Eat Fat, Get Thin. That’s the promise.
I read the book. I LOVED the book.
But is it for real?
I challenged Eat Fat, Get Thin’s author Dr Mark Hyman to answer the key questions that kept creeping up on the back of my mind!
What exactly has been going on? Why have we demonised fat for decades? Can good fats really be the missing piece of the puzzle to a healthy weight and vibrant health?
And…find out the 3 things girls on this side of 35 should be focusing on to be the best, healthiest version of themselves!
Dr Hyman is a healthy lifestyle LEGEND! So I couldn’t believe it was thrilled when he agreed to contribute to the blog. An acclaimed physician, Dr Hyman is a #1 New York Times best-selling author, medical editor of the Huffington Post, Director of the Cleveland Center for Functional Medicine, Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine and the list goes on.
He’s one of those rare inspiring characters with a talent to make simple something that’s actually very complex. I could seriously spend more than a sensible amount of time listening to him detail weird medical studies and preach the benefits of avo toast (research people, research!). He also looks great and is the living proof that his food regime works.
These are the 5 questions I asked Dr Hyman – over to him!
1. Eat Fat, Get Thin – WOW. It’s almost too good to be true. In a nutshell, how’s it possible?
Dr Hyman: So many people – doctors and patients and eaters alike are all confused about fat and still hold on to myths and misinformation. These myths include things like fat makes us fat, contributes to heart disease; saturated fat is bad; vegetable oils are good, and so on. With Eat Fat, Get Thin, I aimed to prove that eating lots of the right fat will make you thin. The right fats increase metabolism, stimulate fat burning, cut hunger, optimize your cholesterol profile, and can reverse type 2 diabetes and reduce your risk for heart disease.
I also discuss the true culprit of disease and weight gain: sugar and processed carbohydrates. Eating sugar and other refined carbohydrates turns on a metabolic switch, spiking insulin (your fat storage hormone and causing dangerous belly fat. Dietary fat does not cause insulin to be secreted by the pancreas. The fat you eat has to be burned and can’t easily be stored (unless you eat it with a lot of sugar or refined carbs.) Sugar and carbs are truly the true causes of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, many cancers, and even dementia.
On the other hand, fat is one of the body’s most basic building blocks. For decades, we’ve unfairly demonized dietary fat, diligently followed a low-fat diet that almost always equates into a high-sugar and high-refined carb diet.
Simply put: sugar, not fat, is the real villain that steals our health and sabotages our waistlines.
2. So it’s SUGAR and not FAT we should be avoiding! How could we have been blaming the wrong guy for decades?
Dr Hyman: During the 1970s, when it became evident obesity and heart disease were on the rise in the US, some well-meaning concerned politicians held hearings about how to best advise Americans about their diet, health, and preventing heart disease.
The group issued the very first set of US Dietary Guidelines which urged Americans to increase their carbohydrate intake to 55 to 60 percent of their total daily calories and told us to reduce fat intake to 30 to 35 percent of calories. We were told that fat makes us fat and causes heart disease and diabetes. We were told to eat more sugars and carbs and cut way back on saturated fat from meats, eggs, butter, and whole milk, which turned out to be a bad idea.
Suddenly pasta became a health food and fat got demonized, and once this type of advice gets out there, it’s hard to take back. Suddenly the food industries are pushing low fat foods. When big corporations are making money off of demonizing a food group, it’s hard to bounce back from that.
Luckily, the tide is turning, and we are coming to the end of the low-fat era.
3. Fats aren’t all created equal – as you say, there’s the good, the bad and the ugly. What are the GOOD fats that should definitely be part of our diet? And what are the foods we should never, ever have in the house?
Dr Hyman: Fat is very complicated. There are many different kinds, some good and some bad. We don’t have that confusion with sugar. Sugar is sugar is sugar. All forms of sugar (with small and relatively insignificant differences) have the same negative effects on your body. But there are a few rules you can follow when it comes to fat.
First, stay away from trans fats and refined vegetable oils! Trans fats, also known as shortening or hydrogenated fats, are man-made fats found in most processed foods, shortenings and margarines, fried, or most commercially produced baked goods. It is in microwave popcorn, cupcakes, cookies, donuts, pizza and frozen foods.
Trans fats or hydrogenated fats and refined vegetable oils (canola oil, soy bean oil) promote abnormal cholesterol, whereas omega-3 fats from fish, and monounsaturated fats found in nuts and olive oil actually improve the type and quantity of the cholesterol your body produces.
The following is a list of some of favourite fats:
- Organic extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil
- Wild fatty fish
- Nuts and seeds like almonds, chia, hemp, cashews, walnuts, and more
- Grass-fed and organic meats
4. We’ve been bombarded with the “calories in-calories out” equation logic. However, in the Eat Fat, Get Thin Plan we don’t need to count calories and all your patients still shed the pounds. How can we lose weight if we’re not keeping track of the numbers?
Dr Hyman: It is a myth that all calories operate the same way in your body, so counting calories in order to lose weight is a bad idea. Food, it turns out, is not just calories, but information that radically influence our genes, hormones, immune system, brain chemistry and even our gut flora with every single bite.
If you eat the same amount of calories in kale or gummy bears, do they do the same thing to your body? Is your weight affected the same regardless of the source of calories? Do soda or asparagus affect your body the same way?
We are continually told that the regulation of weight is as simple as calories in/calories out. Just eat less, exercise more and we will lose weight. But how’s that working out for everyone? Not very well.
Instead of calories, I tell my patients and readers to focus on quality. Eat mostly plant foods, healthy fats and healthy protein, and just watch the pounds drop.
5. If a busy 35-year-old girl wants to become the healthiest version of herself, what are the 3 things she should focus on?
- Ditch sugar and processed carbohydrates. They slow your metabolism and shift you into fat storage and increased hunger and cravings. Sugar in all its forms is the root cause of our obesity epidemic and most of the chronic disease sucking the life out of our citizens and our economy — and, increasingly, the rest of the world. You name it, it’s caused by sugar: heart disease, cancer, dementia, type 2 diabetes, depression, and even acne, infertility and impotence.
- Focus on the big three: Slow carbs a.k.a. plant foods, healthy fats, and protein. The plate should be mostly plant foods by volume. These are things like green leafy veggies, broccoli, bok choy, tomatoes, etc. Next, add in some healthy fats like avocado or olive oil, and 4-6 ounces of protein from non GMO tofu or organic, grass-fed meats. This is a winning combination that will help balance blood sugar levels and keep you satisfied and energized for hours.
- Move. Breathe. Sleep. I’m grouping these together because busy people often forget to do each of them. The best way to burn off the stress hormones without having to change your thinking is to move and sweat. Run, dance, jump, ride, swim, stretch, or skip—do something vigorous and lively. Yoga is also fabulous, as it combines movement and breathing. Most of us hold our breath often or breathe swallow, anxious breaths. Deep, slow, full breaths have a profound effect on resetting the stress response. And finally, lack of sleep increases stress hormones. Get your eight hours no matter what. Take a nap if you missed your sleep. Prioritize sleep.
To put it very simply: I’ve tried it and it works. I have added more healthy fats to my meals and smoothies and that keeps me going for longer – it’s also a delicious way to live!
These are the 5 things I love about “Eat Fat, Get Thin”.
Eat Fat, Get Thin is a serious must read for anyone who wants a fun, vibrant, healthy life to 106 ! Go on, you’ll thank me later.