Woman at groceries store

A fad is something, which comes into fashion and then fades quickly. The dictionary definition is “an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short lived”. Time frame is not critical to the definition. The notion of “short lived” is a relative one and depends on the total time frame.

Where am I going with this?

The term fad applies to fashions and trends but these days are often associated with diets. There seems to be no end of new ways to lose weight. From Atkins back to Paleo and all points in-between there is a new diet fad almost every week. And this does not even include a myriad of products and programs on which we spend billions of dollars each year.

Collectively we are not getting all that much return for our efforts.

In the time frame of a year, a trend, which lasts a few weeks, can be seen as a fad. In a time frame of ten thousand years a fad could last 30, 50 or even 100 years? Of course within its time the “fad” would not be seen as such, it would be the conventional wisdom of the time.

In human history, until the late 1970’s people ate largely what they could gather or catch or variations on that theme. We ate mainly vegetables and animal products. We did not eat that much grain and we ate very little processed food, which is high in refined carbohydrate. We did not eat a low fat diet.

Until the late 1970’s only a small percentage of the population had weight problems and type two diabetes was not common.

Then something changed. 

We were told that a low fat diet was healthy. We started on the biggest fad diet in human history. Yet it became conventional wisdom because experts, health authorities and governments bought into and promoted it.

Since we have been on a low fat diet as a society we have seen a significant increase in obesity and type two diabetes. It could almost be said that the less fat we consumed the fatter we got. And when we go back to basics and look at the physiology of the body it makes sense.

We produce insulin in response to eating carbohydrates. One of the roles of insulin is to lay down fat. The body does not store sugar so any, which is not used as energy is converted into fat. And insulin inhibits fat burning.

Unlike essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and amino acids (protein) there is no essential carbohydrate. The body can produce all it needs so it is the least essential part of the diet. Yet when the food pyramid was devised, grains were the biggest component.

And we know that when fat is taken out of foods it is replaced by sugar. So all the “healthy” low fat foods are in fact not healthy at all. Worse still low fat, high sugar foods leave us hungry and we then eat more of them.

We gain weight as a consequence. And, as has been now proven, it is the consumption of refined carbohydrate (not obesity), which causes type two diabetes by its effect on insulin metabolism.

This guest post is a link to a TV program on low fat versus low carbohydrate diets. I urge you to have a look.

We need to re-embrace the eating patterns of our predecessors who ate real food not packaged processed grains. They ate food, which grew somewhere or use to move around. They ate fats. They ate protein. They ate fruits, vegetables, nuts seeds and berries. They drank water.

This is not a religion. You can eat some packaged foods; we live in the 21st century and its convenient. Avoid any food marked low fat! Eat butter instead of margarine. Enjoy avocados, olive oil, eggs and coconut cream. Do not cut the fat off your meats (unless you really don’t like the taste).

The experts were wrong. The low fat diet is the worst fad ever foisted on the community. It is time to dump it.