The makers of the movie Cereal Killers say unprocessed saturated fat has been wrongly blamed for the global epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
"The message is, 'Don't fear fat,'" documentary filmmaker Donal O'Neill told BBC News (see video above). "Saturated fat has been vilified for a long time."
According to O'Neill and numerous leading medical experts, saturated fat does not cause cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or obesity. The real cause of these illnesses is a high-carb diet.
“It’s not saturated fat we should worry about," Cambridge University cardiologist Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
"It’s the high-carbohydrate or sugary diet that should be the focus of dietary guidelines. If anything is driving your low-density lipoproteins in a more adverse way, it’s carbohydrates.”
Eating Fat Does Not Make You Fat
To prove this point, O'Neill went on a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) ketogenic-style diet for 28 days under the supervision of Dr. Tim Noakes, professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Cape Town. During this month, O'Neill consumed a ketogenic diet consisting of 70 percent fat, usually taking in 2,000 grams of fat a week. He also drastically limited his carb intake but did not count calories.
O'Neill chronicled his LCHF diet experiment in "Cereal Killers." Not only did Donal not drop dead of a heart attack on a high-fat diet, but he lost weight, melted body fat, maintained lean muscle mass, and improved his heart health, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol.
O'Neill, who has a family history of heart disease and diabetes, was inspired to make the film after seeing his slim, athletic father suffer a heart attack after following decades of the low-fat, high-carb diet prescribed by the government.
The LCHF diet experiment was such a huge success it inspired Dr. Peter Brukner, coach of the Australian national cricket team, to put himself and his entire team on the low-carb, high-fat diet (like Atkins or the ketogenic diet).
Dr. Brukner, author of The Encyclopedia of Exercise, Sport and Health, lost 26 pounds in 12 weeks on the LCHF diet without cutting calories or changing his exercise routine. The entire Australian cricket team experienced similar results.
"In my view, the 'prudent' diet does not prevent heart disease; it causes it, and certainly it contributes to diabetes in a major way," said Professor Noakes, author of The Lore of Running.
Cereal Killers spotlights a sea change in the way the medical community is viewing the role of unprocessed saturated fat. In October 2013, cardiologist Aseem Malhotra rocked the nutrition world with his declaration that saturated fat is good for you.
In his research, Dr. Malhotra found no evidence that a high-fat diet causes heart attacks, obesity or diabetes. If anything, he said consuming healthy fats (like those found in grass-fed meat, coconut oil, butter, olive oil, salmon and avocados) protect against these diseases.
"It is time to bust the myth of the role of saturated fat in heart disease and wind back the harms of dietary advice that has contributed to obesity," Dr. Malhotra wrote in the British Medical Journal.
Similarly, obesity expert Dr. Eric Westman underscored that a LCHF diet not only produces rapid weight loss, but also combats epilepsy and reverses type 2 diabetes.
Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain, told me the low-carb high-fat diet prevents — and in some instances reverses — Alzheimer's disease and ADHD.
"Carbs are devastating for the brain," said Dr. Perlmutter. "Even slight elevations in blood sugar have been shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease."
Dr. Jeff Volek, author of The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living, told me the LCHF ketogenic diet reverses type 2 diabetes, prevents heart disease, and causes fast weight loss without hunger. "There are very few people that a ketogenic diet could not help," said Dr. Volek.
And cancer researcher Dr. Dominic D'Agostino recently told me the ketogenic diet can fight cancer without chemotherapy or surgery.
Dr. Eric 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.
"Eat lots of fat," said Dr. Westman, author of A New Atkins for a New You. "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."