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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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October 11, 2008

Mmmmmmmmmmmm… Fat

By Worker Bee
20 Comments

If you read that in Homer Simpson’s voice, you’re doing it right. You see, science is starting to admit more and more often that Homer Simpson may have had it right in at least one dietary area: his fat consumption. A recent study suggests that (duh) fat can actually reduce appetite, curb hunger, and help you lose body fat. It’s nothing we didn’t already know, but the idea of mainstream science tossing a fatty wrench into the well-lubed gears of conventional dietary wisdom was too good to pass up. Before your less enlightened brethren and sistren, however, start wrapping waffles around sticks of butter or eating blocks of cheese like apples, implore them to take a moment and read the fine print.

The study release starts by pre-empting its own line of attack with this juicy bit of CW-pandering: “Fatty foods may not be the healthiest diet choice, but those rich in unsaturated fats – such as avocados, nuts, and olive oil…” We think we know where they’re going with this. That popular term for edgy nutritionists living life on the razor’s edge, “good fats,” will surely be mentioned. We like to make fun, of course, but it’s true that avocados, nuts, and olive oil technically are “good fats.” It’s just that by feeling the need to preface with “good,” scientists do all fats a great disservice via a latent implication that other fats are “bad.” We have the same issue with the phrase “good dog,” but that’s for another post (or blog altogether?). Anyway, as we’ve established before, fat is generally a healthy, nay, the healthy source of fuel for all followers of the Primal Blueprint. So why bring this study up?

Well, according to a group of UC Irvine pharmacologists, unsaturated fats foster satiety and curb hunger. They do so by triggering production of a certain compound in the small intestine that basically tells our bodies we’re full. Oleic acid, a fatty acid derived from certain fats, begins production of oleoylethanolamide (OEA) which gets absorbed into nerve endings. The nerve endings shoot off the “all done!” message to the brain, and the brain tells your hand to drop the bacon. Or so goes the idea. This stuff all took place in a lab; there were no human subjects. But you gotta admit this sounds pretty promising. Scientists sure think so. There are already plans to create a new class of anti-obesity drugs incorporating OEA.

Conveniently, all of this fits quite neatly into the Primal Blueprint way of approaching life. Mark often talks of lower calorie consumption as an auxiliary benefit rather than a goal; that is, our goal as Primal Blueprinters is not to count calories or obsess over fat content. Instead, by eating the stuff our bodies are made for, we end up being sated with far less than if we were to go back to the standard western diet. Lower caloric intake doesn’t just mean we’ll lose weight. It has also been linked to longevity and general long-term health. Oh, and if you need less food to get full, your wallet might thank you.

Fat makes up a big part of that Primal eating plan. We love fat, and we’ve always known it plays a key role in our diet. This is just more fuel for the fire, so to speak.

lewishamdreamer Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

The Definitive Guide to Cholesterol

How Stress Can Make You Fat

The Tropical Oils

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15 Comments on "Mmmmmmmmmmmm… Fat"

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Tony
8 years 1 month ago
With the direction of my doctor, I’ve recently switched to a more ‘primal’ way of eating, mainly because allergies have forced me to cut dairy and wheat out of my diet. I was shocked when the doc told me to start eating more healthy fats like olive oil, butter, and lard. I was already eating olive oil, but butter and lard? But he was right. Not only do I feel tons better with a lot more energy, but, as I was shocked to learn this morning, I’ve lost 9 lbs since I switched to this new diet, and I’m no… Read more »
Son of Grok
Son of Grok
8 years 1 month ago

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… fat. Yum yum for my tum tum.

P.S. That is great Tony!

dragonmamma
dragonmamma
8 years 1 month ago

Many a time I’ve snacked on a handful of cashews to get me by until mealtime, but then by the time I get the meal prepared, I already feel stuffed from the nuts!

Vasco
Vasco
8 years 1 month ago

so you’re saying eating blocks of cheese like apples isnt a clever thing to do? … too bad, this is something I’ve grown used to over the last few months 🙂 (I’m not dealing with a weight problem if anyone was wondering)

it just amazes me over and over again that the first thing scientists seem to think about whenever they come up with a new bit of knowledge about our metabolism is to create a drug. how pathetic. but I guess we all know common sense doesnt sell too well.

MizFit
8 years 1 month ago

Ive got nothing more than (a love for Homer &) yesyesyes, People, yes!!

Jennifer Eloff
8 years 1 month ago

Many of us low-carbers know this already, but it is very good to have studies confirm our findings.

Sam
8 years 1 month ago

It’s funny how everyone agrees about the benefits of olive oil and nuts, but everyone has opposite ideas about the bad stuff. So many people have grown to fear saturated fats, but rock out eating corn, soy, and canola oil. Pretty silly.

Jennifer Eloff
8 years 1 month ago

Sam, it’s because of brain washing in the tv media, print media, radio, you name it and not enough information about the ills of eating the other things you mentioned. Saturated fat has been the whipping boy for years and years – hence the low fat diets. Today I picked up a Spanish magazine (April 2008) – what do they advise menopausal women? Steer clear of saturated fat, meat, butter, etc. Same old, same old story…or the song that never ends.

Dr Dan
8 years 1 month ago

Im really glad studies like this are starting to come out and be accepted. However, much easier to accept unsaturated vs saturated fats so its only halfway there.

Simon
Simon
8 years 1 month ago
Will just begin and say that I think this paleo diet is great in many ways. Maybe a high fat diet works for some people and they lose some weight, but there are still some unanswered questions. Will this high fat diet be the begining of cardiovascular disease (CVD)? for example. The main risk factor for atherosclerosis and CVD is high concentration of LDL and triglycerides in the blood and low level of HDL. With a high fat diet low in carbs will certainly increas the content of cholesterol in the blood, but will it be to the better or… Read more »
J
J
8 years 9 days ago

TTBOMK it’s the triglycerides in the VLDL that are the problem. And they are chiefly the result of eating too many refined carbs.

Alan Carr
6 years 3 months ago
Saying you don’t have to count calories is a tad misleading… It’s a bit like saying you don’t need a speedometer in your car. Sure, if you’re not bothered by the corn-funded “food police” then there’s no “speed limit” – but even racing drivers use a speedo, to judge their speed and momentum rather than worrying about speed limits. I don’t count my calories, my Biggly software does that, but I certainly keep an eye on them! For example a day like today, chair-bound, I know not to exceed around 1800. For me it means putting on weight. When I’m… Read more »
Alan Carr
6 years 3 months ago

Don’t you hate it when smileys come out wrong?

🙂

Deuce
Deuce
6 years 3 months ago
I love the need to “cling” to calorie counting that some here just don’t have the self reliance to let go of. “I agree with most of the article but…” But NOTHING! Do you think there was a single caveman that looked like Dom DeLouise or Oprah? Of course not. The idea is preposterous. Cavemen were lucky to get a meal, and when they did the gorged themselves of meat, fat and nuts. Yet when bears and mountain lions were close by they had to be svelte enough to evade them. So there are no “buts”. Cavement didn’t know what… Read more »
Alan Carr
6 years 3 months ago
“Cavement didn’t know what calories were” True, but today we DO have the benefit of that knowledge. Being ignorant for the sake of it isn’t helpful. As a bodybuilder I’ve long followed a high protein diet, including carb cycling. If you don’t know what that is, do a search for ‘leptin’, because you NEED some readily-available carbs now and then. I, along with many other bodybuilders, have found calorie management a powerful technique to create the physique you want. Can you do it without? Sure you can! Obviously. If you want to do it this year, rather than in a… Read more »
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