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June 10th, 2011
08:24 AM ET

What foods have healthy fat?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Friday, it's Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist.

Asked by Mindy J. of Denham Springs, Louisiana

I recently starting tracking my calories, carbohydrates, fat, and protein. So far I have been meeting all of my goals except for the amount of fat grams. Do I need to meet a minimum number of fat grams? If so, what are some healthy options to get enough fat grams into my diet?

Expert answer:

This is a great question and brings up several important points. First of all, I am impressed by your tracking dedication. Research shows that people who keep a food journal lose double the weight of those who don't.

I do suggest, however, that you don't get too caught up in the numbers and hitting exact goals every day. Calorie, fat, carb and protein intake naturally fluctuate somewhat day to day based on activity, menstrual cycle, social events and even your schedule.

Limiting fat is important for weight loss as fat has more than twice the calories of protein or carbohydrates. Limiting sugar and refined carbohydrates (carbohydrates that are not made with whole grains) is also critical for both weight loss and total health so this is more important than counting carbs.

Getting adequate amounts of lean protein is essential to maintain lean body mass and help control hunger. Rather than counting protein grams, I'd rather see you getting a small to moderate serving of healthy protein (lean meat, low fat dairy, legumes, nuts and seeds) at most eating occasions.

As to your specific question, the range of fat percentage suggested for optimal health is 20-35 percent. While you could go lower than this to lose weight, it is not a great idea for a prolonged period of time. Fat is essential for the absorption of the very important fat soluble vitamins including vitamins D, A, K and E that help protect your vision, keep your immune system functioning properly, and maintain bone health.

Fat is also used to manufacture hormones in the body, is part of the membrane lining every cell in your body, and is part of the sheath surrounding every nerve cell in your body allowing them to communicate effectively.

Choosing healthy fats in portion controlled servings is essential for a healthy diet. The best choices are the unsaturated fats including fatty fish, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.

For weight loss, it is essential to watch your serving sizes, so I recommend that my patients measure serving sizes of fat whenever possible if they are trying to lose weight because it is very hard to 'eyeball' a tablespoon of oil or 2 tablespoons of nuts. Here are a few ideas for including healthy fat in your diet on a regular basis:

1. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of chopped nuts or seeds on low fat or nonfat greek yogurt with fresh fruit for breakfast or as a snack

2. Add 1/4 sliced avocado to turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with romaine lettuce and tomato for lunch

3. Cook vegetables in a few tsp of olive oil or make a homemade salad dressing with 1 tablespoon olive oil (or flaxseed oil, another healthy fat), 2 tablespoons of vinegar and a little Dijon mustard. (Note it is especially important to eat vegetables with a little fat as vegetables are an excellent source of several of the fat soluble vitamins)

To calculate the number of fat grams you would need to eat to total 25 percent of your total calories (this is what I recommend for patients), do the following:

1. Multiply your daily calorie goal by 0.25

2. Divide this number by 9

3. This equals your minimum total daily fat grams.

4. According to the dietary exchanges, a serving of fat contains 5 grams of fat so you can divide this number by 5 to calculate your daily servings of fat

For example, if you were eating 1200 calories per day: 1200 x .25 = 300 calories/9 = 33 g/5 = 6.5 servings of fat per day. Note that more than likely you get fat elsewhere in your diet (meat, cheese, packaged foods, dairy that is not fat free), so you should adjust your daily fat exchanges downward to account for the fat in other foods that you eat. Again, you don't have to hit this number every day, but try to average out to this number over the course of the week if your goal is weight loss.

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soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. PaleoJim

    Ridiculous (and potentially hazardous) advice! We evolved to fuel our bodies with fat, not carbs. Read "Good Calories, Bad Calories" to see the actual SCIENCE (that's a 4-letter word in the eyes of nutritionists, btw) behind how our bodies actually burn and store fat – we don't get fat by eating fat, we get fat by raising our insulin levels, which comes from carb intake. Do Research People!!!!

    June 10, 2011 at 08:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NICKOO

      Right on Jim! Fat is the fuel of the Gods! Eat all the fat you can from healthy sources and you'll be a new person!

