Myth #1: Fat is harmful

The sugar-fat war

One of the most widespread nutrition myths of the 20th century was the demonization of fat consumption. Nearly 70 years passed since the first marketing of “low fat” and “fat-free” products, and complete generations grew up since then, exposed to the true effects of sugar lobby.

You’re right if you imagined a fat sugar tycoon counting bundles of money. Profit pulls the threads behind all this. The first studies concluding that fat is responsible for obesity and cholesterol causes heart disease, were published by an organization called Sugar Association (formerly known as Sugar Research Foundation). Behind this umbrella, hided the world’s biggest sugar producers.

Let’s see, how New York Times remembers these times:

An analysis published in PLOS Medicine found that studies financed by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, the American Beverage Association and the sugar industry were five times more likely to find no link between sugary drinks and weight gain than studies reporting no industry sponsorship or financial conflicts of interest.

Coke Tries to Sugarcoat the Truth on Calories, New York Times

That explains well, why you find everything and its opposite on the internet. Conflicts of interest. On Carnivore Today, we do our best to cite from unbiased sources.

The role of fats for the body

The human body takes energy from either glucose or ketones. While glucose functions as “instant energy”, fats serve as a buffer. If you’re lacking food (fasting, starving), your body starts to burn fat. This metabolism process is called ketosis.

It’s important to mention that “instant energy” means almost instant weight gain if you aren’t active. After the consumption of refined carbohydrates, your body has a roughly 4 hour window to use the excess energy. (1)

Directly after eating, a portion of the intake calories get stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen energy reserves. Once glycogen storages are empty, the body reaches for fat cells. Hunger is in direct relation with how well adapted your body is to use its own resources. The speed of metabolism is different for everyone.

Our brain is smart enough, it wouldn’t convert everything to fats, if fats were harmful. Fats serve as an essential, highly space-efficient energy buffer.

Blood glucose, insulin, salt.

Unlike sugar, fats have very little effect on blood glucose levels. If you recently swapped to a ketogenic diet however, you might experience symptoms of hyperglycemia: fatigue, headaches, blurred vision, frequent urination and thirst. Contrary to popular belief, this is not because excessive fat intake was harmful. This is a temporary state, which usually fades away the next day.

The phenomenon – also known as keto flu – is your body’s natural reaction of decreasing insulin levels, since the main fuel now are ketone bodies and maintaining the “usual” amount became useless. Excretion of insulin usually depletes salt levels, resulting in salt imbalance. Consuming a glass of salty water has been proven to help mitigate keto flu symptoms in a matter of 20 to 30 minutes.

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(1): Dr. David Katz, Oprah magazine

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