The Big FAT lie

by Dr. Daamini Shrivastav

March 10, 2016


  • If I eat fat, I will become fat
  • Low fat foods are healthier options to pick from
  • Saturated fat causes heart disease
  • I avoid egg yolks and butter because it’ll shoot up my cholesterol levels


  • Quite the opposite actually! fat is the most naturally elegant calorie-counter system there is. It promotes satiety by suppressing appetite and slowing stomach emptying keeping one fuller for longer and thereby preventing overeating. Quite a few studies prove this where subjects on high fat, low carb diets indeed showed weight loss results.
  • Nope! Because you see, fat is what gives food its delicious taste and without it, excess sugar and artificial fats like trans fats and other chemical additives have to be added to compensate for the flavor loss. It’s quite the twisted irony that in trying to avoid getting ‘fat’ we’ve created ‘fat’ which tragically has made us fatter! Sugar through processed carb-loaded-foods is the single biggest cause of global obesity and metabolic syndromes.
  • The truth is… saturated fat never has been and never will be proven to cause heart disease, because it simply isn’t true. There are numerous studies I can quote from but to keep this short and current, findings from a 2013 paper in the British Medical Journal by Dr. Aseem Malhotra and those from a meta-analysis in Annals of Internal Medicine in 2014 have both provided evidence that saturated fats are NOT shown to increase the risk of heart disease but on the contrary, reduced or no consumption of them increased the risk of developing cardiac health problems. In fact these studies indicate that saturated fats improves one’s lipid profiles and this is clearly evident in populations around the world that consume massive amounts saturated fat and yet have low cholesterol levels and almost absent heart disease. Examples include the Masai tribe in Africa who drink fatty milk in plentiful and the Tokelauans who thrive on a coconut-rich diet.
  • Cholesterol levels are carefully titrated by the liver and your intestines in the body and dietary cholesterol sources have little or almost no effect on these. So get back to having your omelets complete with yolk because not only will it NOT raise your cholesterol but, the yolk is incredibly healthy and loaded with vitamins, minerals and a substance called choline all of which are vital to good brain and eye health. The same goes for butter! Please revert to eating good, wholesome butter from dairy and ditch the margarine which is a replica really made with chemicals that are meant to taste like butter. The Framingham Heart Study gives butter its seal of approval stating that there is no evidence that it contributes to any disease. Opposingly, butter consumption is associated with a lower risk of obesity.


  • Our bodies require fat be it saturated or unsaturated. Fat is vital for bodily functions ranging from nutrient absorption, growth of healthy skin and hair and cognitive and memory functions as well as mood stabilization. 


The only ‘con’ of  natural fat consumption is that these are calorie desne macronutrients and lack of self-dietary-control can result in overeating. Sans an active lifestyle with plenty of exercise this will in turn result in weight gain.

My Take

I can tell you there are very few things that give me as much satisfaction as this scenario, one which is all too common in my existence … “Wow you look SO SKINNY! Seriously what’s your secret?”  To which I reply with as much smugness as I can muster, “Fat! A generous dollop of good, clean, old fashioned FAT.”

Fat was the macronutrient we demonized in the 60s and 70s and the result of that today is a worldwide obesity epidemic thanks to the whopping quantities of processed carbs, trans fats and sugar we’ve consumed instead. Several prominent scientists deemed saturated fat to be the aetiology (cause) of heart disease and this notion, which tragically was based on many inconclusive studies and inaccurate data interpretation, became the cornerstone of the “low-fat diet” myth.


What we have done unwittingly is removed these blessed saturated fats from our diets and replaced them with foods chocked full with trans fats and sugars. Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been chemically modified to be more solid and have a longer shelf life. As far as my opinion goes, these are consumable poisons and are possibly the biggest culprit behind promoting metabolic syndrome conditions like high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high fat profiles, liver dysfunction and visceral fat accumulation as well as heart disease (these synthetic fats are what clog your arteries and not saturated fats). To avoid them, begin scanning the ingredients’ list on your food labels. If you come across the term ‘partially hydrogenated oils’, put that item right back on the shelf! Special mention to vegetable oils that top the list of the most toxic food items available due to their high content of trans fats.


The problem however is that we’ve only just scratched the surface of busting this myth. Government authorities and health organizations will continue to recommend a low-fat diet (even though it’s been a debacle for public health) simply because of the economics behind it. They are much too invested (and egoistic) to admit that this vilifying of saturated fat has been wrong and fuelled mostly by personal ambition, bad science, politics and much bias. There is much to be lost from slumping sales of Statins and Margarine and so they will continue to wage war on saturated fat. Don’t believe them, it’s a big FAT lie !

Dr. Daamini Shrivastav


Dr. Daamini Shrivastav

Juggling many roles from physician to writer to pilates instructor to Marketing-PR executive, Dr. Daamini is constantly pushed and inspired to get creative on how to encompass a Retreat into her daily life.
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