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When it comes to diets and popular culture, things are cyclical.  Back in 2001-2003 Everyone was talking about the Atkins diet.  Fast forward 10 years, and everyone was “going Paleo”, and nowadays you’re hearing a LOT about the Ketogenic diet.  The truth of the matter is, regardless what you call it, and barring some variations in protocol between these “diets”, the core ideas are pretty much the same. 

In short (very short) it can be boiled down to 4 things:

  1. Eat unprocessed foods, with a focus on increasing consumption of Lean Meats and copious amounts of Vegetables
  2. Limit the consumption of excess carbohydrate
  3. Increase protein intake to about 30% of total caloric load
  4. Increase fat intake to replace energy void left by reducing carb intake 

Now, the first 3 items people generally wrap their heads around without too much trouble.  It’s the last one that seems to really give people fits.  It is especially tough, since the biochemistry of dietary fat is largely a mystery to us regular folk.  In addition, the term “fat” has been vilified in every context for the better part of three generations, thus making us feel like we have invited our drunk and inappropriate uncle to dinner every time we add it to our meals.

So, in the interest of providing some context, and to help make sense of all of this, below are responses to some of the most common questions we get about dietary fat.  I wish I could claim these as my own, but credit to Mark Sisson, at Marks Daily Apple for putting this all together.  A link to the full article can be found here:

Q:  “Isn’t all that fat gonna glom onto your arteries?”
A:  “My arteries are not pipes. Fat is not solidifying in my blood like it can in the plumbing. Atherosclerosis is a complex process with dozens of factors beyond what’s in your diet, let alone the fat content.”

Q:  “Isn’t all that cholesterol gonna raise your cholesterol?”
A: “Dietary cholesterol does not affect total blood cholesterol. In fact, when we do eat cholesterol, our bodies make less of it to keep our blood levels in balance.”

Q:  “Isn’t all that fat gonna make you fat?”
A:  “No. Eating a high-fat, low-carb diet is the easiest way to inadvertently eat less without sacrificing satiation or satisfaction. It also improves your ability to access stored body fat rather than lean mass, which is helpful for fat loss.”

Q:  “my doctor said saturated fat will give you heart attacks.”
A: “The most recent studies have concluded that saturated fat intake likely has no relation to heart disease, contrary to popular opinion.”

Q:  “Where do you get your energy?”
A: “Fat is the body’s preferred and most reliable form of energy, which is why we store excess energy as fat on our bodies. Unless you think we accumulate body fat just to make pants fit tighter.”

Q:  “But isn’t fat totally free of nutrients? How do you get your vitamins if you’re eating all
A: “Certain fats, like egg yolks, palm oil, extra virgin olive oil, cod liver oil, and grass-fed butter, are some of the most nutritious foods in existence. And without fat in your meals, you often won’t absorb all the nutrients that are present in other foods like leafy greens, since many of them require fat for full absorption.”

Q:  “Doesn’t the brain run on carbs, not fat?”
A:  “While it’s true that the brain requires some glucose for energy, using fat-derived ketones as well can make the brain run more efficiently and reduce its glucose requirements. On top of that, your body can probably create more glucose than your brain even requires.”


~Coach Shane