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The Hampton’s Diet – Fats Are Not All Bad, And All Fats Are Not Good

When in High School I was not getting dates and I wanted to be thin. All my thin friends were dating so I had to be thin if I wanted to date too. So, I couldn’t figure out what to do, so I decided to give up food altogether. If you didn’t eat, you couldn’t gain weight. So, I ate nothing for 40 days. Some of the commercial programs where you count points or something like that can certainly feel like you are eating nothing, but I literally ate nothing. It worked – I lost 60 pounds, but the price has been unforgiving.

Fats Are Not All Bad, And All Fats Are Not Good

If you remember I was speaking of my 40 day fast last time.

When in High School I was not getting dates and I wanted to be thin. All my thin friends were dating so I had to be thin if I wanted to date too. So, I couldn’t figure out what to do, so I decided to give up food altogether. If you didn’t eat, you couldn’t gain weight. So, I ate nothing for 40 days. Some of the commercial programs where you count points or something like that can certainly feel like you are eating nothing, but I literally ate nothing. It worked – I lost 60 pounds, but the price has been unforgiving.

I blame this fast for my metabolism still being screwed up to this day. I blame this dietary habit for my ability to eat less than everyone else and still gain weight. Eating fewer calories for an extended period of time down-regulates your metabolism and basically slows you down. Your body’s response to fewer calories over time is to cut down on its energy requirements. The reason most people gain weight so quickly once they stop dieting is because they usually make a dramatic reversion from their dieting state to their usual state of eating. If this occurs, the body will be really happy, and save all those excess calories as fat for a rainy day. A dieter convinces the body that it is in a starvation mode and therefore, when the body has food, it stores it immediately since the next time it gets food may be several days away.

This may seem illogical, but it really isn’t if you think back genetically to how we were programmed to eat and store nutrients. Paleolithic man did not have grocery stores which provided every need and fulfilled every whim. Our Paleolithic ancestors survived by killing a beast and living on that for a few days and then eating maybe nuts and seeds, or vegetables that they found for the next few days until there could be another kill. There was never a steady source of food. So, the human body made adaptations to ensure the survival of the species – store excess calories as fat, utilizes simple carbohydrates for energy and slow down the metabolism as necessary to counterbalance an inconstant food supply. Now there is an interesting concept – fat as a good source of fuel. Could fat be our friend? I got there, but there is an interim step to discuss first.

For a while after I lost the weight, I basically ate hamburgers and salad. I liked them both and it didn’t seem to put on any of the weight that I lost. Little did I know that this was the beginning of my low carbohydrate lifestyle and the birth of my career.

I lost touch with the word fat. I thought if I ignored it, it would ignore me. I didn’t count fat grams, calories, or anything else – simply watched what I ate and if I started to gain, I would just eat less – it didn’t matter what I was eating: ice cream, French fries, salads. It was all the same to me – I simply regulated my weight by my clothing. Of course, I was in college, youthful, and could probably have maintained a good weight eating anything. The truth of the matter was, I was too busy with studies, getting into medical school, and then finishing residency to really worry about what I ate as long as I stayed thin.

During those years in school, fat became something clinical, something I studied and had less to do with my personal life and more to do with science. I was trying to compartmentalize it so fat became less scary and something that could be dissected. Fat had no personal meaning through those years – just chemical bonds – no formal nutritional training at all – just science.

This brings me to my next encounter with the word fat. Fat became my friend. Fat became something I thought about all the time. Fat became my life again. This is when I joined the practice of Robert Atkins – the late famous diet doctor. He touted the message of eat all the fat you want. Fat will set you free. Fat doesn’t give you cholesterol, sugar does. Eat fat and get thin – what a perfect message for an overweight person.

This experience was mind-opening. I was witness to hundreds, if not thousands of people losing weight and getting healthy and yet modern science told me that everything he said was wrong and scandalous. Please keep in mind that I started working with him before his work was vindicated and he had a best-selling book – for the second time. This was all new to me.

As a scientist, I wanted to know more. I wanted to know where those beliefs came from and why they worked. This led me on the quest I am still on. The study of fats and oil is extremely fascinating and wrought with intrigue, drama, politics, backstabbing, and science. One great, big, scientific, epic, soap-opera. This is the journey that we are about to take together. The reason for this book not being written until now is because up to now, I had no answer to the question: which fat should I be eating? I now do – the answer is increasingly clear to me. Science may prove me wrong someday, but for now, the evidence clearly points to the proper fats to eat. With up to 40% of all Americans choosing to watch their intake of carbohydrates, their diets will subsequently be higher in fats. There has to be a clear message to people about which fats to eat and which to avoid. That message has been so understated until now. Now that even modern science can attest to the fact that all fats are not bad for us, which ones do we eat?

I guess by now, you are probably wondering what the healthy fats are. I mentioned monounsaturated fats, but what exactly am I saying? Well, the wait is over – I couldn’t give it all away in the first couple of pages, could I? This book is going to tell you specifically about the wonders of macadamia nut oil. One of the highest food sources of monounsaturated fats in the world. You’ll learn why it is sanctioned by the Australian Heart Association where it is given to cardiac patients for its health benefits and why the American Heart Association still sanctions Pop Tarts.

I wanted to tell you my story because I wanted to write this book, not as a doctor, but as someone who is out there in the trenches with you – trying to sort this out and making sense of all the confusing nutritional evidence that abounds in our society. Luckily, I have a platform for which to tell others – and that someone is listening – at least I hope someone is listening. I also have medical knowledge and a scientific background from which to express my opinions from a slightly educated point of view.

I have been teaching about nutrition for the past twelve years and have found that it is necessary to try to break down information to its smallest possible sound bite message. The best possible sound bite message from this book is: Monounsaturated Rich (good).

In my latest book, I want to teach you about the word fat and what it really means. Modern medical science is finally coming to the realization that all fats are not bad for you. Great! Now that you finally knew how to avoid fat, I am telling you that it is okay to eat fat again. Yes, but only certain kinds.

As the former associate medical director of the Atkins Center in New York City, the “all-fat-is-good-for-you” message was the main thing that Bob and I disagreed on. In Thin For Good, I differentiated my diet message from his so I won’t be discussing that again. However, I will be focusing much more attention on the benefits of some fats and the need to avoid certain other fats. This is information that my audiences have been clamoring for. Since there is so much confusion, wouldn’t it be nice to have a very clear message when it comes to fats. There is one – balance your omega-3 fatty acids with your omega-6 fatty acids and eat the fats in your diet from foods rich in monounsaturated fat.