In Bryan Walsh’s article “Eat Butter (Don’t Blame Fat)”, published in the June 23rd issue of Time, he covers the history of low-fat diets vs. low-carb diets, how the science evolved and why flawed studies wrongly vilified saturated fat. This “flawed” science started the fat-free trend; soon people were avoiding foods containing fat , feeling hungry all the time, and eating more low-fat products that contained refined sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup, trans fat and refined grains. Meanwhile, obesity, diabetes and heart disease levels continued to rise. Walsh contends that the effect fat, even saturated fat, has on the body is more complex—and harmless—than originally thought, and cholesterol’s relationship with carbs (as compared to saturated and unsaturated fat) is much more complicated. In other words, fat does not have the harmful effects on us as originally thought, but over consumption of carbohydrates, especially those with refined sugars, absolutely does.
As you know, those of us at Atkins have been way ahead of our time when it comes to healthy fats. Just a few months ago, I published a blog on a research roundup of studies highlighting the studies referenced in the Time article, showing that saturated fat, when consumed on a low-carb diet, does not raise the risk for heart disease, but is actually burned for energy. While I love digging deep into the science behind Atkins and sharing it with you (that’s my job!), it’s always encouraging when the mainstream media starts to realize the validity behind these studies and starts publishing articles that support the science.
If you’re doing Atkins, you’re following a plan that incorporates a balance of healthy fats (including monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats), fresh vegetables, a variety protein, and you are limiting refined carbs, and added sugar. And according to the science, and finally some of the mainstream media, that’s exactly what you should be doing.
You may still be wondering, and what you really want to know is, how can fat make you thin? Along with protein, fat helps increase satiety (the sense of being full). And because fat carries flavor, it makes food more satisfying. It takes about twice as many calories from refined carbs than from fats to provide the same level of satiety, making fat a better choice if you want to lose weight. Fat in your diet also slows the entry of glucose into your bloodstream, moderating the highs and lows of blood sugar that can lead to your renewed hunger soon after you eat carbs. Bottom line: Eat fats in place of carbs, and you’re less likely to overeat. These entwined properties are essential to the processes of both losing weight and then keeping it off.