      June 10, 2011 at 11:29 | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Preach it brother! Stop listening to dieticians who live under a rock!

      June 10, 2011 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
    • jilly

      Oh I thought I just craved fat due to all the spliffs I smoke in a day.

      June 10, 2011 at 18:08 | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Yea, but life expectancy was like 25 years during our evolutionary years....

      June 11, 2011 at 14:09 | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      There's actually quite a bit of research that says that diabetes, obesity, and heart disease (more specifically cardiovascular disease) can be reversed with a diet that is high in good quality carbs (meaning not refined starches/sugars) and low in fat. If you're going to recommend doing your research, there's another side of the coin that you didn't mention.

      June 11, 2011 at 22:25 | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Human life-expectancy has never been 25 years. Average life span was about 35. But that number is deceptive. The infant mortaliity rate was around 50% until quite recently. So, if humans (who survived childhood) lived to 70 years, but half of all humans die in childhood, the average life span is about 35 years. That is very different than to say that humans generally die at age 35.

      June 12, 2011 at 08:44 | Report abuse |
    • JRGidaho

      Response to Paul's comment that human life expectancy was 25 yrs in our evolutionary years. Anthropologists estimate the average life expectancy of Cro-Magnon man was over 50 years. It was not until people settled into cereal agriculture and villages that life expectancy diminished to 30-35 years and all the diseases of civilization first appeared.

      The average life expectancy of a Crow Indian in the mid-1800s, in the absence of European diseases, was around 60 years. All the Plains Indians were primarily hunter gatherers with over 70% meat consumption.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:51 | Report abuse |
    • bill

      If I could only eatr 1200 calories a day I would want them cooked in baken chips and top them off with mayo – on the best bread I can find – toasted.

      June 12, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
    • JRGidaho

      Adam, Actually there is no research to support your hypothesis. There are claims and suppositions, but there is no research that would support the idea that even high quality carbsin absence of fat prevent any sort of disease. If you would care to cite actual research, not quotes from unsubstantiated claims such as government recommendations and reports, I would be interested in seeing it.

      June 12, 2011 at 21:58 | Report abuse |
    • Artemis MA

      I agree, healthy fats are good for you. The Okinawans didn't stint on seafood for nothing. I am also a fan of avocado and olive fats for a variety of reasons. Especially for the young, developing children really need good quality fats in their diet, meat sources or otherwise. Quality does matter.

      June 13, 2014 at 21:55 | Report abuse |
  2. Bob Boise

    Carbs kill. Keep net carbs under 50gm a day. Where is the research that proves that healthy oils and nuts are worse for you than empty calories from sugars/starches. Listen, your medical training was based upon nutritional science from the 1800s.
    Fact is Carbs kill! They fry the pancreas, they raise insulin levels, they raise blood pressure, they raise blood lipid abnormality. Not the case with healthy oils. You cannot get enough calories from healthy carbs to keep you alive. do the math. 10 servings of a healthy vegetable has between 300 to 500 calories. Where will the rest come from. Not starches! You cannot load up on "whole grains". Also, most processed Whole grain products are not made exclusively of whole grain. Get rid of processed foods and you get rid of salt, sugars/starches, additives, etc.

    June 10, 2011 at 08:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ShellyTea

      Excellent advice. Your right on, Bob!

      June 10, 2011 at 10:23 | Report abuse |
    • EmptyCranium

      If carb kills then I wonder how all those asians survive eating rice almost every meal everyday, hmmm...

      June 10, 2011 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
    • Mahna Mahna

      Asians, Italians and Americans all have the highest rates of diabetes. Just do a bit of research and you'll see that there is a pattern. I was raised in Italy and had to stop eating what I grew up with because it was making me so sick. High blood sugar/digestive problems. http://www.who.int/diabetes/facts/world_figures/en/index.html
      http://diabetes.webmd.com/news/20040426/diabetes-rates-worldwide
      http://aifahealth.com/stats_bycountry.php
      Amazing how obvious it is that refined carbs are bad for you. If you want fiber, vegetables and fruit have plenty.

