Mmmmmmmmmmmm… Fat

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, 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

Going Keto: What Foods to Eat

The Definitive Guide to Healthy Oils

PUFA-Rama: The Rise of Vegetable Oils

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16 thoughts on “Mmmmmmmmmmmm… Fat”

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  1. 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 longer counting calories or otherwise worrying too much about how much I eat. I’m still continuing to tweak things to figure out how different foods effect me and what the best way for me to eat is, but am definitely sold on this high fat/protein diet, supplemented with lots and lots of veggies.

  2. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… fat. Yum yum for my tum tum.

    P.S. That is great Tony!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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 to the worse?
    I don’t have the answers for these questions, I think noone has. but consider the method for inducing atherosclerosis in animals, the scientists use a high fat diet. It’s not impossible it will be the same in humans.
    Just some things to think about and maybe discuss before you say this is the best way to eat…

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

  10. 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 weight training and also busy, I can scoff 5000 without worrying.

    Calories do still count, regardless of where they come from. Also fat is high in cals, so trust your body – but verify :o)

  11. 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 calories were and they weren’t indoctrinated into a diet intended to make them stupid and lethargic like the American public is. But their survival alone is proof that they were far more fit than most of us. So clearly these “but” comments are simply the product of the US checklist mentality that goes something like this:

    “I don’t have the capacity on my own to formulate rational thoughts that will secure my survival. So instead I will rely on following a checklist of things spoonfed to me by people I don’t know and whose intentions I have not considered. And I will not stray from this regiment for fear of having to depend on my own intellect to get by.” This is most Americans and its pathetic.

    I am 35 years old. I have followed this diet for 10 years. People always guess me to be 5-10 years younger than I am. I have all my hair, I play semi-pro football and am a perennial all-star. I compete in Long Driving at the national level. And I haven’t so much as pulled a muscle in years. And I have not counted a single calorie in my life. Whenever any of you ‘but-ers” want to compare your results with mine I’m game. But prepare to have your world of denial and indoctrination shattered.

    Eat fat. Get fit. Lard on the plate means lean on the waist. The only reason this truth is hard to believe is because you’ve chosen to be a sucker for lies. Free yourselves, go primal!

  12. “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 few years time, yes, open your mind to modern day knowledge such as ‘calories’.

    Whether you’re counting them or not, they DO count.

  13. I am thrilled! I’ve come to be keto not knowing I was, on my own. Long story but…. began reading your introductory series on it and learned: WOW, my strong surrender to what I actually Want to eat, fats, using coconut oil and dairy Icheese, milk cultured at home into kefir), and upping protein naturally after decades as a low protein, plant based vegetarian with minimal or rather I now see clearly NOT ENOUGH protein…. which was ok for decades with lots of exercise and demanding job responsibilities. Now: I see that older people truly need to change what they’ve been doing in some cases and I have and am. Welcomed first egg in a long time recently; now eat one a day. Bought grass fed whey protein powder – Yay, tastes good too. Also discovered TAURINE which vegetarians and even more vegans lack big time… and what vast array of things taurine helps! Sleep being just one. Mood being another, and nearly every single system in the body sees its effect. And it is cheap to supplement. Check amazon. Anyway: back to reading. I feel very supported and trustful here of the information I find. Yay Mark to the max.