Chapter 1: A Big Fat Mistake
Dr. Fife by profession is a certified nutritionist and naturopathic physician, and he authored over 20 books dealing with health and healing. He also is a very strong advocate of using coconut oil in place of vegetable or seed-derived oils.
If I could sum up this chapter with a one-word acronym it would be this:
LCHF, meaning a Low Carbohydrate, High Fat diet. In essence, that’s the gist of Dr. Fife’s book.
Dr. Fife starts the chapter by discussing a patient named Reyn. At 370 pounds, Reyn was a disaster waiting to happen. His cardiologist had him on the usual trifecta of prescription drugs including blood pressure meds, statin drugs, metformin for blood sugar, and Victoza to lose weight.
Reyn followed his doctor’s usual nutritional advice of eating a low-fat diet along with lean protein. This included, of course, avoiding saturated fats. His meals were centered around grains, fruit, and low-fat dairy. Because he took his meds, Reyn felt free to occasionally indulge in sweets, especially if they were sweetened with artificial sweeteners.
Despite taking his meds and following his doctor’s dietary advice, Reyn’s health continued to decline. He was hospitalized due to heart problems and blamed it on bad genetics.
Reyn attended a health conference where he heard about Low Carbohydrate, High Fat (LCHF) diets for the first time. Afterwards, he listened to several speakers extolling the virtues of the LCHF diet. One of them was Jason Fund, MD, a featured speaker at the conference.
The concept of the LCHF diet was new to Reyn, and it was contrary to his pre-conceived beliefs about diets. The following are some attributes of the LCHF diet:
- High carb foods such as grains, starchy vegetables, and most fruits are limited.
- Fat consumption is significantly increased. Non-fat milk is replaced with full-fat milk. Low fat cheese is replaced with full-fat cheese.
- Most of the fats are saturated
- The use of poly-unsaturated vegetable (seed oils) from soybeans, canola, corn safflower, etc. is limited.
- Fatty cuts of meat are fine and preferred over lean meats
Dr. Fife points out the we [as a society] have been eating low fat for over 40 years, and what has it gotten us? Obesity is at an all-time high, and degenerative diseases such as type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc. are at epidemic proportions.
He points out that a growing body of research is showing that LCHF diets….
- Can balance blood sugar
- Improve blood cholesterol levels
- Lower elevated blood pressure
- Melt off excess body fat
- Boost energy levels
- Balance hormones
- Strengthen the heart and much more
Dr. Fife makes this key point:
While medications may help relieve symptoms associated with the above conditions, the LCHF diet can accomplish the same thing and allow their patients to get off their drugs and lead healthier lives.
My Comment: Who wouldn’t that for his/her life?
Continuing: Here’s what Reyn did. He embraced the LCHF diet to the point where 75% of his calories were from fat, 15-20% from protein, and 5% were from carbs.
Here’s what happened. He was able to wean himself off his insulin and cholesterol meds until he stopped them entirely. When Reyn told his cardiologist that he didn’t want to renew his meds, his doctor scoffed at him.
After a year, he lost 117 pounds and ate full meals until he was satisfied. He had more energy than ever, and he discovered weight loss was never so easy. His A1C levels normalized, and his peripheral neuropathy caused by his diabetes vanished completely. A year ago, Reyn left the hospital with one foot in the grave, and now he’s a new man.
Low-Fat Diets Are Killing Us Fife next delves into the problem with the government food recommendations. He specifically takes to task the recommendations to eat more grain of “6-11 servings per day” which could include white bread rolls, muffins, and packaged dry cereals. Fried potatoes, catsup, and pizza sauce could fulfill the vegetable requirements. Sugary fruit juices, cherry pie filling and sugar soaked canned fruits all can satisfy the fruit requirements. Non-fat milk and cheese are to be preferred over the full-fat versions. Lean meats and egg white are preferred, and fats and sugars are to be used sparingly.
Key point: This reduction in fat has led to an increase in carbohydrate consumption because removing fat from meals generally leads to eating more carbohydrate-rich foods to make up for the loss of calories from fat.
My comments: You can bet your last dollar that to make matters even worse, these carb calories are primarily from refined carbohydrates. This list includes pizza crust, white rice, bagels, rolls, and bread. Even most so-called whole wheat breads are mostly made from “enriched” white flour.
All of this contributes to the spiking of your blood sugar level which then can lead to insulin resistance. It is this insulin resistance that opens to door to metabolic syndrome, which consists of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and a long list of other maladies.
Continuing: Fife makes another key point:
Although the guidelines suggest limiting sugar intake, this advice is not stressed and has generally been ignored, with more emphasis placed on reducing total fat intake and cutting out saturated fat and cholesterol as much as possible.
Even worse, since saturated fats have been demonized, they have been largely replaced with polyunsaturated vegetable* oils. Included in this group of unhealthy fats are hydrogenated vegetable oils. shortening, and margarine. *Calling these oils vegetable oils is a bad misnomer. With mainly the exception of olives, you don’t get oil from vegetables. Rather, you get the oil by squeezing soybeans, canola (rapeseed) seeds, corn, etc. at very high pressure.
In 1961, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommended a low-fat and low cholesterol diet. In spite of this, as Fife points out, 60 years later heart disease is still the number killer in the USA.
He continues by saying that one of the rationales for the low-fat diet was to help people lose weight. The statistics, unfortunately, say that just the opposite has happened. In 1975 45% of adults were overweight. Now it’s 75%.
Likewise, there has been an accompanying rise is type 2 diabetes rates. He points out that Alzheimer’s disease is now referred to as type 3 diabetes or diabetes of the brain. He comments that the rates of other degenerative diseases are also on the rise and suggests that since those rates continue to climb, the cause is not genetic. He points out that we are now seeing Alzheimer’s occurring at younger and younger ages.
Fife explains that the cause for these increased disease rates is primarily due to the faulty dietary advice.
Key takeaway point:
If you want to lose excess weight as well as reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease, atherosclerosis, cancer, and many other degenerative diseases, you should eat more fat and less sugar and refined carbohydrates…
Dr. Fife points out that fat has been savored by people eating ancestral diets. Fat on game meat was relished. People enjoyed excellent health on high fat diets.
My comment: The Eskimos relish the fat from their game meat and throw the lean meat to the dogs. Maybe there is more to it than just needing the fat to help keep themselves warm in cold climates.
What an LCHF Diet Can Do for You
Fife lists 40 degenerative diseases where the conditions can be stopped or reversed with an LCHF diet. Here are twelve of them.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Coronary heart disease
- Kidney disease and kidney stones
- Macular degeneration
- Parkinson’s disease
- Sleep apnea
- Ulcerative colitis
In addition to improvements in the above conditions, he continues by enumerating the changes that an LCHF diet may bring to your life:
- Get off most, if not all of your medications
- Have more energy
- Be more resistant to infections
- Feel better, sleep better, and have a clearer mind and a better memory
- Experience an overall enhanced feeling of well-being
Dr. fife makes this concluding comment about the LSCH diet:
Not all fats are of equal value, and some can be harmful, or harmful if eaten to excess…This book will be a guide.
While it may look that an LCHF diet can correct just about anything, it is not a cure-all, nor do I claim it to be such. The diet itself doesn’t cure anything. It simply provides the body with the nutrients it needs to correct imbalances caused by poor dietary and lifestyle choice. If you have been eating the standard low-fat diet, this new way of eating has the potential to significantly improve your health. It may just be the solution you are looking for. Give it a try—you have nothing to lose except your poor health.