Why Fat Is Your Friend and Carbs Are A Metabolic Nightmare

Used to be, like as a few days ago, that dietary fat was the enemy and carbs your friend, but au contraire, Pilgrim, science is doing a reverse slam dunk on our dietary sensibilities.  Here’s why now fat is your friend.

healthy and unhealthy fatsWell, surprise, surprise… dietary fat is not the culprit behind America’s burgeoning waistlines after all. Suddenly, fat is your friend.

Unsurprising, really.

If you’re old enough, or read my article, What’s Making Us Fat and Sick?, you may recall that there was a mighty push in the ’70s to extract the fat from every possible processed food, from yoghurt to crackers.  In it’s place, sugar — typically high fructose corn syrup.

Suspending considerations about correlation and causation (two or more things just happen to happen around the same time, versus one thing causing another thing), take a look at the following two graphs.

This graph is Carbohydrates consumed per day per person as measured in grams, and obesity rates:

Chart 1: Carb Consumption and Obesity Rates

Chart 1: Carb Consumption and Obesity Rates


Notice how body fat (“obesity”) rises with carbohydrate consumption?

I don’t recall the source, but I do remember reading that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) projected that by 2030, a mind-boggling 50% of Americans will be obese. I guess they figure we’ll all be eating more carbs.

The American Institute for Cancer Research is on the same page. It projects that by 2030 more than 85% of the U.S. population will be overweight or obese!

85% overweight by 2030

Yes, if things continue along today’s trajectory, every other person will be obese, which is defined as a body fat level above 24% for men and 37% for women. (1)

But it’s not because of eating too much fat, but eating too many fast-absorbed, blood-sugar-spiking carbohydrates.

What do such carbos look like?

Mostly, they’re white – like pasta, white rice, potatoes… oh, and when it comes to drinks, they’re dark – soda comes to mind.

Yes, calories do still matter, but you’ll likely eat more of them if consuming carbs devoid of nutrition and fiber (“empty carbs”) because – unlike dietary fat — they will not fill you up.

Which is why, finally, various medical journals and government entities have come to a consensus that it’s time to drop restrictions on total fat consumption:

  • The Journal of the Medical Association (JAMA) has published a “Viewpoint” from a large research group urging the federal government to change its fat policy; and
  • The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee (DGAC), a cabal of independent scientists convened by the federal government to review health research, did not propose restricting total fat consumption in their report for the first time since 1980. By the end of the year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will write the final Dietary Guidelines for Americans using the DGAC report as guidance, Tufts University reported. (2)

The reason all this is happening is because restricting total fat intake beyond what’s calorically appropriate for your energy requirements has no basis in science and leads to all sorts of wrong industry and consumer decisions,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School, who also said:

“Modern evidence clearly shows that eating more foods rich in healthful fats like nuts, vegetable oils, and fish have protective effects, particularly for cardiovascular disease. Other fat-rich foods, like whole milk and cheese, appear pretty neutral; while many low-fat foods, like low-fat deli meats, fat-free salad dressing, and baked potato chips, are no better and often even worse than full-fat alternatives. It’s the food that matters, not its fat content.” (3)

Rather than restricting fat consumption, do this instead:

  • Eat more vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, beans, and seafood.
  • Dramatically reduce sugars, refined grains (the white stuff) and hormone-laced, antibiotic-filled meat (red, pork and chicken).
  • And don’t forget the water… water, not coffee, tea and soft drinks… and don’t use the stuff from plastic water bottles unless you want man boobs and a gut.

Surely, the benefits of eating real, whole, unadulterated foods are now undisputed. Research on the matter demonstrates that refined carbohydrates increase metabolic dysfunction and obesity, a very unfortunate conclusion because foods rich in added sugars, starches and refined grains like white bread, white rice, chips, crackers and bakery desserts make up most of the calories that people eat.

So, do yourself a favor, and add a wonderful avocado to your salad, and drop the non-fat rice cakes.


P.S.  Speaking of fat, you may get inspired by reading, 8 Sure-fire Ways to Trim Body Fat and Keep It Off Forever, and/or How I’m Boosting Testosterone and Blasting Body Fat.

Last Updated on March 13, 2018 by Joe Garma

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Joe Garma

I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 9 comments
Monte Petersen - June 27, 2015

Joe, can you please expound upon this:
“and don’t use the stuff from plastic water bottles unless you want man boobs and a gut.:

    Joe Garma - June 27, 2015

    Sure, Monte, many plastics release chemicals that act like the sex hormone estrogen. When men get too much of it, they become feminized, which can include some extra fat on both the chest and belly.

    Check out NPR’s review of a study on the topic: http://www.npr.org/2011/03/02/134196209/study-most-plastics-leach-hormone-like-chemicals

      Monte Petersen - June 28, 2015

      Thanks Joe, That’s shocking! I am out in Hawaii now, and the tap water in the building I reside in is terrible. I have been drinking aquafina for over
      a year now. What a world!!! I suppose the answer is a water filter. It is astounding how corrupt
      our food supply is in this country:(
      I try to eat local produce here in my attempt to avoid irradiated fruits and vegetables. Thank you for your input. I really enjoy reading your Emails.

        Joe Garma - June 28, 2015

        I’m not expert, Monte, but I have done some reading on water filters and it seems the biggest bang for your buck are the gravity fed systems, such as ProPur Big Stainless Steel Water Purification: http://amzn.com/B00B9RP7OC/garonhea-20

          Monte Petersen - June 28, 2015

          Thanks Joe!

Maryann Pearson - June 28, 2015

Joe, when you state: “and hormone-laced, antibiotic-filled meat (red, pork and chicken).” it makes it sound as if all red meat, pork and chicken are hormone and antibiotic filled, which is of course not the case. One can buy meats that are from animals raised without hormones or antibiotics and given food that is organically grown. This book: The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz has some very interesting facts about man and meat eating which is contrary to much of today’s recommendations, and also contradicts meat’s contribution to obestity.

    Joe Garma - June 28, 2015

    Hi Maryann. Completely agree w/ you and when I do partake, it’s pasture-raised, etc.

Kristina Wilson - May 25, 2016

Joe, would you be able to please explain upon this:
“furthermore, don’t utilize the stuff from plastic water bottles unless you need man boobs and a gut.: Much obliged

    Joe Garma - May 25, 2016

    Kristina, don’t see that quote in this blog post, but I might have written this in one of the posts about estrogen-producing effects of plastic bottles that contain BPA. Too much estrogen tends to feminize men, which include “man boobs”, and although not a characteristic of women, estrogen can also cause men to grow some belly fat.


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