Fat phobia…get over it and eat more


I’ve just finished a series of nutrition workshops with my team Dr Caryn Zinn (dietician), Dr Mikki Williden (nutritionist) and Julia McPhee (low carb cook). We ran workshops on low carb high fat for the public, health and fitness professionals, and athletes. It’s all interesting and motivating, but one thing was obvious to me. There still exists a widespread fear of fat.

That’s right, in my opinion, the number one barrier to the successful implementation of a whole food low carb diet is the fear of fat.

The trouble is when you don’t eat enough fat you either end up with a low fat, low carb diet (where it is hard to get enough calories to feel OK), or (most common) you are not fully satiated, so you end up over eating protein which gets turned into glucose in the liver, or worse you just binge on carbs because you aren’t full.

The secret is to get past the fear of fat that the food pyramid belted into us and just eat more fat. Eat fat until you are full is my mantra.

Here’s my top ten “go to” fats

  1. Coconut oil – add this to anything, but most important use it for frying. It holds together at high temperatures. Coconut oil contains lauric acid a medium chain triglyceride which has some antibacterial and possibly anti-inflammatory properties. Good quality extra virgin is what you want – it costs a bit more, but worth it.
  2. Coconut cream – same as above but can be used in smoothies – that’s a great way of getting your breakfast time fat up
  3. Avocados – this is a magnificent source of vegetable saturated fat. Avos are highly nutritious and a very effective way to get the fat content of a salad up.  Use them in dips and so forth as well.
  4. Olive oil – in general I avoid cooking with olive oil.  But it’s really the most effective way of turning a low calorie, rabbit food salad into something more substantial and nutritious. I almost always make my own salad dressing, most often a combination of olive oil and something else. My salad dressings are mostly zero carbs, and very high healthy fat.
  5. Cream – plain cream either poured or whipped is a great way to turn a cup of berries into a filling and extra yummy dessert.  Added to coffee or tea you know you love it!
  6. Butter – get liberal with this – have a pound of butter on the diner table and add liberally to your vegetables.
  7. Cheese – extra fatty varieties – like blue vein are a great source of fat.  Some of the double blue cheese in New Zealand can be 70% fat!
  8. Less lean meat – that’s right you can ask your butcher to NOT trim the fat off the meats you buy. Also, consider some of the other organ meats.  My butcher makes whole meat sausages which are quite fatty and he chucks in all sort of bits and pieces like brains which modern humans have mostly given up eating.  Avoid supermarket sausages as they tend to be full of wheat and starchy fillers.
  9. Macadamia nuts – can be 70-80% fat depending on how they are prepared. Yum. Be careful not to over eat these as they are so yummy you start and sometimes don’t stop (at least that’s what happens to me).
  10. Nut butter – my favourite is almond butter – add it to anything that seems plausible – smoothies, vegetables, eat it straight. You can even make your own in a blender.

Fats to avoid?  There’s now plenty of evidence to show that we should ditch the manufactured polyunsaturated seed oils.  We should especially avoid frying with them.  We have only three oils in our pantry – butter, coconut oil and olive oil.


22 Comments on “Fat phobia…get over it and eat more

  1. Hi Grant,

    Have you a list of medical professionals, dieticians, nutritionists etc in NZ that people can go to who are wanting to go Paleo, LCHF or even just low sugar and high sat fat? I am trying to add names for a list on my website.


    Gary Hayman http://www.nzsugarfree.co.nz 021347377

  2. Totally agree – we have been brainwashed for decades so it is a tough one to get your head around.

    I would also add Avocado Oil and Macadamia Nut Oil to the list

  3. I find myself pouring olive oil over hot food, it goes well with spicy flavours. You could cook scrambled eggs in ghee with a little spice mix (masala), then pour olive oil over the results, and a splash of tomato relish, for example.
    The Mediterranean diet eaten in Crete that got so much approval was 42% fat (olive oil, olives and cheese seem to have supplied most of this, with some from meat and fish). People only ate olive oil in the Med because it was too hot to keep butter, not because they thought it was healthier, their ancient texts listed butter as a medicine (the same way we used to think of olive oil).
    The UHT coconut cream costs a bit more but tastes best and has fewer additives.
    Grated, frozen coconut flesh can be found in Indian supermarkets and is an excellent way to get pure coconut fat into meals, without any of the additives used in coconut cream.
    For roasting and for some frying I use dripping; this is fat rendered from beef and lamb depot fat at low heat and filtered. It’s got CLA, a normal physiological mix of palmitic, stearic and oleic acids, and is as low in PUFAs as coconut oil (but has more MUFA than butter).
    Lastly – for a high-fat snack, should one be required, try 85% dark chocolate. Or some olives and feta.

  4. I was reading something recently some meat producers assuring readers that meat today has less fat and saturated fat than it did some years ago. They are breeding animals to be low fat! I was wondering whether this is why I’ve gone off eating meat to some degree. I bought a beef roast a year ago and had to throw it out because it was tough. It had no fat in it at all. I find this quite a worrying trend.

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  7. Try Hemp Seed Oil on your salad – its beautiful — people don’t realise its sugar thats the culprit along with lack of any form of exercise…….good food is not!!!!

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  9. Have read quite a bit about a lot of olive oils actually being blended with vegetable oil. Any views on this or which brands to use?

  10. Watch out for this trick. If you see “made with 100% pure olive oil”, it does not mean (as you might think) that the container has nothing but olive oil in it. It just means that 100% pure olive oil is one of the ingredients. Olive oil sellers who cut their olive oil with hazelnut oil (cheaper) will often use this trick.

  11. Hi Grant
    my husband has just had a heart bypass before Christmas, even though he carries appropriate weight for his size. We have been big carb eaters and have enjoyed the sugar fix. I have been on the low carb, high fat diet for a week and all the sweet craving and bread cravings have gone and all ready seeing results. Can’t believe it. Will my husband be okay on this new food programme too?

  12. Hi Grant, thanks for the post. It’s another great reference I can wave under the nose of those who think I’m insane for the amount of fat I eat and the processed carbs I don’t. And any chance of finding out who your butcher is? : ) Those sausages sound amazing!

  13. Pingback: How to start LCHF – Part 1: Clean out day | The Science of Human Potential

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