I received a link to this interesting post by Zoe Harcombe in the Inbox the other day: What's this 'trying to eat more fat'?! Zoe writes:
Hi all - I've spotted a couple of comments from people saying that they're trying to eat more fat and the second one got me worried enough to start a thread. ...
The Harcombe Diet is a diet based on a 5 day Phase 1 which is mostly meats and veggies (unless you are, as Zoe was for 15 years, a vegetarian, then you can substitute some brown rice, which makes no sense from a protein standpoint, but whatever). Once you've cured your candida overgrowth which is one of the prime reasons for obesity according to Harcombe, you move to other phases of the diet. Harcombe believes in the separation of fats and carbs at meals on a metabolic "food combining" basis. You don't want to eat carbs with fat because ... well ... the insulin! Despite negativity about low fat diets, Harcombe counsels food separation and that you should basically eat low carb or low fat at any individual meal. But she admits:
I wrote the diet/lost my weight and kept if off for years while veggie. This involved eating more carb meals than fat meals - porridge daily, usually a fat (cheese based lunch) and a carb brown rice/rice pasta dinner. I still eat a lot of carb meals.
Harcombe's epiphany apparently came at a WAPF event in April of 2010 when she abandoned her morality-based vegetarian status for healthy meat eating. This was all rather interesting to me as she appeared poised to rebrand as a low carb diet guru as that year wore on. She is a devout parrot of the teachings of TWICHOO. I believe to this day that it is relevant to the discussion that Harcombe did not lose and maintain her weight loss on a low carb diet, or one based on meats and such.
Her diet is hardly paleo so it appears she's returning to her roots of branding her diet as a real foods diet (that used to include wholemeal pasta and bread, for what that's worth). I guess NuttyK was just a bit much for her tastes, and kudos to her for not trying that! But Zoe is concerned. Where did all this talk of eating a ton of fat or eating more fat come from?
For those who are more carb sensitive and who just don't do well with carb meals, the golden rule is still eat real food. This means that your carb intake will be naturally low and your fat/protein intake naturally high, but don't try to eat fat for its own sake any more than eating protein for its own sake - just eat food! Don't fear fat, as part of real food, but people adding butter to coffee or trying to eat olive oil for the sake of it - why?! Neither butter nor olive oil are particularly nutritious. Butter is better than olive oil - but these are not staple foods - they are things to cook with.
Someone get Jimmy and Asprey on the line, pronto!! I don't want to quote more because it's a short post, hence my filling in of some details as well, but I get the feeling Zoe seems flummoxed by this trend of upping the fat and does not wish to be associated with it. This trend is really nothing new. I was shocked back in 2009 when I found the LC internet community to keep hearing this, and "up the fat" had been all the rage of advice through 2010. It did seem to wane a bit in 2011, but NuttyK and intermittent fat fasting does appear to have revived it for now. Atkins said we needn't fear it and boasted that you could lose weight eating fatty foods, but even his "fat fast" was calorie restricted so that it wasn't that much fat compared to a normal caloric intake and macro balance.
Ahh, but what a difference about a year makes. From Feb 2012 Mail Online: Bring back butter... and cheese, red meat and whole milk! How our low-fat obsession may harm our health, says nutritionist (any credential to that effect has not yet been verified). In the "you can't make this stuff up" department, the article begins with:
|Spread the word: |
Butter is a nutritional goldmine
says our expert
I love butter. Smothered on vegetables or, best of all, melted over a juicy sirloin steak. And I eat masses of red meat – lamb chops or my favourite, pork belly. Sometimes we’ll put a piece in the oven at lunchtime, and slow cook it to make the crackling really crunchy by evening.
My only two rules are that the meat has to be good quality and that all the fat is left on.
As a food expert, I spend my working life imploring the public to eat a nutritious diet – so I know these may sound like odd admissions.
What I am suggesting flies in the face of everything you have heard about healthy eating.
But I firmly believe that we all need to eat more fat – including the much-demonised saturated fat. I’m not talking about junk foods but fresh meats and dairy.
There should be a shift back to butter, full-fat milk and red meat – all often labelled high sat-fat foods – as they are nutritional gold mines.
Say what? When in 2012 did this change?
... Fat also supplies energy – eating a nice piece of bacon, fat and all, will keep you feeling fuller for longer than the supposedly slow-burning carbs in porridge. [that she now admits she still eats "a lot" of]Fat also has a key role in creating the outer layer of all our cells. So put butter on your vegetables – spinach, carrots and kale may contain Vitamin A in the form of betacarotene, but without fat to help it digest, it won’t necessarily be properly absorbed. ...
Here's the real scientific whopper:
... In my opinion, there shouldn’t be any limit for fat consumption. But won’t we get fat? Not at all. There is little evidence that eating fat makes you put on weight. ... The body absorbs the fat it needs and excretes the excess. I’m not saying don’t eat carbs – glucose is needed to supply the brain with energy.
The next time someone makes that claim on the internet, they can source Harcombe for that "fact".
So I'm not sure the reason for her change of heart here, or lapse in memory because she seems a bit perplexed that people are thinking *she* ever advised anyone to eat more fat. But there you go! I kinda feel sorry for butter, especially since I have a fondness for it. To go from nutritional goldmine to not particularly nutritious in a little over a year must be a bit tough :-)