      June 10, 2011 at 15:05 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Asians also have a higher incidence of stroke.

      June 10, 2011 at 15:45 | Report abuse |
    • Willow

      So what about those who get insomnia when following low carb diets? I have it normally anyway...cannot go that low on carbs or I will get no sleep, and I would rather treat it naturally than taking drugs.

      June 10, 2011 at 22:32 | Report abuse |
    • Star Stacie

      I agree with you Bob. I'm overweight, but have lost 65 lbs following a low carb/healthy fats lifestyle. After eating "clean", I've discovered how yucky I feel after having processed starches. Lean meats, fruits/veggies, and healthy fats are the total way to go.

      June 11, 2011 at 00:02 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      I tried living on healthy vegetables and fruits a few times. I was always starving – I just couldn't get enough calories that way. I added some healthy fats (including yummy, yummy coconut) and lean meat, and now I'm getting stronger than ever.

      When it comes to carbs, I primarily avoid grains. If I really crave grains with a meal, I eat white rice.

      That said, I'm currently drinking a beer as I type. Hey, occasional "cheat" meals help me avoid going severely off course...

      Good luck!

      June 12, 2011 at 20:43 | Report abuse |
    • Anthony

      Just read "THE CHINA STUDY". It is the largest nutritional/scientific study done to date. Every major culture (USA, northern China, South Africa, ect.) that has a high consumption of animal products (Animal Proteins/ Saturated Fats) have higher rates of Cancer, Disease, Obesity, and Weaker humans all together... This isn't your typical BS pool study; this is the real deal, conducted over 20+ years by high ranking nutritionist and scientist who actually write in medical journals, rather than just making a book like "The Atkins Diet", but having no true credentials to back it up. With that said, there is a place for Animal proteins and saturated fats, but it is a hell of a lot lower than what we as Americans take in EVERY day. I promise you that you never fail to meet your fat intake for the day, EVER. And... like the EXPERT said, Carbs are good: people just cant stop themselves from finishing off the whole tube of crescent rolls at the family dinner. Let's review: Whole Grain Carbs= Good. Refined Carbs= Sugar. Protein and Fat= Healthy in controlled amounts. Just pay attention to 99% of people who have actually maintained a tight and fit body for more than a year (not making huge gains in weight loss than going back to square one) and you'll find a balanced diet. Good day!

      June 13, 2011 at 06:29 | Report abuse |
    • Artemis MA

      Anthony: the China Study is not the end all or anything remotely there. The Okinawans eat lots of seafood along with some meat and they are (or were, until "modern" foods got there) the healthiest people on this planet. My own plan: eat lots of veggies, lots of seafood, and moderate on everything else, except really commercial processed foods, which I avoid all-together.

      June 13, 2014 at 22:01 | Report abuse |
  3. Bob Boise

    Medical schools do not care about preventing disease, just pushing people into medical care to make the most bucks. Why else would medical schools push empty carbs as a major portion (USDA food/death pyramid) of the diet. Mediteraean diets have proven to be healthy. A lot of oils, healthy fats, vegetables, limited refined starches and sugars.

    June 10, 2011 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Bob Boise

    Greek yogurt is dynamic low carb food (if you get the right product that doesn't add the high fructose corn syrup). The good ones have 10+ grams of protein and less than 5 grams carbs. Also, remember to have more grams of protein per meal/snack than grams of net carbs. It does help you maintain healthy insulin levels.

    June 10, 2011 at 08:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TheFour

      Agreed. My favorite is Chobani plain greek yogurt. 18g of protein in a 6oz serving!!!! With a little knowledge of how much protein is in legumes, nuts and dairy like greek yogurt and cottage cheese it's easy to see that EVERY meal we consume does NOT have to have meat in it!! We are omnivors for a reason and need animal protein, but not in every single meal.

      June 11, 2011 at 11:19 | Report abuse |
  5. Mark miller

    I'm still in the non-conspiracy camp regarding the very poor dietary advice given by dieticians and doctors; old false information sometimes dies a long death. So too the results of this advice.

