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Saturated fats serenaded: High fat low carb ketogenic diets earn respect

Bring on the butter.
Simon & Schuster

Ding-dong, the sandwich is dead. That rewriting of the "Wizard of Oz" song could become the mantra of low-carb dieters who are cheering as Time magazine reversed its previous views on saturated fat on Thursday. In addition, the "Today" show quickly followed, reporting on a new study showing no link between heart disease and the consumption of foods such as butter, bacon and beef.

"I do agree butter, along with other saturated fats like poultry skin, coconut oil, full fat dairy and certain cuts of red meat, are no longer the enemy," NBC's diet expert Joy Bauer said Thursday. "And unfortunately when fat was vilified back in the 1970s, we replaced those fats with…you guessed it…refined carbohydrates."

However, she cautioned that it's not time yet to start pouring massive amounts of butter over every food you eat. Instead, she does urge that we lose our fear of fats and lower the amounts of refined starch that we consume.

Bauer echoed the message in a new book that's attracting unprecedented attention from experts: "The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet." Investigative journalist Nina Teicholz devoted years to proving the message of that title: Low carb high fat (LCHF) diets can reverse the epidemic of obesity and linked conditions such as diabetes.

In particular, women are at risk because of the potential for heart disease when they go on low-fat diets. The reason: When women follow low-fat diets, their "good cholesterol (HDL) drops dramatically on this diet (it does for men, too, but less so), thereby increasing their risk of heart disease," said Teicholz in a recent interview with Dr. Frank Lipman.

The physician noted that many also continue to think that olive oil trumps butter because of the publicity given to the Mediterranean Diet. But to those who prescribe the Mediterranean diet for weight loss, beware.

"The data was therefore not any good and never grew any better," revealed Teicholz. "In fact, the reason that the Mediterranean Diet became celebrated and famous is that researchers fell in love with the sun-kissed, enchanting Mediterranean—and most of their studies and travel were funded by the olive-oil industry."

In reality, it's coconut oil that's healthier. Even Dr. Mehmet Oz, previously cautious about recommending any saturated fats, has become a fan of this MCT oil and recommends it for health and for weight loss.

Among those agreeing with Teicholz's professional supporters and emphasizing the facts of her research: Dr. Michael R Eades, author of "The 30-Day Low-Carb Diet Solution." Terming it one of the most important books ever written in the health field, Dr. Eades urges consumers to hop on the no-bread bandwagon and use her research showing that sugar and starch are the enemy when it comes to efforts to weight loss.

He quotes from Teicholz's book the evidence that low-carb diets have been show to be healthy in entire cultures. "Native Americans of the Southwest were observed between 1898 and 1905 by the physician-turned-anthropologist Aleš Hrdlička... The Native Americans he visited were eating a diet predominantly of meat, mainly from buffalo, yet, as Hrdlička observed, they seemed to be spectacularly healthy and live to a ripe old age."

Moreover, say Dr. Eades and others supporting Teicholz's research, the previous studies urging everyone to go for grains and cut fat are faulty. Ancel Keys pushed his inaccurate premise about fat-free diets so strongly that we've become a nation of fat phobics - and it's resulting in record levels of obesity and diabetes.

Ironically, despite our nation's general assumption that we're ahead in the health field, Cape Town professor Tim Noakes has become one of the most influential spokespersons for LCHF ketogenic diets. He's become known as the Banting diet guru because the foundation of the plan featured in the Atkins diet and other LCHF plans comes from the decades-old "Letter on Corpulence" by William Banting.