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Eat Fat, Get Thin: Why the Fat We Eat Is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health


Author: Mark Hyman M.D

Publisher: Little


Publish Date: February 23, 2016

ISBN-10: 316338834

Pages: 400

File Type: Epub

Language: English

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Book Preface

What is the single best thing you can do for your health, weight, and longevity?

Eat more fat!

That’s right. Eat more fat to lose weight; feel good; prevent heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and cancer; and live longer.

How could that be true? Haven’t we been told by every health and nutrition professional, leading medical associations, and our government to eat less fat because fat makes us fat and causes heart disease? We have faithfully followed this advice in America over the last 50 years and yet are fatter and sicker than ever.

It is true that the fat on our bodies is making us sick and causing us to die too soon. But the seemingly logical leap that the fat we eat creates the fat on our bodies and clogs our arteries is wrong.

It’s an understandable mistake. The idea that if you eat fat, it turns to fat on your body makes sense. Fat equals fat, right? Same word. It looks and feels the same. Nutritionists have warned us that fat has twice as many calories (9 calories per gram) as carbs and protein (4 calories per gram), so if you eat less of it, you will lose weight and feel better. That seems like common sense. Except for one thing.

This whole idea, which we have bought wholesale, is scientifically untrue. In fact, the science shows the exact opposite. When you look closely at the data, it supports the idea that if you eat fat, you get thin (and reverse heart disease and type 2 diabetes, while preventing dementia, cancer, and other disease processes). The reality is that the more fat you eat, the more fat you lose and the better your body functions. Since 1980, the US Dietary Guidelines have warned us against the dangers of eating fat and implored us to eat less fat. But in a shocking reversal of this long-held dogma, the 2015 US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee exonerated cholesterol and removed any recommendation to limit dietary cholesterol or total dietary fat, except saturated fat (egg yolks are back on the menu!).1

If you are confused, it is not hard to understand why. I was confused myself, and I recommended low-fat diets to my patients for years. For decades, the advice from pretty much every doctor, nutritionist, professional society, and government agency had been to eat less fat to lose weight and prevent disease. Not only is this advice not working—it’s actually doing us harm. It turns out that eating less fat results in more obesity and disease.

We have reduced fat in our diet from 43 percent to 33 percent of calories since 1970 and cut back even more on saturated fat. Yet we are sicker than ever, with the percentage of people getting heart disease increasing (although fewer people die from heart disease because we have better treatment). Type 2 diabetes and obesity rates around the globe are skyrocketing. In 1960, 1 out of 100 people in America had type 2 diabetes; today that ratio has changed to 1 out of 10 people, a tenfold increase. Since the 1980s, rates of type 2 diabetes have gone up 700 percent. In 1960 only 1 in 7 Americans was obese; now it is 1 in 3, and it is projected that 1 out of every 2 Americans will be obese by the year 2050. In 1980, there were almost no cases of type 2 diabetes in children. By the year 2000, nearly 1 in 10 kids was pre-diabetic or had full-blown type 2 diabetes. By 2008, nearly 1 out of every 4 teenagers was pre-diabetic or had type 2 diabetes.2 Where will it end?

Sadly, this isn’t just a first world problem. Eighty percent of all type 2 diabetics are in the developing world. The single biggest health problem we face globally is the metabolic disaster that has led to a global epidemic of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. More than twice as many people around the world go to bed overweight (about 2.5 billion) as go to bed hungry. And this affects more than just our health. It affects our global economic survival. Chronic preventable diseases will cost $47 trillion over the next 20 years.3 That’s more than the annual gross domestic products of the world’s six largest economies combined. In America, the unfunded debt of Medicare and Medicaid dwarfs all other federal expenses; if health care costs continue to rise, they will consume 100 percent of our tax revenue by 2040, leaving no money for the military, education, justice, or anything else.

This is all deeply concerning, and we must collectively address the human, social, and economic issues caused by our diet and the diseases that result from what we eat. But first and foremost, let’s start with you and your own health and weight. What most people want to know is very simple:

What do I need to do to stay healthy, lose weight, and reverse chronic disease?

That’s exactly what this book will address—and it all starts with challenging what you believe to be true about fat. This book dispassionately reviews the evidence and uproots the conventional wisdom about fat—both the fat on our bodies and the fat we eat.

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