Dietary fat has been blamed as the cause of obesity, heart disease and diabetes for the past 40 years, but many medical experts say a high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet promotes rapid weight loss and optimal health.
What's more, they say a high-fat diet helps people maintain their weight loss long-term — something the vast majority of diets cannot claim.
"I tell my patients not to fear the fat," Dr. Eric Westman told CBN. "Eat lots of fat. Fat makes you feel full. 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."
Westman, an obesity expert who oversees the Duke University Lifestyle Medicine Clinic, said his patients experience dramatic weight loss on a ketogenic diet, which is a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb eating plan.
Westman said one patient, a 51-year-old woman named Lynne Daniel Ivey, lost 185 pounds on the ketogenic diet. The 5-foot-4 Ivey, who once tipped the scales at 324 pounds, slimmed down to 139 pounds by eating a high-fat, low-carb diet. Most people experience dramatic weight loss on a high-fat diet without exercise.
But Westman says rapid weight loss isn't the only benefit of a ketogenic diet, which has been found effective in treating epilepsy and even reverses type 2 diabetes. In a stunning development, cancer researcher Dr. Dominic D'Agostino confirmed that a ketogenic diet starves cancer cells.
In fact, Westman said people who follow a high-fat ketogenic diet experience improved health across the board.
Here at Duke, we use mainly the low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to treat diabetes and obesity. Hypertension gets better, heartburn gets better, fatty liver. The list goes on and on."
In September 2013, a woman made headlines after revealing she lost 88 pounds without exercising on a high-fat, low-carb diet that combined the principles of the ketogenic and Paleo diets.
The 5-foot-4 Amanda, who declined to give her last name, slimmed down from 222 pounds to 134 pounds on a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb diet. She lost the weight between July 2011 and July 2012 and has since kept it off.
Ironically, Americans have gotten fatter during the past three decades as conventional diet wisdom vociferously promoted a low-fat diet. Medical experts say it's time to reject the conventional wisdom of SAD (the high-carb Standard American Diet), pointing out that eating fat does not make you fat.
What makes people fat is eating too many carbs, like those found in junk food and sugary sodas, cakes and bagels. And trans fats, such as shortening, margarine or any hydrogenated oil, should absolutely be avoided, because it is these fake fats that clog arteries (it's akin to drinking melted plastic) and causes inflammation.
Inflammation — which is caused by a high-carb, grain-heavy diet — is the main cause of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and other problems. Not fat.
Westman recommends that weight-loss patients limit their daily carb intake to just 20 grams, which isn't a lot. The key to drastically cutting carbohydrates, he says, is to replace them with moderate amounts of protein and a lot of healthy fats, such as salmon, eggs, bacon, butter, cream, nuts, grass-fed meats, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil and cheese.
While the ketogenic diet may sound like extreme deprivation for those who love their cupcakes, chips and bread, experts say consuming enough fat actually gets rid of your cravings for those junky carbs.