    June 10, 2011 at 09:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Boston

    WORST ADVICE EVER. All the clinical trial and epidemiological data shows that low-fat diets are probably the WORST type of diet to stick to for many health endpoints, including weight loss, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. If anything, the general population needs to replace their intake of refined carbohydrates with MORE fat, particularly polyunsaturated fatty acids that come from nuts, fatty fish, and healthy vegetable oils. I have no idea who Dr. Melina Jampolis, but she's about a decade behind the evidence-based research world. Low-fat diet?! Wow.

    June 10, 2011 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • um

      Yes... how crazy of the doctor to specifically recommend eating nuts, avocado, and olive oil as healthy fat sources identical to the ones you just ranted about! But she scream it LOUD enough for you!!!!!!

      June 10, 2011 at 12:08 | Report abuse |
    • Boston

      You read the whole article, right?? She does answer the reader's question of "healthy fats", but prefaces the entire section by stating: "Limiting fat is important for weight loss as fat has more than twice the calories of protein or carbohydrates".

      June 10, 2011 at 12:10 | Report abuse |
    • cmh

      Boston – She clearly states in the article that 20-35 percent of your intake should be fats. I would hardly call 35 percent 'low fat'. When she is talking about 'limiting' fat intake it is related to weight loss and I imagine she is referring to America's obese popuation that more is eating an extra large fries, two big macs and maybe following it up with fried apple pies- i.e all those tasty high fat snack/fast foods which clearly are too much fat. I'm sure there are obese people that are eating low-fat diets (but incredibly high carbs) but there are also plenty of people eating high fried chicken, meat lover's pizza with extra cheese, etc that are NOT healthly.

      June 10, 2011 at 14:28 | Report abuse |
  7. gisang

    Well, well, well,...have you looked at some Asians? They do intake a lot of carb although they eat lots and lots of veges and fruits and very little fat. Have you looked at some Greeks? LOL! If you don't burn calories more than you need, it becomes fat. Eat smart to absorb neccessary nutirents for your body and be very active!

    June 10, 2011 at 10:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • leecherius

      Simple math , no degree required.. burn more than you intake. You could eat virtually anything as long as you do this. The trouble is there are just too many who want an easy fix. There isn't one. People will use any excuse they can to avoid sweating.

      June 10, 2011 at 11:04 | Report abuse |
    • Boston

      Asians are among the fastest growing populations for epidemics like type 2 diabetes and obesity. There is a rapid push in the Chinese public health departments to reduce/replace the high carbohydrate white rice-based diet because the rates of chronic diseases linked to poor diets high refined carbohydrates are out of control. It's amusing and sad how many people take their silly stereotypes like "Asians are skinny" and "Asians eat a lot of rice", and extrapolate this to say "Asians are skinny because they eat a lot of white rice"...so ignorant. If you look at the current evidence, childhood obesity in China is growing faster than in many countries, INCLUDING faster than the US.

      June 10, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse |
    • gisang

      My point was, it doesn't matter whether you are asian or caucasian, your body becomes fat and unhealthy if you eat more than you need and don't exercise. It's not a myth how to be healthy!.

      June 10, 2011 at 12:10 | Report abuse |
    • Mahna Mahna

      Exactly. Asians may be skinny but that's because they eat smaller portions and always walk/ride bikes – but as mentioned, diabetes is a big problem too. I'm glad I'm not the only person who has noticed this. Now look at diabetes rates in countries where the staple diet is insects and you'll see a healthier population. I was raised in Sardinia where most of the diet is fish, seafood, wild pig, lamb etc... and though pasta is part of the diet, Sardinians have genes on their side so they can live to be 100.

      June 10, 2011 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Should note that among the grains, white rice is probably the least bad option. Wheat is much harder to digest and more likely to cause problems, plus, unlike rice, wheat products are usually consumed dry so that tremendous calories are easily ingested.

