The war on dietary fat may finally be over, as scientists now concede they were wrong to say saturated fat was unhealthy for the past 40 years.
The admission vindicates the high-fat, low-carb ketogenic, Atkins, and Paleo diets, whose proponents have said all along that eating fat does not make you fat.
The seismic shift in the war against saturated fat kicked off after a provocative 2014 Time cover story, where the magazine said the 40-year demonization of saturated fat as the cause of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease was based on flawed data. (The article is only readable for Time.com subscribers).
“It’s not saturated fat we should worry about,” cardiologist Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine. “It’s the high-carb or sugary diet that should be the focus of dietary guidelines.”
Dr. Chowdhury joins a growing list of medical experts to dispel the myth that saturated fat is the cause of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease.
A high-carb diet — particularly one high in sugar and refined carbs — is to blame for these illnesses, he said.
Chowdhury and his colleagues drew their conclusions after reviewing data from 72 published studies of more than 600,000 people from 18 countries. Chowdhury is not the only heart doctor who holds this opinion.
‘Anti-Fat Crusade Was Driven By Corporate Greed’
Cardiologist Aseem Malhotra recently rocked the nutrition world with his declaration that saturated fat is good for you.
In a BMJ commentary, Dr. Malhotra said there’s no evidence that unprocessed saturated fat causes heart attacks, obesity or diabetes.
If anything, he said consuming healthy fats (like those found in grass-fed meat, nuts, coconut oil, butter, olive oil, salmon and avocados) protect against these diseases.
According to Malhotra, the anti-fat crusade stemmed from greed on the part of food corporations who profited from shilling their low-fat, high-carb snacks.
“The food industry has profited from the low-fat mantra for decades because foods that are marketed as low-fat are often loaded with sugar,” he said.
“We are now learning that added sugar in food is driving the obesity epidemic and the rise in diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
Investigative journalist Nina Teicholz agrees. Eating too much refined carbs and not enough unprocessed fat is what has led to the tsunami of overweight, diabetic, sick Americans, said Teicholz.
The true cause of heart disease and weight gain is a high-carb, sugar-rich diet, said Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise.
Teicholz echoed the sentiments of physician Dr. Mark Hyman, who says unprocessed saturated fat has been wrongly blamed for causing obesity and other degenerative diseases.
According to multiple obesity experts, a high-carb diet promotes disease and weight gain by causing pro-inflammatory spikes in blood glucose and blood insulin.
By limiting those surges in blood sugar, we dramatically reduce inflammation, which is what fuels disease, Dr. Hyman wrote in Eat Fat, Get Thin.
Similarly, Dr. Jeff Volek, author of the Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living, said high-fat, low-carb diets can also improve mood and reduce inflammation.
“There are very few people that a ketogenic diet could not help,” said Dr. Volek, who has followed the keto diet for the past 20 years.
Bariatric surgeon Dr. Eric Westman said low-carb, high-fat eating plans like the ketogenic and Atkins diets not only spur rapid weight loss, but can combat epilepsy, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Dr. Westman, director of the Duke University Obesity Clinic, is pleased that mainstream media is finally debunking the myth that eating fat makes you fat and sick. To the contrary, he said: Eating fat makes you skinny and healthy.
“I tell my patients not to fear the fat,” said Dr. Westman, co-author of Keto Clarity. “Eat lots of fat. Fat makes you feel full. There’s no problem with fat. In fact, saturated fat — the fat that we’ve been taught not to eat — raises your good cholesterol best of all the foods you can eat.”