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High fat diets with bacon, beef and butter better for weight loss than low-fat

Eat protein, not peas, says expert.
Eat protein, not peas, says expert.
Photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images

Ready for a big fat surprise? Then prepare to discover why everything you thought that you know about saturated fats is wrong, according to an investigative reporter who says that high fat low carb diets are the way to go for weight loss and health. She's detailed her "bring on the butter, beef and bacon" evidence in a new book: "The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet" (click for details).

Nina Teicholz says that it's carbohydrates, from bread to bananas, not protein and fats, that we should be restricting or even eliminating. And the evidence that she cites is persuasive: It features nine years of in-depth research supporting her staunch support of saturated fats.

"In 1961, the American Heart Association came out with the first dietary guidelines that counseled Americans to cut back on saturated fat. And studies show that we followed that advice by increasing consumption of fruits, veggies, and grains, and reducing consumption of fats, particularly saturated fats, over the past 30 years. But when those AHA guidelines came out in 1961, a low-fat diet had never been tested on people—only a little lab data—and wasn’t tested until the late 1990s, the results of which didn’t come out until 2006. So basically we’ve been following this low-fat diet for generations without having ever properly tested it. And now science pretty definitively shows that a high-carb diet is not as healthy," Nina told Shape magazine in a recent interview.

Just how unhealthy is that low-fat diet preached by supposedly reputable, know-it-all groups such as the AHA? Very.

"The best and most rigorous clinical trials of the past decade demonstrate that a high-carbohydrate diet has worse outcomes for health in terms of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes than a diet higher in fat," says Nina. In contrast: "On a higher-fat diet, people lose weight, and heart disease and diabetes markers improved."

The impact of low-fat, high carb diets on women is particularly egregious. "A researcher studied women on a rigorous low-fat diet and discovered that their HDL (good) cholesterol dropped precipitously—far more than it did for men. So it turns out the low-fat diet recommendation is particularly tragic for women, since women have worked harder to faithfully follow the low-fat guidelines. We’ve increased carbs in their diet, and now rates of obesity in women are higher than men," points out Nina.

For women who are what Nina calls "fat-phobes," she suggests starting slowly rather than diving into a steak topped with butter and bacon. "Researchers tell me that women can understand cutting back on white flour, but getting women to eat fat is next to impossible. It took me a long time to eat hardboiled eggs and cheese without feeling guilty. And now I eat the bacon drippings from the pan! But there are some easier ways in, like eating cheese, whole milk, and eggs."

Nina's work follows the dent on the Standard American Diet (SAD) already made by noted journalist Gary Taubes, author of "Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It" (click for details) and "Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health." Taubes also makes a convincing case that it's carbs, not fat, we need to avoid for our health and to achieve our ideal weight, and explicates precisely how to shift to a low carb, higher fat diet.

For those seeking additional evidence in favor of a low-carb diet, the team of nutrition gurus Stephen D. Phinney and Jeff S. Volek have provided it. They've done their own in-depth research and studies on the impact of high fat low carb ketogenic diets and how they can boost health and weight loss. Their books include "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable" and "New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great."

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