      June 12, 2011 at 20:49 | Report abuse |
  8. Jorge

    Nope, nope, nope. The body will adapt to varying levels of protein, fat and carbohydrate in the diet, but it's really the ratio of caloric expenditure-to-intake which affects your health the most. to much, and you become emaciated and sickly. To little and your liver, pancreas and other glands have to work overtime to shuffle the excess of what you eat from food to glucose to glycogen and then to body fat, and reverse the process all over again, which taxes the body over time and is the reason why fat people are so sick-prone when they get older. You need some fat in your diet to keep you going longer between meals because fat is a slow-release, concentrated form of energy (think time-release capsules) and this will keep you from being overly hungry, but you need some carbs because there are some processes (organ function) that will only run on liver-generated blood sugar and synthesizing them from fat is too slow (think starter fluid for an engine). All the protein you need in a day is in a piece of lean meat about the size of the palm of your hand. The bigger the hand, the bigger the serving (this increases for the sick and for strength athletes) As the average American tends to eat too much in relation to what he/she burns, it's a good idea to bulk up on fresh roughage (salad, raw vegetables, succulent fruit) before the main course so that you can keep your calorie intake down without messing with the ideal proportions of carbs, fat and protein thru funny diets.

    June 10, 2011 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. jing hu

    Read "EAT DRINK AND BE HEALTHY" by Walter Willets (HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL) and you'll get all your answers "fat"

    GOOD FAT: NUTS, CASHEWS, PEANUTS, FISH, TUNA, SALMON etc. They contain Omega fatty acids (8-6) which helps your cardiovescular health and can help prevent atherosclosis of the artiers. Good luck!

    June 10, 2011 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Boston

      Agreed. Walter Willett is the God of all things nutrition!

      June 10, 2011 at 11:58 | Report abuse |
  10. jing hu

    Eh? Who ever answered this should of just told her about the book and Outline some facts on there by the Harvard medical school professor. Instead of coming up with a "cooking" and math" mombo jumbo. -__-

    June 10, 2011 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. NICKOO

    Want to be healthy and avoid lifestyle disease? It's this simple, eat fatty, natural fed animals including their bone marrow and organ meats, eggs, and low starch produce while completely avoiding grains, legumes, and seed oils. Aim for a 50/50 fat/protein gram ratio which is equivalent to about a 65/35 fat/protein caloric ratio. Minimize carb intake, there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate.

    June 10, 2011 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Boston

      I would love to see your references on eating animal bone marrow for health. And "completely avoiding grains, legumes, and seed oils"? Seriously, give some references to your claims. If you don't have consistent evidence-based research to support your claims, please avoid posting such advice on widely read forums.

      June 10, 2011 at 12:08 | Report abuse |
    • nml

      Boston, read Good Calories, Bad Calories. Read The Primal Blueprint.

      June 10, 2011 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
    • Mahna Mahna

      He is right. The only animals that can thrive on seeds are birds. Also some scavenging mammals but mostly because they reproduce quickly. Grains spike your blood level to where nutrients are automatically dumped into your fat cells. Bone marrow is a very good source of nutrition and in many countries it is a delicacy - it has also been proven that those who eat diets in animal fat and low to no grain carbs actually end up with great cholesterol levels. Just try it and you will see. You will totally confuse your doctor!

      June 10, 2011 at 15:13 | Report abuse |
  12. pat

    Turn to cannibalism.

    June 10, 2011 at 12:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Slibbage

    HealthFUL, not healthy! Go back to elementary school.

    June 10, 2011 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pearl

      Healthy: conducive to good health. Go back to the school of ridiculous pedants, genius.

      June 10, 2011 at 20:30 | Report abuse |
  14. Tex Web

    I don't know about you guys, but when I'm really hungry after working in the warehouse for 4 hrs in the morning, the last thing I worry about is my calorie count. I just walk in to Whataburger and get #5, Bacon cheese whataburger. And if I it meant for me to passed out right then and there, I can say, hey, I had my last bacon & cheese whataburger. And it was good.

