IU of vitamin A per day for adults and 5000 IU of vitamin A per day for infants and children. Those recovering from illness, accidents, or surgery should take 20,000 IU a day. Miraculous cures from various conditions, especially cancer and hormonal imbalances leading to menstrual and fertility problems, have been reported by people taking even larger doses for several weeks or months. High-vitamin cod-liver oil is perfect for weight loss, since it provides the maximum amount of A and D for the minimum number of calories.
How to Buy It
Cod-liver oil comes in several potencies, both as capsules and in liquid form. You can get 10,000 IU from about 1 teaspoon high-vitamin cod-liver oil or 2 teaspoons regular cod-liver oil. For capsules, look at the label to see how many capsules equal 10,000. (Note: The high-dose capsules are quite large.) Many people find the capsules easier to take, but they are more expensive, and some report difficulty in digesting them or even have allergic reactions to the capsule material itself.
There are also some very low-potency brands from which vitamins A and D have been largely removed due to misplaced concerns that these vitamins are toxic. For recommended brands, see the Resources section.
Note: Fish oil contains very little vitamin A or D. You should take fish liver oil (oil from the liver of cod or of other fish such as haddock, shark, or burdot, a type of freshwater cod), because only oil from the liver supplies generous quantities of these vitamins. Buy cod-liver oil in dark bottles and store in a cool, dark, dry place. If your kitchen is very warm, keep it in the refrigerator.