While Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise, doesn’t advocate a particular diet plan, fans of the Atkins Diet will certainly feel vindicated by the revelations in her book. Most importantly, she agrees with the diet plan’s claim that replacing carbs and other sugars with healthy natural fats will actually help you lose weight.
Like Teicholz, Dr. Robert Atkins didn’t kowtow to conventional dietary “wisdom” that says that fats are bad for us, causing obesity, heart disease, and high cholesterol. Instead, he burst onto the scene in the 1970s with his new recommendation for eating healthy and losing weight. He believed in filling a diet with meat, cheese, and healthy fats, placing their importance above even fruits and vegetables, although he embraced non-starchy vegetables such as leafy greens, asparagus, mushrooms, etc.
Atkins developed his ideas through personal experience. He felt the need to diet himself, and he developed his new eating patterns based on a paper that he had read in the Journal of the American Medical Association, on a controlled carbohydrate diet. After experiencing his own success on this diet, he developed his own version, which he called the Atkins Diet.
Through her painstaking research for The Big Fat Surprise, Teicholz found that a low carbohydrate, high fat diet is supported by a large, rigorous body of clinical-trial evidence as a safe and effective way to combat heart disease and diabetes as well as lose weight. During David Asprey’s interview with her on Bulletproof Radio, Teicholz discussed a fat-adapted diet, especially as it relates to the benefits of saturated fats. She explained two of the benefits to Asprey’s audience. One is that saturated fats actually raise HDL, the good cholesterol that is a sign of better cardiac health. The other benefit is that saturated fats are solid at room temperature. This means that they are stable and avoid the toxic oxidation that can be seen with unsaturated fats.
The natural fats recommended by the Atkins Diet are the same fats that Teicholz has found to be beneficial. Recipes on the Atkins diet will have butter, not margarine, as well as heavy cream, cheeses, and, of course, meat. These are the very substances of Teicholz’s subtitle: Why Butter, Meat, & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.
Donna Berry of the California Dairy Research Foundation applauds Teicholz for her thorough observations and scientific evidence.
“She grabs your attention in chapter one,” Berry writes, “when she cites observations dating back to the explorers Lewis and Clark showing that those who consumed fatty meat and drank milk were mostly void of disease. The fattier the meat, the better; plants were what you fed the animals.”
This observation is echoed in the book by many more stories of other cultures around the world.
Again, The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz does not endorse the Atkins Diet or any other formal diet plan, but her findings support their claims. A healthy diet is, after all, a fatty one, and the evidence proves it.