    June 10, 2011 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Beth

    You don't get fat by eating, or not eating, any particular food. You get fat if you burn fewer calories than you take in. The fat/weight gain issue is separate from the issue of what those calories should be made of to maximize health. Even if you are eating the most healthful foods, if you eat too much you will gain weight.

    Americans, and increasingly other cultures who adapt to the western style diet, eat not only too much food but too much processed food and food like substances which are of little or downright poor nutritional value.

    I just came off a 3-day trip by train, where dining is communal style i.e. you share a table with others. 100 % of the time the overweight diners who sat with us ate the worst possible choices on the menu, and ate everything on their plates. The protein alone was easily 2-3 times what anyone would need at a single meal; the fat, salt and overall calories were astronomical.

    The food police of all types just confuse the issue. Eat real food, including lots of fruit and vegetables, all in moderation, and get daily exercise that raises your heartbeat and makes you sweat. If you are doing that you don't need to do anything else, unless you have specific health issues that call for a medically restricted or adjusted diet.

    June 10, 2011 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JRGidaho

      The calories in vs. calories out model has been shown repeatedly to be invalid. Hormonal control of fat creation and fat metabloism is the determining factor. In this case the laws of thermodynamics do not apply becasue we are dealing with a hormonally controlled biological system. If insulin levels are elevated, the majority of people will add fat even if they are in a state of caloric deficiency. In the absence of elevated insulin levels, consumption of 5000+ non-CHO calories will not induce fat deposition.

      Gary Taubes book, 'Good Calories, Bad Calories' has already been referred to several times in this discussion. This book contains over 70 pages of references and notes after the main text for those who want to follow the trail of actual research to the most accurate nutritional information. I think it is a must-read for anyone who eats. Hmmm.... I guess that is all of us.

      There is a dumbed-down version more suitable for the majority of the population called 'Why we get fat and what to do about it.'

      June 11, 2011 at 01:00 | Report abuse |
    • gisang

      Finally, I couldn't agree with you more, Beth!

      Truth be told, most of Asian follows good diets, however, many develpoing or thrid world countries are promoting fastfood life style. A lot of poeple do not take enough time to cook their own meals because they would rather put more hours to make money; and that's the phenomena in the whole world. So even with very good diet, it doesn't work if you don't excercise when you eat more than enough. Not to forget, yougner generation these days have more than enough of gadgets to entertain themselves in their own rooms; so who needs to go out and kick soccer balls or stroll around the neighborhood? Most of people who you see running or excercising are actually already well-shaped people. It's tough, but older as you get, you need to excercise more if you want to be healthy and look fit. But don't be too obsessed; because you will still get diseases by stressing yourself out too much. It's simple but kinda tough!

      June 11, 2011 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
  16. GregB

    The "paleo" diet you're referring to, which includes restricting all carbohydrates and replacing them with all protein and healthy-fats, is a great diet if your daily routine involves sitting in a chair and napping.

    If you don't want to hyperventilate and keel over from exhaustion while bending over, you need to supplement your diet with a moderate amount of complex [non-refined] carbohydrates.

    Trust me on this one. I've gone back and forth enough between Paleo and non-Paleo to speak the truth.

    June 10, 2011 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mahna Mahna

      Yeah - fruits and veggies are a must. You do indeed need fiber in your diet as well, and you get plenty of that from fruits and vegetables. The problem is that people have been told to eat low fat diets for so long that they actually think it the right thing to do. Unfortunately it isn't McDonalds that is giving people diabetes, but the fries, soda, pasta, rice and bread. I do have to say that it is hard to avoid these things though just because it is so much easier to cook with these ingredients (and cheaper) and yet I keep thinking I would be better off starving for a day instead of ending up in the toilet with the revenge and then pass out from high blood sugar.

