Not the last word on the fat in diet subject, but it might be the best

The Good Life Letter 

5th June 2016

Today I want to try to help anyone who is struggling to understand the fat in diet debate by giving a few facts, rather than personal opinion and conjecture...

...something that I feel has been sadly lacking up to this point in the news and opinion pieces about this issue.

Right now we are being forced to accept either that all fats are good or that they are universally bad – and the truth just isn’t that simple I’m afraid.

Start looking into the issue and you discover a whole range of different types – trans fats, polymers, hydrogenated, non-hydrogenated, saturated and unsaturated being just a confusing starter.

This creates a massive problem for those who try to eat sensibly.

The fact is that we need some fats; they are what our body craves to nourish important tissues like our brains. They are the basis of important hormones and they act as insulation to keep us warm.

This is all in addition to the fact they provide a great source of energy, which is why athletes have high fat diets in preparation for competition.

The major consideration though is that not all fats are good for us...

But how do you tell the difference?

A healthy source of nutritious and essential fats in a simple to take tropical form

Not all fats are equal

Chains of fatty acids and lipids combine to create a vast array of different types of fat and oil.

Some of these occur naturally, some are synthesised and many can be changed by heat, exposure to sunlight or under the action of certain chemicals in our digestion.

In essence all foods that contain fat will have a mix of the three basic types of fat in them, and a whole host of important fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K.

The main fat types are:

  • Saturated: The bad fat, or so we are led to believe. This is the one that is consistently linked to blood cholesterol levels and we are told to avoid it as we would a rabid dog. In 2010 a leading nutritionist, Dr Krauss (director of atherosclerosis research at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute and adjunct professor of nutritional studies at the University of San Francisco at Berkley... so he should know) shocked fellow professionals by concluding that saturated fat could not be linked to heart disease. His work was followed this year by others from Harvard and Cambridge Universities who came to the exact same conclusion.The problem is, concludes Nina Teicholz in an article in The Independent last year that "It seemed that saturated fat, our principal dietary culprit for decades, had been unfairly convicted. "The truth is there never has been solid evidence that these fats cause disease. We only believe this to be true because nutrition policy was derailed over the past half-century by personal ambition, bad science, politics, and bias." Strong words but actually missing the other important part... the drive by pharmaceutical and food companies keen on selling their low-fat products and cholesterol busting drugs.

  • Monounsaturated: The good fat, found in olive oil, avocados and almonds. This type of fat is consistently linked to the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and we are encouraged to seek out foods that have higher levels rather than those containing saturated fat. Lazy nutritionists and well meaning but misguided commentators often laud these fats and oils above all others, imbuing them with mystical qualities, when in fact they are just another type of nutrient.
  • Polyunsaturated: The fishy ones which include the omega 3 and 6 versions that are so important for us to balance our diet. Like monounsaturated versions these fats and oils are promoted as uniquely beneficial and receive star billing on low-fat spread advertisements... but often they can be as bad for us in large quantities as anything else can be.

Things become complicated when we then look at non-natural fats, those which are the result of food manufacturing techniques leading to the production of variants known as trans fats – which are abundant in the deep-fried foods found in takeaways and the likes. These fats are definitely bad for us and are the ones we should avoid.

In their natural states though we need a balance of fats to be healthy – we just need to keep our intakes of the overly refined type to a minimum.

Here’s how to get the healthy fat that your body craves

What does history tell us?

It might seem strange to consider but up until the 1970s no-one gave fat in our diets a second thought.

I remember sitting with my Granddad on a Sunday evening eating bread with the dripping from the roast beef we had eaten at lunchtime spread thickly over and laced with pepper.

Effectively a six year old boy being fed white bread with a half inch thick layer of pure animal fat and blood jelly (now I come to write about it this doesn’t sound so good, but with a bit of pepper on it we ate like kings!)

If that scene were repeated now the welfare protection team would be swooping in to save me!

In 1983 the UK introduced guidelines on fat intake, which mirrored that from the USA in 1977, and the face of public health changed overnight – however, the report by the National Obesity Forum isn’t the only one to criticise this advice.

A very powerful piece of research from 2015(1) accused the scientists whose data supported the American action (and therefore that in the UK) of bias and misrepresentation. In short the basis for controlling fats in the diet was sharply criticised.

The biggest issue with the data was that the seven trials they used had very small cohorts, and many of the participants were already suffering heart disease before the trials commenced.

How could such poor quality research be able to influence two powerful nations and continue to be treated like the Holy Grail ever since? Well the answer to that is that this series of trials produced the outcomes which suited the political will at the time...

...or at least the desires of those who paid to put the politicians in office, money really was at the root of this evil.
Instead of the last thirty years being devoted to supporting properly balanced meals with the correct balance of macronutrients, micronutrients and bioactive components we have been subject to a low-fat, no salt and buy-not-grow mantra.

Well having the right amount of good fat and oil is important for us all.

As I said on Friday, the fight for healthy eating is down to all of us, the proof for a balanced diet far outweighs anything that supports the zero fat argument.

Not all fats and oils are bad for us, and to simply say that we shouldn’t be eating them at all is dangerously wrong.

What we should be doing is eating the right ones in our diet and utilising the best in natural approaches to boost their effect, this is what everything I have discovered in my research tells me...

...and there is more to come!

Here’s how to turbo-charge your healthy fat intake and discover some amazing health benefits from this natural oil.

Yours, as always



(1)Harcombe, Z., Baker, J. S., Cooper, S. M., Davies, B., Sculthorpe, N., DiNicolantonio, J. J., & Grace, F. (2015). Evidence from randomised controlled trials did not support the introduction of dietary fat guidelines in 1977 and 1983: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Open heart, 2(1), e000196.

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