If you want to live a long, healthy life, forget about modern recommendations to eat like a rabbit and avoid fat. The best diet for man is the one we were eating for eons. You have a natural desire for a diet rich in protein and fat. When you fuel your body with the foods for which it was designed, you will find that losing weight comes easier and faster and you will wake up with energy that will last the whole day. The American Heart Association claims that the path to good health is a low-fat diet. This is exactly the wrong advice, and their “solution” has actually made the problem worse.
A low-fat diet is a prescription for losing vital muscle and turning your body into flab. When you eat low-fat, you neglect the most important nutrient, protein. Even worse, low-fat diets are loaded with the real saboteur of modern diets, processed carbohydrates. It’s time to put an end to counting calories and grams of fat. Today, I’m going to show you: Why avoiding dietary fat is dangerous. Why carbohydrates increase your body fat. How protein makes you strong, lean, and disease-resistant. Why cholesterol is not the threat you’ve been told. I’ve helped hundreds of people use this approach, and I’ve watched them make a remarkable transition to become lean, healthy, and disease-free.
There are certain fats that are essential to every cell in your body, which is why they’re called “essential” fatty acids. Your body cannot manufacture these fats. You must consume them in your diet or you will suffer disease. But there are many other reasons why low-fat intake can be detrimental. Fat is also critical to help your body absorb certain vitamins and nutrients – such as CoQ10 and vitamins A, D, E, and K – which cannot be properly absorbed without fat.A study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that low-fat diets were associated with 20% less calcium absorption than higher-fat diets.
The State University of New York at Buffalo found that people who eat low-fat diets develop weaker immune systems. And another study found that people eating very-low-fat diets showed no improvement in body composition, blood sugar levels, insulin levels, or blood pressure. The study’s author called low-fat diets “counterproductive” to health. So, what are the origins of the modern dietary nightmare? About 10,000 years ago, people began to domesticate plants and animals. There was a gradual switch from hunting and gathering to farming and raising livestock.
These methods could support a larger population, but quality was traded for quantity. When humans made the switch from hunter-gatherers to farmers, their protein intake went down, while carbohydrate intake went up. And the incidence of malnutrition and disease began to rise. Archaeologists can even identify the Agricultural Revolution in fossil records. Hunter-gatherer skeletons in Greece show the average height for men was about 5’9″.
Upon the advent of agriculture, the height of the average Greek man suddenly shrank to a mere 5’3″. The record of native people in the Illinois and Ohio River valleys also show the health consequences of agriculture. In an article for Discover Magazine, Jared Diamond elaborates on a study by the University of Massachusetts of 800 skeletons excavated there. He writes: “. . . when a hunter-gatherer culture gave way to intensive maize farming. . . the farmers had a nearly 50% increase. . . in malnutrition, a fourfold increase in iron-deficiency anemia. . . [and] a threefold rise in infectious disease.”
The Over-Consumption of Carbohydrates Gets Worse In 1977, a Senate Committee led by George McGovern released its “Dietary Goals for the United States.” Without real evidence, it identified fat as the culprit. They didn’t know that native diets contained more fat than modern diets do. Information from The Paleo Diet (2002) by L. Cordain The National Institutes of Health jumped on the “ban fat” wagon. In 1984, the NIH announced that Americans must cut their fat intake. The food industry quickly produced a slew of “low-fat” products. But without the tasty fat, the food produced was bland, and high amounts of sugar became a common additive.
Americans replaced fat with refined carbohydrates and sugar. The Real Cause of American Obesity There is no question that Americans now face a health crisis. We’re too fat. But why? Any plausible answer would have to explain why rates of obesity were constant at about 13% through the 60′s and 70′s, and then suddenly began to rise. Today, 25% of the U.S. population is considered obese, while 70% of Americans are considered overweight. These rates began rising at the time the health authorities told us we must eat low-fat. There was an explosion not only of obesity, but also of related diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
The Growing Percentage of Overweight and Obese American Adults Adapted from the National Center for Health Statistics Add to this mistaken low-fat theory the reality of economics, and you get a recipe for a health disaster. How much profit can you make selling an egg when everyone else can sell the exact same product? But carbs can be processed into proprietary blends. The mark-up can be much greater. If we can divorce ourselves from the prejudice about dietary fat, it’s really quite simple. Your body controls fat building, and hormones are used to set the controls. The hormone that controls fat is insulin. And how much insulin do you secrete in response to a fat-laden meal? Zero. Insulin is secreted in response to carbohydrates, not fat. Eat more carbohydrates and you will secrete more insulin and build more fat, all other things being equal.
The Solution: Using Modern Science to Emulate the Past The good news is that fixing this mess is not as hard as you might think. Follow a few simple rules for selecting your food, and you will be able to eat better-tasting foods, reduce your risk of disease, and feel more satisfied. And don’t worry that eating meat is going to drive up your cholesterol. Recent studies have proven that the incorporation of lean meat into the diet helps reduce bad LDL cholesterol and raise good HDL cholesterol levels. And it didn’t matter if it was white or red meat. So here is your simple plan for healthy eating.
1. Make quality protein the centerpiece of every meal. This should include non-contaminated fish such as wild salmon, sardines, or young tuna, as well as grass-fed meats, poultry, eggs, nuts, and beans.
2. Eat a wide variety of herbs, leafy greens, and vegetables every day, and a moderate amount of fruit.
3. Eat plenty of healthy fats. The best fats are in cold-water fish and fish oil. Nuts, eggs, and grass-fed beef also have good fats. Use olive oil and coconut oil and avoid vegetable oils.
4. Avoid processed carbohydrates. You can make this simple: Don’t eat anything made from grains or potatoes. Period.
(Ed. Note: Dr. Al Sears is the editor of Health Confidential for Men, a publication devoted to men’s health. For information on his latest book, “The Doctor’s Heart Cure.”)