      June 10, 2011 at 15:16 | Report abuse |
  17. Liz

    Actually folks, the whole "calories in/calories out" is being debunked as we speak. Shocker, I know, but why you get fat actually does NOT have anything to do with how much you eat compared to how much you do. It has to do with hormone regulation... all of it! Since we're reading here, read this: "Why We Get Fat and What to do about it" by Gary Taubes (same guy who wrote "Good Calories, Bad Calories"). The fact is you get fat b/c your body is not regulating your insulin properly (and if you're getting fatter, its likely that your fat cells are growing larger (bc your body is sending the energy to the wrong place) and your organs are slowing starving. Hence why you may see a heavier person eating more, they truly are not getting enough nutrients. You're not getting fat bc you're eating more... You're eating more bc you're getting fat!

    June 10, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Andragogue

      Exactly so, Liz. And I'm living proof that a diet consisting of mostly protein and fat, with only minimal carbs in the form of green leafy vegetables (which includes broccoli, green beans and asparagus served with olive oil or real butter) can lead to significant weight loss and vastly increased energy. And simple fact is this: you cannot get by eating fat! There is no metabolic pathway for that to occur, so the calories do not count unless they are carbs! (But BEWARE over processed oils like canola and corn oil, these are manufactured for shelf life, not good health.)

      June 12, 2011 at 09:33 | Report abuse |
  18. Liz

    And I agree with the folks regarding this dietary advice – ITS BAD!!!!! Geez medical community, do some research!! And people wonder why there's an obesity epidemic...

    June 10, 2011 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Steve

    Jeez. For the first 2 million years as we evolved, our bodies were conditioned to eat critters. CRITTERS! There were no choclate bars, hamburger buns, pasta. Fruits and veggies were unedible. And then our downfall... 10000 years ago (the blink of an eye in evolutionary terms) we discovered agriculture:- grains, fruits, sugars.... and we were screwed. In moderation, we can cope with carbohydrates, but the way it has been perverted (the recent lo-fat disaster), the % of fats has been going down and replaced with sugars and starches. This coincides with our current ballooning levels of obesity and type II diabetes. Saturated fat is just fine folks. Cut down on the carbs, eat meat, butter, whole milk. Sorry PETA, you are flogging a dead horse.

    June 10, 2011 at 18:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. JRGidaho

    Yet one more medical professional giving naive and health-harming advice because she is still living in the huge nutritional lie of fat being harmful. This notion was never the result of nutritional research, it was the ill founded opinion of a handful of MDs and researchers put forth in the 1950s based on very casual observations that failed to take into consdieration the full picture. Virtually every research study, including their own, have shown them to be wrong from the outset. This evil fat fallacy has persisted in spite of 150 years of nutritional observation and research clearly showing CHO and sugar consumption to be the casue of obesity and virtually every other chronic disease. Until the medical profession breaks the brain washing they endured in med school, they will continue to be the worst enemies of our health and well being. As PaleoJim said, look at the research, people.

    June 11, 2011 at 00:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. AdamW

    +1 to all the Gary Taubes and Primal Blueprint references. Go to their blogs, read their books and decide for yourself.

    I lead a very active lifestyle on the paleo/primal model and have no problems with my energy levels. So I'm not sure what GregB is referring to. Switching your diet to this "new" model does take some time before your body realizes it's energy source is changing. Going back and forth will not work. Give it a chance, take the Primal Blueprint 30 day challenge. It has changed my life and many people in my family.

    June 11, 2011 at 05:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. wayne

    To lose weight eat more fat and give up the carbs. It's a painless weight loss and it's liveable.

    June 11, 2011 at 06:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. POD

    The problem is not what you eat as long as you eat a balanced diet....The problem is sitting on your fat butt, in front of your TV, Ipad, Ipod, Game Boy and laptop.....drinking Coke and eating chips. Go outside, put one leg in front of the other and do something physical. The human body was not built to function well in a state of constant lethargy

    June 11, 2011 at 11:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wayne

      No, the problem is what you eat and that is shown in case after case. Exercise does not burn that many calories but it does pump up the metabolism and it is good for the heart.
      Carbs are the bad guys, humans were not meant to consume the amount the government recomends.
      As a result we have an epedimic of obesity and diabetes.

      June 11, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse |
  24. Joe P.

    Children in the USA and in other countries are much more obese than previous generations is because they do less exercise. They are to busy sitting on their ass playing computer games o texting on twitter, facebook,etc.

