Low fat is sooo 1990s. The latest science is now telling us that we need to eat fat to lose fat. Tamara Pitelen reports.
Fats are back in fashion. After decades of being obsessed with low and no fat foods to try and lose weight, the scientists are now telling us we got it all wrong. Fats are no longer the bad guy. Poor old fats got an undeserved bad rep so we all strived to eliminate them from our diets. What happened? We all got an awful lot fatter.
US physician Mark Hyman, author of books such as The Blood Sugar Solution and founder of the UltraWellness Centre, says, “Fat does not make you fat. That was the old theory. Fat has nine calories per grams and carbs have four calories per gram so the conclusion was that if you eat more carbs, you’ll lose weight, no. Is a calorie a calorie a calorie? No.”
Speaking at an online wellness summit in 2014, Hyman said it was an unfortunate error that we use the same word for ‘fats’ that we do for ‘being fat’.
“The language got messed up so we think that if we eat fat we’ll become fat. No, in fact the opposite is often true, there are some fascinating studies, when they control the fat and the carbs. Even on the same calories, the people who eat more fat will actually lose more weight, increase their metabolism and lose belly fat, all of this happens by increasing the fat and decreasing the refined carbs.”
Tom Oliver, a UK-based Nutritional Therapist who works with clients in the Middle East, agrees.
Oliver says the low fat movement of the last 40 years has done a huge amount of damage and we should all be eating a lot more fat, particularly fish oils.
FAT IN FRUCTOSE OUT
“We’ve gone this weird way down the sweet and low fat road and so we have a global epidemic of diseases
that were rare 40 years ago, such as obesity and heart disease, liver disease, inflammation and diabetes.”
It’s about getting more quality fats and less sugars, Oliver says.
“Fats change the way your body absorbs food, it’s called gastric emptying – the speed at which the food enters your blood stream. So if you have a chocolate bar for example, it’s going to get in there very, very fast; send you into a massive high blood sugar peak from which you’ll crash. But if you have a piece of meat and some green leafy vegetables, it might look like a lot of food but actually the gastric emptying will be much slower and more sustained, you’ll get the amino acids you need which will keep you slimmer and manage your weight, it’ll keep your muscle mass maintained which means a higher resting metabolic rate. All round we need to move back to a high natural fat and low sugar diet.”
Fat also reduces our desire for sweet foods.
“In the UK and US, there’s a big swing to the Paleolithic diet and when we apply that to our clients here in the Middle East, my goodness the weight- loss is incredible.
“When they come to us, our Middle Eastern clients are on high sugar diets with lots of fried and pastry type foods and fruit juices that they actually sweeten with sugar when I visit their houses, which I find crazy.
“We met our first Saudi clients eight years ago, it was two princesses; two sisters from Riyadh. They came to London and trained with us for six weeks, their programme comprised weight-training, personal training, cardio, etc, also totally changing their diets by looking at the micro and macro nutrient intakes, taking out most sugars. The results were incredible and they looked amazing. So, stick to meats, fishes, vegetables, fruit… not too many fruit juices because the fructose levels are very high, fructose is as bad as a can of Coke as how your body recognises it.”
Natural animal fats are very easily assimilated by the body, which is why Eskimos have the highest fat intake on the planet and yet also have incredible health statistics; almost no inflammation, no arthritis or diabetes, etc.
According to Oliver, we should be eating 10 portions of oily fish a week like sardines, mackerels, herring, and anchovies to keep our brains and bodies in top shape.
“But I know people won’t. These types of fish are not in vogue and our palates have been manipulated to favour sweet things.”
Why should we be eating so much oily fish? In order to get enough phospholipids; an integral part of our cellular membrane make-up. Sixty per cent of the human brain and eye retina is made up of DHA fat and phospholipids have permeability into the brain, which provides protection against diseases such as ADHD, ADD, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, etc.
“Phospholipids are for brain health, eye health, heart health, they have cholesterol-reducing properties and control blood sugar, they’re for fat metabolism, for liver health, and are a neurotransmitter so they work synergistically with DHA for brain health. We don’t eat anywhere near enough phospholipids anymore.”
Fish roe, or caviar, is one of the few food sources of phospholipids. Sensing a market opportunity, Oliver recently launched a fish oil supplement called Omega 3 MOPL, a sustainably- harvested Herring Caviar that provides DHA, EPA, Omega 3, Phospholipids and Choline.
Oliver says he gets consistent feedback on his supplement about improved joint health, bowel function and inflammation as well as skin conditions like excema, psoriasis and dermatitis.
“We worked with His Highness Sheikh Butti bin Maktoum, he was taking our product. He’d been taking another fish oil product for 20 years and he said that within five days of taking our product, the arthritis in his hands was gone – we get a lot of anecdotal feedback about inflammatory joint issues – a month later he told me his cholesterol was down to normal for the first time in 20 years. All he’d done was change his fish oil product.”
Omega 3 MOPL fish oil supplement by Tom Oliver Nutrition is available exclusively through Holland & Barrett outlets in the UAE. AED 175 for 30 softgels (one month’s supply).