Saturated fat has finally been vindicated, as more medical experts agree that unprocessed saturated fat does not cause obesity, diabetes, or heart disease, Time reported.
As a result, low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) ketogenic-style diets have soared in popularity, as more doctors tout the weight-loss and health benefits of these eating plans.
During the low-fat craze of the 1980s, people consumed low-fat, high-carb foods with abandon after the government-sanctioned low-fat diet dogma blamed saturated fat as the cause of weight gain and heart attacks.
"Fat was really the villain," said Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health. "[By default, people] had to load up on carbohydrates."
By the 1990s, Dr. Willett began seeing evidence exculpating saturated fat as a disease-producer, but said his papers trumpeting these findings fell on deaf ears. "There was a lot of resistance to anything that would question the low-fat guidelines," he said.
Big Food Has Profited from the Low-Fat Mantra for Decades
Now, the medical community is finally beginning to reverse its entrenched position on saturated fat, as research confirms that carbs — especially sugar — are the cause of weight gain and inflammation-fueled diseases.
More cardiologists say unprocessed saturated fat is healthy and has been wrongly blamed for causing heart disease, obesity and other degenerative illnesses.
"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," cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra wrote in the British Medical Journal.
For the past four decades, the medical and diet communities have vociferously advised people to avoid fat, especially the saturated fats found in animal proteins. During that time, the obesity rate in the United States has skyrocketed, as have diabetes and heart disease.
LCHF Keto, Paleo and Atkins Diets Curb Obesity and Heart Disease
Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter said corporate greed on the part of the wheat industry and snack manufacturers was behind the vilification of saturated fat. Dr. Perlmutter, the author of Grain Brain, told me that low-carb, high-fat diets prevent Alzheimer's disease and ADHD.
"Carbs are devastating for the brain," said Dr. Perlmutter, who himself follows the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet. "Even slight elevations in blood sugar have been shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The brain thrives on a fat-rich low-carbohydrate diet."
Dr. Jeff Volek, a dietitian and professor at the University of Connecticut, agrees. Volek, author of the Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living, told me consuming a low-carb diet high in unprocessed saturated fat reverses type 2 diabetes, prevents heart disease, and fuels rapids weight loss. "There are very few people that a ketogenic diet could not help," he said.
In March 2014, Dr. James DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist, said the 40-year demonization of saturated fat was based on flawed data and that a high-carb diet is responsible for weight gain, heart attacks, high cholesterol, and early mortality.
“There is no conclusive proof that a low-fat diet has any positive effects on health," DiNicolantonio wrote in BMJ. "The public fear that saturated fat raises cholesterol is completely unfounded.
Dr. DiNicolantonio said the public needs to be re-educated about the health benefits of unprocessed saturated fat and the dangers of sugar and simple carbs.
A public health campaign is drastically needed to educate on the harms of a diet high in carbohydrate and sugar. A change in recommendations is drastically needed, as public health could be at risk. We need a public health campaign as strong as the one we had in the '70s and '80s demonizing saturated fats — to say that we got it wrong.”
Cereal Killers the Movie: 'Let Fat Be Thy Medicine'
This is exactly what the film Cereal Killers is trying to do. "The message is, 'Don't fear fat,' " said documentary filmmaker Donal O'Neill.
In Cereal Killers, O'Neill went on a LCHF 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 keto diet consisting of 70%, taking in up to 2,000 grams of fat a week. He also drastically limited his carb intake but did not count calories.
After the month was over, O'Neill discovered he was able to maintain his lean muscle mass while melting body fat. What's more, he improved his heart health, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol.
Donal's LCHF diet 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). Brukner 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.
Dr. Noakes, author of The Lore of Running, is pleased that saturated fat is finally being vindicated by the medical community and in mainstream media. He wants the public to understand that we can prevent the deadly scourges of obesity, diabetes and heart disease by limiting carbs and consuming more healthy fats.
"The 'prudent' diet does not prevent heart disease — it causes it," he said. "And it contributes to diabetes and obesity in a major way."