    June 11, 2011 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wayne

      Please pay attention to the comments above. The problem is the shift in diet.

      June 11, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
    • JRGidaho

      As Wayne said, diet is the problem. You can be as active as you want to be but if there are too many carbs and too little fat in the diet, you will put on weight. By the same token, if you sit in front of tv or computer all day, but eat right, you won't get fat.

      June 11, 2011 at 23:25 | Report abuse |
  25. Whatever

    Bacon is life.

    June 11, 2011 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Andragogue

      Amen, brother!

      June 12, 2011 at 09:26 | Report abuse |
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    • Tom Terrific

      Your tinfoil hat is askew...

      June 12, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
  27. KentuckyGentleman

    If you like to cook or enjoy great food, you probably know that the quality of meat in our USA is really poor compared to other developed nations due to the mass production techniques we use to ensure everyone here has cheap and easy access to meat. It was for this reason I began avoiding meat and dairy to the point to I enjoy it once a week at most. People always decry the diet or don't want to give up their food, but if you enjoy prime and grass-fed red meats as opposed to the chewy bland stuff served almost everywhere, you may understand see the importance of making red meat a dish to savor than pass a lunch hour. Plus, within the first 3 months of switching, my weight (dropped 35lbs), cholesterol and blood pressure dropped significantly and my mood, energy level and athleticism increased. If you're serious about getting healthy quickly (you don't have to give meat up entirely!) and don't think you're addicted to fatty foods then try dropping meat for a few months and then make it a special occasion

    June 12, 2011 at 02:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Andragogue

    This article is based on faulty science and myth that are more than 5 decades old and rapidly being replaced by the facts. True, highly refined carbohydrates, sugar white flour, corn sweeteners, are all bad for you, but fats are essential and good for you. Problem is you have to be careful! Probably the worst thing you could eat is canola oil. Many other oils, even the "good" ones can be harmful because of the degree of processing they undergo when the main issue for producers is not your health but shelf life.
    Use extra virgin olive oil and cold-pressed peanut oil for cooking, but here's a shock... use butter and lard, too. These saturated fats are not the villains we have been led to believe and the verifiable science supports this view. As for other oils, use cold-pressed or expeller-pressed sunflower, safflower and flax seed oil (the last one is a better source of omega 3 than fish oil because of the over-processing fish oil is subjected to.)
    By cutting out the carbs (no bread, no potatoes, nothing starchy or sugary) except for green leafy vegetables, and eating things like bacon and eggs for breakfast and a nice, fat ribeye steak for dinner, I've lost 51 pounds since Dec. 1, and I've eliminated my statin drug (Simvastatin) and one of my diabetes meds (Glipizide). I passed a recent health exam with flying colors and with kudos from both my GP AND my cardiologist!
    As mentioned elsewhere here, read the books by Gary Taubes: Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It, and Good Calories, Bad Calories. Read also: Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You. These myth-busters are overdue, but the establishment of Big Pharma, Agribusiness and the Food Processing industry would rather continue things as they are and continue to make their billions off your ignorance and ill health. Unfortunately, the bulk of the medical community continues to dance to their tune when they should know better.

    June 12, 2011 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. unowhoitsme

    Eat the diet Mother Nature has provided. Fresh is best or as close as you can get it to fresh. It will be full of fiber and very healthy for you. Mother Nature is never wrong! I'd believe her over anyone with a degree in nutrition. And remember, this country doesn't have your best interest at heart (no pun intended). It's all about making money. The sicker you are, the larger the profits for our medical industry. Manmade fats and processed food are a guaranteed medical profit. Don't believe me, do the research.

    June 12, 2011 at 17:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. EB

    The type of fatty acids and their ratios are very important. The healthiest nuts are walnuts and hazelnuts. How did hunter gatherers eat? Could we possibly have evolved a new digestive system since then? Think not. Reduce modern carb foods and eat close to the ground.

    June 14, 2011 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Sekemet

    Flax seed oil is the healthiest.

    June 15, 2011 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.