This was the mantra behind the '6 Week Body Make-Over' that I attempted; lost a ton of weight on; but just didn't have the energy to keep up. When I tell people about Paleo, I usually hear, "Oh, just like Atkins." Then I cringe. I thought Atkins was the most unhealthy diet I'd ever heard of.
So, I am new to this (day 6) and have already asked a ton of questions (graciously and amazingly answered by many of you ((thank you!))). I can't seem to find a clear answer - or one that my pea brain can understand - as to how/why fat is considered good for you.
I know, read a biology book, right? Google it...and believe me, I have. I guess I would appreciate links to some tried and true information from real people (no robots, please) who have made this go from a diet to a lifestyle.
Thank you VERY much. :)
It is one of the most important dietary building blocks for our bodies. Every cell in your body depends on saturated fat to some extent. Eating saturated fat even creates a positive feedback loop in bile production that makes you more able to digest it in subsequent meals.
It is possible to use seed oils to build our cells, but they will experience more inflammation, become disregulated at a greater rate, and as a whole organism we will be more likely to malfunction.
In the dietary experiment of replacing saturated fat with seed oil fats over the last 90 or so years we have managed to shrink our brains, develop heart disease at an astounding rate, cause our galbladders to malfunction, destroy our immune systems, and increase our chances of developing dementia.
In an attempt to not malfunction prematurely I find it to be a preferential food choice.
On the personal front, The right kind of saturated fat is the best tool I've found for losing weight. In my N=1 fat from grassfed ruminants, coconuts, and sea critters does not increase fat on the body. My cholesterol numbers also improve significantly on a higher fat diet.
Mark's Daily Apple, this link gives you the info on why saturated fat is actually extremely healthy and vital to our organs.
Looking at your question a second time, i realize this doesn't answer your question. Basically, fat does not cause an insulin spike like carbohydrates, so you tend to not binge on fat. Fat also stays in your intestines for a longer period of time than carbs. Let's demonstrate a scenario. If I eat 2000 calories of carbohydrates in one meal, simple or complex carbohydrates, the carbohydrates will stay in my gut for a short period of time, so I will not have enough time to use all of the calories before they leave my intestines. This causes an excess of calories, which will most likely become stored fat (I will become overweight). Now, if I eat a meal purely consisting of 2000 calories of fat, the fat will slowly pass through my intestines, giving me at least a full day to use all of the calories. In my case, I burn around 2000 calories per day, so, I will have absolutely 0 excess calories, resulting in no weight gain! Also, since the fat goes through the gut slowly, you will not have a sudden feeling of hunger, you will have a slow hunger that builds up to the starving stage.
I hope I cleared things up! :D
I've lost over 100lbs and kept it off for over two years. Embrace saturated fat. Avoid Omega-6 plant based oils. Within the parameters of paleo, eat fat and you will be thin.
Also, paleo is NOTHING like atkins because it does not demand you be low carb. Instead it focuses on food quality rather than any sort of magic food or macronutrient ratio.
It's not so much that fat is good for you but rather that some fats are less bad for you than some other things (e.g. processed carbs, veggie oils). Sadly, it's not just black and white; food can't be examined as good vs. bad. All food is technically bad for you because it must be metabolized. Our metabolism is what causes us to age, damages DNA, and ultimately kills us. Of course, not eating will kill you faster than eating because we can only slow our metabolisms so far. However, you can extend the lives of fruit flies many-fold by putting them in the refrigerator because it slows their metabolism (they're cold-blooded).
Literal interpretation aside, higher fat diets improve blood cholesterol profiles. Higher HDL, lower triglycerides, better LDL pattern (pattern A). Higher fat diets lower fasting glucose levels (in the presence of low carb intake). Fat is a necessary component for the absorption of nutrients A, D, E, and K. Those are just some examples.
You will always be able to find research that supports almost any dietary viewpoint. Sugar is good for you if you're running a marathon and need to replenish glycogen. Fact. Fructose is good because it doesn't raise insulin, and chronically high insulin is bad. Fact. All of the former statements are missing evidence which points to the contrary, but the point is that you can praise or vilify any food in a vacuum. I believe paleo makes the most sense intuitively and so follow it due to that. But there's research for and against it. Some people feel better on higher carb diets; some on higher fat.
I know I didn't really answer your question, but until we have a much better understanding of the human body, you're going to have to read (a lot) and come to your own conclusions. I didn't have any health or weight problems prior to trying this diet and truthfully have noticed no real changes other than in blood lipid panels.
I would recommend getting some books if you want to understand the paleo diet more fully - they're generally more cohesive resources than web pages. However, Kurt Harris's blog (Archevore) is excellent and covers a wide variety of paleo-related topics. His Paleo 2.0 post is a great starting point; this post describes his idea of an optimal diet. For books, Good cals, bad cals is an excellent book that goes into great detail about how fat can be seen as superior to carbohydrates.
I am quite new to this myself. And the whole Atkins thing is something that comes up a lot as well. Someone on here pointed me towards Mark's Daily Apple the other day, and it seems like a really good site. There are tonnes of resources on their, and you get some free and pretty informative ebooks for signing up over there. The success stories section is pretty cool. Though this isn't directly an answer to your question, I guess it is a finger pointing somewhere you could read up and check some things out. -Jono
The video clip from Fat Head is good, but here is the same guy, Tom Noughton, doing a lecture on how we got into this pervasive saturated fat hyper-indoctrination in the first place. It's a 5-part exposé of the BS (bad science) that made a nation fat (about a dozen minutes, each but well worth he time... and funny... and eye-opening). At the end of these videos, you will have been magically transformed into one of us as a permanent skeptic of the SAD world and better understand the politics and marketing that made you what you think (thought) today.
This video clip (from Fat Head) helped me understand more about why we get fat. Right after I watched this, I decided to start the Paleo diet.
Atkins saved my life two years - no problem if you read the diet and follow the plan. Low carb needs HIGH fat or it doesn't work. South Beach doesn't work because low carb and low fat doesn't gel. One point is to replace the processed meats which were NOT as bad when Dr Atkins worked on his diet as it is today with grass fed meat.